President Barack Obama formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention.
Addressing a rapturous convention hall in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama asked Americans on for patience in rebuilding the weak economy as he appealed for a new term in office and defiantly rejected Republican Mitt Romney's proposals to restore growth.
Obama gave a more down-to-earth follow-up to his 2008 "hope and change" message.
"America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now," he said. "Yes our path is harder - but it leads to a better place."
Locked in a close fight with Romney, Obama faces the challenge of recapturing the magic of his historic campaign of four years ago and generating enthusiasm among voters who are weary of economic hardship and persistent high unemployment.
His nationally televised address was his best opportunity yet in this campaign to connect with millions of Americans.
Perhaps the strongest section of Obama's speech focussed on his opponent's foreign policy, mocking Mitt Romney's gaffe-filled visit to the UK.
"My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly," he said. "After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp.
"You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally."
Obama argued that the actions he has taken like the auto bailout are paying off and dismissed proposals by Romney to create jobs.
Casting Romney as uncaring of ordinary Americans, he accused the Republican of just wanting to reward the wealthy with tax cuts, deregulate big banks and let energy companies write a policy for more oil drilling.
Romney has vowed to cut taxes for Americans by 20 percent, including the wealthy, and eliminate some popular income tax deductions to help make up the loss in tax revenues. He would sharply ramp up oil production and trade with the aim of creating 12 million jobs over four years.
On a night when Hollywood stars like Scarlett Johansson rallied Democratic faithful, Obama likened his struggle to that of Depression-era President Franklin D. Roosevelt in calling for "shared responsibility" and bold experimentation in bringing the U.S. economy further out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
"I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy," Obama said.
"I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth."