Obama Shoots for Rebrand With Convention Speech

From Candidate of Hope to Leader of Change

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- President Barack Obama last night made the case for his re-election in measured tones, acknowledging that while he's not the same candidate or person he was four years ago, he's laid the foundation for a recovery that he's prepared to see through -- one that a victory by his Republican opponent would surely derail.

Mr. Obama has essentially re-branded himself. He's no longer the candidate of inspiration who told convention-goers in Denver in 2008 that a historic turning point had arrived, and that "change comes to Washington." Instead, he's now a battle-scarred incumbent who's pitching his legislative accomplishments -- with emphasis on the auto bailout and health care reform -- and experience as the commander-in-chief who ordered the death of Osama bin Laden, while simultaneously hinting to voters that he knows how high their expectations were.

"I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, 'I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go,'" he said.

Mr. Obama also took aim at his opponent, picking up a thread from Bill Clinton's speech that the notion of lowering the deficit by offering trillions of dollars worth of tax breaks to the wealthy was faulty "arithmetic." He also pointed jokingly to what he described as the Republican prescription over the past 30 years for managing the economy: "Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another."

Twitter conversation around Mr. Obama's speech peaked at 52,757 tweets per minute shortly after it concluded, compared to Mr. Romney's peak of 14,289. According to Twitter, notable spikes occurred after the lines "I'm no longer just the candidate, I'm the president"; "I will never turn Medicare into a voucher"; and "Don't think government is the source of all our problems."

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