(AP) Highlights of President Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.:
ECONOMY and JOBS: The country could create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016 by giving tax breaks to companies that open new plants and train new workers, and by helping factories and small businesses double their exports, Obama said. That initiative would build on the 500,000 manufacturing jobs that have been created since he took office, he said. "We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs," Obama said.
ENERGY: Obama said the country could cut oil imports in half by 2020, and support more than 600,000 jobs by expanding natural gas production in the United States, and investing in alternative energy sources, clean coal, biofuels, and more energy-efficient homes and buildings. He said his administration has raised fuel standards so cars and trucks will go farther on a gallon of gas; has made the country less dependent on foreign sources of oil; and opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Obama said his energy plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is causing global warming. "Climate change is not a hoax," Obama said. "More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke."
EDUCATION: Obama proposed to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers over the next 10 years and to improve early childhood education. He also wants to give up to 2 million people the opportunity to learn job skills at community college, and cut in half the growth of college tuition costs.
NATIONAL DEBT: Obama said his budget plan would cut the national debt by $4 trillion without hurting the middle class. He still wants to reach an agreement based on the principles of a bipartisan group called the Simpson-Bowles Commission that he appointed to recommend ways to fix the country's biggest fiscal problems. Obama criticized Romney for proposing to lower the debt by giving tax breaks to the wealthy. "Well, you do the math," he said. "I refuse to go along with that."
MEDICARE: Obama said he would never turn Medicare into a voucher system and would strengthen the program by reducing the cost of health care, not by asking senior citizens to pay more.
TAXES: The tax code should be reformed so that it's fair and simple, Obama said. Households earning more than $250,000 would be asked to pay higher taxes. That was the same rate when Bill Clinton was president and the economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, he said.
FOREIGN POLICY: Obama hammered Romney for his lack of foreign policy experience. He said Romney's comment about Russia being the country's No. 1 geopolitical foe showed he's "stuck in a Cold War time warp." He also said the uproar Romney caused when he questioned London's preparations for the 2012 Olympics shows he might not be ready for diplomacy with China. He also criticized Romney for not saying how he'll end the war in Afghanistan and for proposing to spend more money on military hardware that senior Pentagon officials do not want. "I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work — rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways," Obama said.
ISRAEL and IRAN: Obama said the U.S. commitment to Israel's security must remain strong and the world must stay united against Iran's nuclear ambitions.
DEMOCRATS vs. REPUBLICANS: The 2012 presidential election in November is "the clearest choice of any time in a generation," Obama said. Major decisions will be made in Washington — on jobs, the economy, taxes, deficits, energy, education and war — that will directly affect people's lives, he said. "On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties," Obama said. ""It will be a choice between two different paths for America."