CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Democrats open their national convention today offering President Barack Obama as America's best chance to revive the ragged U.S. economy and asking voters to be patient with incomplete results so far. Michelle Obama, in her opening-night speech, aims to give people a very personal reminder of "the man that he was before he was president."
Meanwhile, Gallup polling shows no post-convention bounce for Obama's opponent Mitt Romney, who continues to be in a virtual tie with the president at 46 percent to Obama's 47 percent.
The three-day convention has drawn thousands of delegates to a state Obama narrowly carried in 2008. And although Obama no longer is the fresh-faced newbie who leveraged a short Senate career into an audacious run for the nation's highest office, he still can excite partisans, and Democrats were counting on massive numbers to pack a stadium for his speech this week.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and a host of Democratic allies worked to rev up delegate enthusiasm, saying Obama has a strong record to defend. They noted the president had helped the economy rebound, presided over an increase in the stock market and brought troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We've got some truth telling to do," Warner told Florida delegates at a breakfast meeting. "America is better off today than it was four years ago when this president took over."
The Democrats dispatched U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren to make the case for Obama on morning talk shows, and she acknowledged that "it's tough out there" for many Americans.
New government reports out today underscored that reality.
U.S. factory activity shrank for the third straight month in August and construction spending fell in July from June by the largest amount in a year. Next up: The Labor Department will release jobs numbers Friday. Economists expect to see some gains but believe the unemployment rate will remain at 8.3 percent.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivers the convention's keynote address tonight, a nod to the importance of Hispanic voters.
"Under any score -- immigration, education, health care -- in any number of issues, (Obama) has been a very effective advocate for the Latino community," Castro said on CNN.