The US unemployment rate registered a drop on Friday, but mainly because so many have simply given up looking for work.
"As a progressive inside this party working to make this president a better president, that's the frustration we've had in the course of the last 3.5 years. We saw it again [on Thursday], great rhetoric, great challenges but…that's been the schizophrenic approach all along."
- Tim Carpenter, the national director of Progressive Democrats of America
Barack Obama was aware of the new figures as he took to the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday night to promise that he could still fulfill his pledge of hope he made in 2008.
The US president spared no insult against his Republican opponents, taking on their plans to improve the economy and criticising their foreign policy credentials.
"You don't call Russia our No 1 enemy – not al-Qaeda, Russia – unless you're still stuck in a Cold War mind warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting your closest ally," Obama said.
When he ran for president four years ago Obama presented himself as a symbol of change.
On Thursday night however he pledged to be a pragmatic leader who was willing to compromise even with his fiercest critics on the right.
"[Obama] didn't make big promises [on Thursday], he basically laid out the case 'look you can either have bad or very bad'. He didn't come in and say 'the next four years I'm going to do this big programme or that big programme…"
- Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief, Huffington Post
"And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It'll require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one… And by the way, those of us who carry on his party's legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government programme or dictate from Washington.
He went on to say: "We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty programme alone. We don't want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we certainly don't want bailouts for banks that break the rules."
Inside Story: US 2012 asks: Did Obama make a convincing case for voters to stick with him?
Joining presenter Shihab Rattansi for the discussion are guests: Tim Carpenter, the national director of Progressive Democrats of America; Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post; and Ian Millhiser, the editor of a political blog ThinkProgress Justice.
"President Obama has been jaded by his experience of dealing with the very difficult American system, even when he had a super-majority there are so many ways that the minority can veto an agenda in Congress…[but] I don't think that Obama has a plan for if he wins big."
Ian Millhiser, the editor of a political blog ThinkProgress Justice
AMONG BARACK OBAMA'S KEY PLEDGES:
- To create one million new manufacturing jobs by 2016
- To double exports by the end of 2014
- To cut net oil imports in half by 2020
- To reduce US deficit by more than $4 trillion
- He used the word 'change' seven times on Thursday night. In 2008 he said it 32 times