US President Barack Obama has implored Americans to grant him a second term to complete his battered crusade for change, warning of the starkest election choice in a generation.
Four years after his historic election win, Obama accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for a second time, dispensing hard truths on US economic ills and warning that Republican Mitt Romney would endanger America abroad.
Sketching an agenda to create millions of jobs, cut $US4 trillion ($A3.91 trillion) from the deficit and bolster his nation's strength overseas, Obama refused to abandon the hope of 2008, saying: "know this, America: our problems can be solved."
"When you pick up that ballot to vote -- you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation," Obama said, forecasting fateful choices looming on jobs and taxes and war and peace.
"America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder -- but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer -- but we travel it together. We don't turn back. We leave no one behind."
Obama also blasted Romney and his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, as neophytes that would endanger US national security, comparing their thin resume with his own "tested and proven" leadership.
"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."
"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 cast his speech as a rallying call for Americans to unite to tear open the gridlock that has paralysed Washington, warning Romney would fire teachers, impoverish students, all to give more tax breaks to millionaires.
"We've been there, we've tried that, and we're not going back. We're moving forward," Obama said, drawing lusty cheers from 15,000 people packed into a sports arena at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
In many ways, Obama's address was an attempt to reconcile the heady promises of hope and change he dispensed four years ago, with the reality of impossible to meet expectations and an economy still staggering from the Great Recession.
Obama also posed as a teller of hard truths, arguing that recovery was bound to be hard from the worst recession in decades.
"You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth," Obama said.
"And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.
"It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one."
Democrat Roosevelt took power in 1933, amid a banking crisis that threatened American capitalism itself, and steered the country to recovery and through the flames of World War II.
Obama took the convention stage knowing that history suggests a sickly economy often dooms an incumbent president seeking re-election.
Photo: Getty Images