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After the confetti, Obama faces a reality check

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Obama trumpeted his accomplishments – a health-care bill, a revived auto industry, and the end of the war in Iraq. But he still needs to build a clearer, more coherent defense of his record.

Bill Clinton laid out an excellent playbook on Wednesday night, and Obama would do well to follow it. Repeating the refrain “we’re all in this together,” the former president adroitly responded to Republican attacks, recasting a presidential term ridden with partisan conflict and political stalemate into a valiant rebuilding effort that is laying the foundation for future prosperity.

In Charlotte, Obama and party leaders needed to generate enthusiasm, which translates to donations and gets voters to the polls. In 2008, Obama raised a record $750 million, outspending GOP nominee John McCain more than 2 to 1. This year he will not have such a big advantage. Obama has outraised Mitt Romney so far, but the Romney campaign has been winning the fundraising war all summer and is closing the gap.

The convention and speeches by Michelle Obama, former President Clinton, and Obama himself, generated excitement in the crowd and will likely provide a welcome boost to refill campaign coffers and rally the troops for a time. But the president and his party will have to do more to keep the hope alive through November.

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