Michelle Obama has denounced Donald Trump’s “hate” while backing Hillary Clinton for president at the Democratic National Convention.
In her speech in Philadelphia, the first lady said to loud cheers and applause: “The hateful language… from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.
“Don’t stoop to their level. Our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”
Earlier, Bernie Sanders urged Democrats to back Hillary Clinton.
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Hillary Clinton will accept the Democratic presidential nomination on July 28, when a roll call of how states’ delegates are voting is to be read out.
“While Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths,” Bernie Sanders said.
Some of Bernie Sanders’ supporters booed at mention of Hillary Clinton’s name; others wore duct tape with the word “silenced” over their mouths.
Michelle Obama’s speech was widely seen as an attack on Donald Trump, although she did not mention the Republican nominee by name.
The first lady said she wanted her husband to be succeeded by “somebody who knows this job and takes it seriously” and that could only be Hillary Clinton.
Because of the Democrats’ candidate, Michelle Obama said, “my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”
In other remarks, Michelle Obama praised Hillary Clinton as a “true public servant” who had shown “devotion to our nation’s children” and “never buckles under pressure”.
After the first lady’s speech, President Barack Obama tweeted: “Incredible speech by an incredible woman. Couldn’t be more proud & our country has been blessed to have her as FLOTUS [first lady]. I love you, Michelle.”
Donald Trump, who has criticized his rivals, both Republican and Democrat, in sometimes colorful language on Twitter, said Bernie Sanders had “sold out” to Hillary Clinton.
The Republican billionaire also condemned other speakers at the Democratic convention including senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, but made no mention of Michelle Obama.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has announced she will resign as a row over leaked emails threatens efforts for party unity ahead of the presidential nominating convention.
Her move follows a leak of emails appearing to suggest that party insiders tried to thwart the campaign by Hillary Clinton’s rival.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had pressed for the party chairwoman to step down.
Hillary Clinton is to be officially nominated at the Philadelphia meeting.
Bernie Sanders had said Debbie Wasserman Schultz “should not be chair” of the Democratic National Committee.
He told ABC’s This Week: “And I think these emails reiterate that reason why she should not be chair.”
In a statement, Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she would “step down as party chair at the end of this convention.”
“We have planned a great and unified convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had,” she said.
Bernie Sanders and his supporters have also expressed disappointment at Hillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, preferring someone further to the left.
However, the Vermont senator did say: “I have known Tim Kaine for a number of years… Tim is a very, very smart guy. He is a very nice guy.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign received a boost on July 24 with the announcement that Michael Bloomberg, who was elected New York mayor as a Republican, will speak to endorse her this week.
The Democrats’ four-day convention starts on July 25, with speeches by First Lady Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders.
The Democratic convention comes just after the Republican convention that saw Donald Trump declared the Republican presidential nominee.
Barack Obama has accepted the nomination of the Democratic party, telling voters they face a generational choice in November’s election.
The US president highlighted the differences between his aims and Republican policies, and reprised his 2008 theme of “hope”.
“I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now,” Barack Obama told the Democratic convention.
Republican Mitt Romney is challenging Barack Obama for the White House, with polls showing a tight race.
Barack Obama told delegates in the hall and voters watching at home that the nation’s problems had built up over decades and could not be fixed in a flash.
“But when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.
“Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington: on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come,” he said.
Barack Obama has accepted the nomination of the Democratic party for a second term
Barack Obama took the stage not in a huge stadium in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, as organizers had hoped, but inside the convention centre after Thursday’s speech was moved because of weather concerns.
He followed a rousing speech by Vice-President Joe Biden, who praised Barack Obama for his bravery in bailing our the auto industry and ordering the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The president offered a string of critiques of Republican policies, describing his opponents as “happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America” without offering suggestions on how to make things right.
“That’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last 30 years,” he said.
“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”
But there was no mention of his own healthcare law, a signature achievement that remains unpopular with many Americans, and little explicit talk of the stimulus enacted in his first months in office.
The speech prompted a response from Mitt Romney’s camp: “Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven’t worked for the past four years,” his campaign said in a statement after the speech.
“He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago.”
Barack Obama also spoke about his energy strategy, saying the US had opened “millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration… and we’ll open more”.
“But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.”
On international issues, the president described Mitt Romney and running-mate Paul Ryan as “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,” he said, highlighting his success with Bin Laden and his withdrawal of troops from Iraq and planned drawdown from Afghanistan.
As Barack Obama finished the speech, he roused the crowd by telling them their votes had helped make the changes of his presidency.
“Only you have the power to move us forward,” he said.
“I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed – and so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.”
Earlier, Vice-President Joe Biden accepted his own re-nomination in an emotional speech that focused on family and national security.
“Folks, I’ve watched him,” he said of the president.
“He never wavers. He steps up.”
“He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them?”
Joe Biden also criticized Mitt Romney for not backing the US auto industry bailout, referring to the former Massachusetts governor’s time leading private equity firm Bain Capital.
“I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant, to all of America. I think he saw it the Bain way, in terms of balance sheets and write-offs,” he said.
“The Bain way may bring your firm the highest profit. But it’s not the way to lead your country from its highest office.”
The third and final night of speeches in Charlotte also saw former Florida governor Charlie Crist – who was previously a Republican – and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry address the convention.
John Kerry criticized Mitt Romney for surrounding himself with “neo-conservative advisers who know all the wrong things about foreign policy”.
“This is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief,” the Massachusetts senator said.
Former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from a near-fatal shooting on a meeting with her constituents in 2011, appeared on stage to lead the convention in the pledge of allegiance.
Walking slowly and steadying herself to recite the pledge, Gabrielle Giffords left many in the crowd dewy-eyed as she smiled through her recital.
Thursday’s speeches brought an end to the Democratic convention, which also headlined speeches from Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney now face two months of relentless campaigning before voters across the 50 states go to the polls on 6 November.
Bill Clinton has delivered a prime-time defence of Barack Obama, nominating the president for a second term in the White House.
Former US president’s 50-minute speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, was strongly critical of Republican economic plans.
Bill Clinton launched a full-throated defence of Barack Obama’s policies, saying his economic policies were working.
Barack Obama will take on Republican Mitt Romney in November’s election.
Bill Clinton’s speech is being seen as the high point of a revitalized relationship between the two presidents and as an attempt to boost Barack Obama’s appeal with white working-class voters.
Polls show these traditional Democratic voters are wary of Barack Obama, but Bill Clinton has a strong record in winning their support.
Bill Clinton has delivered a prime-time defence of Barack Obama, nominating the president for a second term in the White House
Bill Clinton told the crowd that they would “decide what kind of country you want to live in”.
“If you want a <<you’re on your own, winner take all society>> you should support the Republican ticket,” he said.
“If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a <<we’re all in it together>> society – you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
Bill Clinton attacked Republicans for blocking further progress on the economic recovery and getting deep into the detail of policy debates.
“In order to look like an acceptable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years,” he said, referring to the Republican convention in Florida a week ago.
Reminding the crowd that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had revealed that their number one priority was to get Barack Obama out of office, he declared: “We’re going to keep President Obama on the job.”
Bill Clinton argued that Barack Obama’s economic policies on taking office had prevented further collapse and begun the recovery, but said he knew that many Americans were still struggling.
He compared Barack Obama’s experience to his own first term in office, when “our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet”.
“No president – not me or any of my predecessors – could have repaired all the  damage in just four years,” he said.
“But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the president’s contract you will feel it.”
Bill Clinton criticized Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who he said misrepresented Barack Obama’s Medicare policy at last week’s Republican convention.
He argued that Paul Ryan had made the same amount in cuts as part of his plan for the government-sponsored healthcare plan for the elderly.
“It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did,” said Bill Clinton.
He also countered a Republican ad that Barack Obama had weakened the work requirement for welfare, which Bill Clinton signed into law.
“When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%,” Bill Clinton said, adding that the Republican charge was “just not true”.
After the former president finished a lengthy and partially ad-libbed speech, Barack Obama joined him on stage.
They have previously sparred, most notably during the 2008 primaries when Bill Clinton supported his wife Hillary’s bid for the nomination, and they are known not have a close personal bond.
Earlier, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was just one of a string of speakers who highlighted social causes including women’s issues, and economic concerns such as the future of the auto industry.
Nancy Pelosi warned that “democracy was on the ballot” in November.
“Republicans support opening the floodgates to special interest money and suppressing the right to vote,” she said.
“It’s just plain wrong.”
Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren railed against inequality, saying Mitt Romney’s policy would amount to “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own”.
And Sandra Fluke, a student branded a “slut” by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh during a row over contraception, made a prime-time appearance calling for action on women’s issues.
In a procedural surprise as Wednesday’s events got under way, the convention reinstated language from the 2008 platform describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In confusing scenes a voice vote on the language was called three times. Despite loud boos in the audience, convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa said he had determined that two-thirds of the convention had voted in favor.
Reports emerged shortly afterwards that Barack Obama had personally intervened to change the platform’s language.
First Lady Michelle Obama has made an impassioned speech backing her husband, President Barack Obama, for another four-year White House term.
Closing the first night of the Democratic convention in North Carolina, Michelle Obama spoke of the couple’s shared background in struggling families.
She said it was “extraordinary privilege” to serve as first lady.
President Barack Obama will formally accept the nomination on Thursday, and face Republican Mitt Romney in November.
A recent opinion poll shows Michelle Obama maintains a thin lead over Mitt Romney.
But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released as the convention got under way in Charlotte, North Carolina, showed Barack Obama with the lowest pre-convention favorability for an incumbent president since the 1980s.
The president is aiming to recapture the political spotlight over the next few days, after last week’s Republican convention.
Michelle Obama said that four years ago she “believed deeply” in her husband’s “vision for this country” but worried about how a run for president would change their life and the life of their daughters.
First Lady Michelle Obama has made an impassioned speech backing her husband, President Barack Obama, for another four-year White House term
In a speech roundly welcomed by a hyped-up crowd, she shared memories from their 23-year relationship, and noted that she had found a “kindred spirit” in a man whose values were similar to hers.
“Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.”
The first lady’s speech connected their shared background to the values she said guided Barack Obama as president.
“As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are.”
She said Barack Obama was inspired by his own background when advocating for laws involving fair pay for women, healthcare and student debt.
He had not been changed by the White House, she said, and was “still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago”.
“He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities.”
In the toughest moments, Michelle Obama added, “he just keeps getting up and moving forward… with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.”
Earlier, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, brought the gala into session with a strike of the gavel at 17:00 EDT.
Shortly after the convention opened, delegates cheered their backing for the party’s new platform in a open voice vote.
Among the changes found in the text of the party’s 2012 platform was the removal of language from the Middle East section referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
That message was replaced with a passage referring to the party’s “unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security” and Barack Obama’s “steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel”.
The change prompted criticism from Republicans and Mitt Romney, who accuse Barack Obama of “selling out” a key US ally.
Tuesday’s first session saw a series of Democratic governors, members of Congress, mayors and electoral candidates speak in support of Barack Obama and his policies, most notably his much-criticized healthcare reform law.
A video tribute to the late Senator Edward Kennedy included clips from his 1994 Senate debate with Mitt Romney, and independent Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee argued that his former party – the Republicans – had lost their way and had forfeited the label of conservative.
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the next president would set the tone for the next 40 years.
“It will be the president’s leadership that determines how we as a nation meet the challenges that face the middle class. It is the president’s values that shape a future in which the middle class has hope,” he said.
Julian Castro, the Latino Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, gave the keynote address immediately before Michelle Obama.
The Democratic gathering will see Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden formally re-nominated as the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Wednesday.
Later that evening, there will be speeches from Elizabeth Warren, who is fighting Republican incumbent Scott Brown in a high-profile race for a Massachusetts Senate seat, and former President Bill Clinton.
The convention culminates on Thursday with speeches from Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to spend the week preparing for a series of debates with Barack Obama.
The gala also offers the Democrats the chance to make a high-profile pitch to voters in North Carolina, a state that narrowly voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but is now firmly up for grabs.
As they did four years ago, the Democrats will take the event outside the convention centre for the president’s prime-time speech, taking over a 74,000-seater stadium in Charlotte for the final night of speeches – despite a poor weather forecast.