"We're not going back. We're going forward," Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said during the second day of speeches at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Speakers parsed Romney's plans for the country, saying in some fashion the Republican presidential nominee would protect the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, criticizing his stance on women's issues, immigration, cuts to education, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and Social Security and Medicare.
Ken Myers, a deputy sheriff in Carroll County, Iowa, said Romney wants to cut back on public employees such as teachers, firefighters and police officers.
"First responders like me put our lives on the line. We're proud to do it. It's the job we signed up," Myers said. "This isn't about me or my partners. ... Mitt Romney talked about helping families. We help families every day. There's nothing helpful about undermining public safety."
Speaking of education, Steve Westly, a former California controller and one-time eBay executive, said Americans "dream big, think different and invest in a future filled with possibility. When it comes to education, we should be beating the rest of the world and not beating up on teachers."
The next generation -- today's children -- is leading the way, he said.
"It's up to us to match their creativity with our commitment," Westly said.
Whether it was about immigration, Social Security, Medicare, gay rights, "This is personal," said U.S. Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, the Democratic Caucus chairman.
"I know I am preaching to the choir tonight, but as the sisters of Notre Dame it's the choir that leads the singing," Larson said. "If we stand together, not only will the eagle keep flying, it will soar."
"For these last four years, I've had a president on my side. He's cut business taxes 18 times," said Bill Butcher, founder of Port City Brewing Co. in Alexandria, Va. "Our president has fought for small-business owners and now it's time to fight for him."
"Paul Ryan claims his budget reflects the principles of our shared Catholic faith," said Sister Simone Campbell, one of those "nuns on the bus" that toured the country to speak out against the budget developed by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and endorsed by Romney.
"But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated the Ryan budget failed a basic moral test because it would harm families living in poverty."
She said the Republican budget was correct in saying there must be individual responsibility but strayed in not acknowledging responsibility extends beyond the individual and immediate family.
"Our faith affirms that we are all responsible for one another," Campbell said. "I am my sister's keeper. I am my brother's keeper."