President Obama gives a campaign speech in Iowa.
CHARLOTTE, NC (USA TODAY) -- The last act at the 2012 Democratic National Convention belongs to President Obama, as he takes the stage for remarks that will define the two-month sprint to Election Day.
USA TODAY is providing full coverage of the convention's closing day and the 2012 presidential election online and in print. Check your local TV listings for when you can tune in.
Here's our guide to the five things to watch for Thursday, Sept. 6:
1) President Obama told USA TODAY that Republicans have been advancing a story of a "fictional Barack Obama." Now, he has the chance to define himself in his own words and explain how he'll make progress on the economy in a second term. Contrasts are inevitable, but will Obama also tear down rival Mitt Romney as many of the Democratic faithful did this week?
2) Obama is only one-half of the Democratic ticket. Vice President Biden also delivers his acceptance speech tonight, but probably before the major TV networks start airing their coverage. Biden has made some missteps in recent weeks that Republicans have jumped on, so his remarks tonight give him a chance for redemption -- and maybe spark some thoughts about another White House race in 2016.
3) Sen. John Kerry's assignment tonight is to burnish Obama's bona fides as a leader on foreign policy. But some political observers wonder if the Massachusetts senator might also be auditioning for secretary of State in a second Obama administration, since Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she does not want to return as the nation's top diplomat.
4) As governor of Florida, Charlie Crist rankled his fellow Republicans when he hugged a newly elected President Obama in 2009 as they touted an economic stimulus program many in the GOP opposed. Now an independent, Crist is said to be eyeing a return to elected office and is ready to go all-out for Obama.
5) As soon as Obama, Biden and their families wave to the crowd after all the speechifying, the focus will shift to preparations for the first of three presidential debates. Expect themes about the economy and job creation on display tonight to emerge again when Obama and Romney face off on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver.
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