Dems at convention praise Obama speech while acknowledging challenge ahead

President Obama’s nomination speech before a packed convention hall Thursday night fired up Democratic delegates, who said the commander in chief offered a practical plan forward in a speech aimed at a broad audience.

“It didn’t just resonate with the people here in the arena. It resonated with the people back home – with moderates, independents, teachers, workers, everyone,” Nicole Williams, a Maryland delegate, told “It was a message for everyone across the board.”

Obama’s speech on the last night of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., sought to revive the enthusiasm that propelled him to the presidency four years ago, while convincing undecided voters not to give up on his plan to restore the economy.

"America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now," Obama said. “Yes, our path is harder -- but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together."

“I think he put the entire package concisely and made the sale to America about what’s really happening,” New Jersey State Sen. Donald Norcross told “Having been in Denver four years ago, what I thought was probably the most exciting time in America’s history, I was surprised that we surpassed that tonight.”

Obama’s appeal to independent voters in key swing states was critical

“Three of the four biggest swing states are in the South,” said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C. “I think it may help to have had (the convention) in the South.”

Miller, while supportive of the speech, acknowledged the president’s battle in convincing voters he is the best choice to bolster the economy.

“We still have a tough economy. He did not break it. He has not fully mended it yet either. And that's what gives people hesitation,” Miller said.

Miller said Obama’s speech “hit all the right themes,” and said the president "has an understanding what people's lives are like” – a quality, he said, contrasts sharply with Mitt Romney.

Republicans, however, were quick to criticize Obama, saying, “The trademark soaring rhetoric but was devoid of any sense of responsibility for the disappointments of the last four years.”

“The speech was one last plea to a country ready to move on,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement, calling the message "four more years of the same thing."

“But with no new ideas, he failed to convince voters the next four years won't just look like the last four,” Priebus said.

Romney’s campaign also seized on the president’s address, saying the president “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.”

“He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago,” Matt Rhoades, Romney’s campaign manager said in a written statement. “Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record – they know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.