John Forbes Kerry was nominated as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

In accepting the nomination, Kerry offered himself to Americans as a decorated Vietnam War veteran who saw the horrors of combat firsthand as a young man, and who nearly four decades later is ready to defend the country with more vigilance and better judgment than President Bush.

Asserting that America is in "a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have ever known," Kerry repeatedly challenged Bush's credibility, and charged that the Republican incumbent presents a pose of strength but not the reality.

"In these dangerous days, there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words," Kerry said in his acceptance speech Thursday, one of several taunts of the incumbent laced throughout the address. "After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals."

Kerry's running mate is Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), who, in a speech after Kerry's nomination Wednesday, praised the Massachusetts senator as a decisive and battle-tested leader. Edwards urged voters to embrace the politics of hope over what he called a low-road campaign by the Republicans.

Edwards was Kerry's last major rival in the Democratic primary battle and the popular choice within the party to team with Kerry in the campaign against Bush and Vice President Cheney.

-- Jim VandeHei, Dan Balz

and Lois Romano

John F. Kerry, with running mate John Edwards, said, "After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals."