Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s first chief of staff before leaving the White House to run for mayor, ticked through a litany of crises Obama faced – a global financial meltdown, an auto crisis, two wars and a great recession – and noted there was “no blueprint or how-to manual.”

“Believe me, if it existed, I would have found it,” Emanuel said. “Each crisis was so deep and so dangerous; any one of them would have defined another presidency. We faced a once-in-a-generation moment in American history. And fortunately for all of us, we have a once-in-a-generation president.”

Emanuel did not serve up red-meat to the delegates, leaving it to other speakers to tear into Republican nominee Mitt Romney. As actor Kal Penn, who spoke after Emanuel, said, “He’s a mayor now, so he can’t use four-letter words.”