House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) gave an issue-oriented, business-like defense of the Obama administration in a dense speech.

“This July, the economy added 172,000 jobs, the 29th consecutive month of private sector job gains,” Hoyer, a moderate Democrat, said. “We know that's not enough, but it's a turnaround of nearly one million jobs from when President Obama took office. Surely even Mr. Romney thinks we're better off today than we were then.”

“The decision we have to make this November is simple: do we keep moving forward, or do we join the Romney-Ryan retreat and go back to the same failed policies of the past?” he asked.

In a departure from his data driven remarks, Hoyer quoted a figure whose oratory has long loomed large over Democrats -- the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who ran for president himself. “As the Reverend Jesse Jackson describes it, they want to drown the captain, and they're prepared to sink the ship to do so,” Hoyer said.