CHARLOTTE, NC (CBS) -- The 2012 Democratic National Convention kicks off Tuesday with the keynote address and a speech from the first lady. But the answer to a question posed every four years has thrown the democrats off message.
The stage has been built, the party platform released, and democrats are ready to kick off their 2012 convention. Virginia delegate Steve Bunn says, "This has been such a historic time, I couldn't imagine not coming."
But as the festivities begin, republicans won't let go of the question: are Americans are better off than they were four years ago? Rep. Paul Ryan said on "CBS This Morning", "I would ask the 23-million people in America, who are struggling to find work, if they think they are better off."
A new poll from "The Hill" backs up the Republicans. Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the country is worse off than it was four years ago and 54-percent say the president does not deserve to be re-elected based solely on his performance.
Vice President Biden is leading the charge to convince voters otherwise. He says, "You want to know if we're better off? I've got a bumper sticker: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!"
Democrats hope to get back on message when San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and first lady Michelle Obama Address delegates tonight.
The first lady got an up close look at the podium during her walk through Monday. And while her husband's favorability ratings have fallen during his first term, Mrs. Obama remains very popular. North Carolina delegate Elaine McCollum says, "I think she has been an ambassador for her husband and I see them as a team."
Mayor Castro kicks off the prime time coverage of the convention with his keynote address. President Obama used the 2004 keynote to launch himself into the national spotlight.
President Obama still has some work to do if he hopes to win North Carolina again. A new poll from the Charlotte Observer shows Mitt Romney with a four point lead in the state. The president won in the Tar Heel state in 2008.