Candidate Obama touts working class credentials
Every political candidate has a tale of his hard-working origins — even sitting presidents with Harvard Law degrees who have made millions by writing best-selling books. And President Barack Obama is no exception, as he showed during a road trip on Wednesday in which he tested out what will likely be themes of his newly launched 2012 re-election campaign.
At a stop at a wind turbine company outside Philadelphia, Obama stood before a giant American flag and pledged to keep fighting for policy priorities like promoting the use of renewable energy. He took off his suit jacket, joked with questioners in the crowd and paced casually on the stage away from the presidential podium.
“Here’s what I said (in 2008). I said I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president, but I can promise you this … . I will be honest with you about the challenges we face and how we can solve these problems and I will take what I hear from you,” he said.
“I have kept that promise. I’m thinking about you guys every single day when I’m in the White House, and I’m going to keep pushing, I’m going to keep fighting for you.”
At an evening civil rights award gala in New York, he reminded the audience that he may be president, but it was not that long ago that he and first lady Michelle Obama faced many of the same struggles of many working American families.
“We’re making it easier to repay student loans so kids don’t graduate like Michelle and I did with massive loan payments each month,” he said. “It was more than our mortgage for 10 years. It’s one of the things I try to remember — I try to remind people when they say, ‘Well, you’re President now. You’re out of touch.’ I said, listen, it was only a few years ago I was still paying off my student loans.”
Obama went on, reminding the audience that he once held low-paying jobs. “It’s true, I don’t pump gas now, but I remember what it was like pumping gas,” he said to laughter from the friendly crowd. “I remember. I remember the end of the month. I remember that,” he said to more laughter and applause.
But then Obama made a joke that resonated with members of the crowd who are familiar with his resume. Obama has earned millions — $4.2 million in 2007 alone — from sales of his two books, “Dreams from my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.”
“We appreciate all of you buying the book, Michelle and I,” Obama said to laughter. “That’s the college fund right there. That was not a given.”
Photo Credits: . REUTERS/Larry Downing (Obama at town hall near Philadelphia); REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (Obama at New York gala); REUTERS/Frank Franklin II/Pool (Obama speaking at NY gala)