Washington Matters


Obama Touts His Middle-Class Experience

Douglas Harbrecht

The President tells Kiplinger that his working-class upbringing differs from the GOP candidates.



At the White House Personal Finance Online summit on April 4, Kiplinger asked President Obama to respond to Mitt Romney's remarks the day before that, after his term in the White House, the President was out of touch with the personal finances of ordinary Americans. Here's how Obama responded:

"I went to law school and much of my college on scholarships. So did my wife. We were still paying off our student debt nine years after I had graduated from law school.

"Our first home was a modest condo, and I remember scraping together the down payment to purchase it and comparing interest rates. When Michelle and I first met, the car I was driving I think I bought for $500, and it had a big rust spot that allowed you to see the road on the passenger’s side, so I knew that my wife wasn’t marrying me for my money.

"We had credit card debt that was tough to pay off. We had to start a college savings fund, even when times were tight. Our personal finances, not having to worry about bills at the end of the month or gas prices or what have you, really weren’t stable until fairly recently.

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"So in that sense I would say Michelle and I have had a quintessentially middle-class upbringing, or working-class upbringing, and middle-class experience. And I will just say, I suspect that is a contrast to some of the presidential candidates who are out there. So in terms of who’s in touch and who is not with what ordinary folks are going through day to day, I have no problem with people making that comparison."



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