President Barack Obama channeled Hillary Clinton’s recent “dead broke” complaints Thursday, when he told a hard-hit Minnesota woman that Michelle Obama’s difficulty with a nanny in Chicago echoed her family’s history of repeated layoffs and wage cuts.
Minnesota resident “Rebekah [Erier] sent me this letter, and it moved me,” Obama told his donors at an evening fund-raiser in Minneapolis, Minn., as he tried to show he is in touch with ordinary people’s concerns.
“She and her husband married about six, seven years ago; he was in — he was a carpenter, he was in contracting. He had a good job; housing market plummets, loses his job. Gets another job. Gets injured on the job, they accumulate some debt, that job is lost,” Obama said, after noting the couple has two children.
“He gets another job with the railroads, which require him to be away basically four or five days a week while she’s taking care of two kids. … She goes back to school to get an accounting degree [and] ends up with $12,000 worth of debt. She gets a job at the accounting firm, he gets a new job, although at a significantly lower pay, back in construction and he can be with the family more,” he said at the event.
Obama did not acknowledge that the woman’s cascade of financial disasters occurred under his watch.
But Obama chose to meet with the woman Thursday during his two-day trip out of D.C.
When they met, “I told her this. I said, you may not hear it because the press will not report it — the only reason I’m in politics is because of you,” Obama told the donors.
“When I see you, I’m reminded of when Michelle and I were starting off early on, and Michelle calling me in tears because we had just lost the nanny and we had no idea whether we were going to be able to replace her with somebody,” he said.
In early June, Hillary Clinton prompted nationwide guffaws when she told interviewer Diane Sawyer that “we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt.”
“We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”