(PARMA, Ohio) — President Obama is highlighting his modest family background as he travels throughout Northern Ohio, sharing personal stories in an effort to better relate to the voters of this battleground state.
The president told supporters in the small town of Parma Thursday night that he promised in his last election to, “try to make sure that every single one of you had the same chances as my family had, because I saw myself in you.”
“I saw my hopes and dreams in you. And when I see your kids, I see my kids. And when I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents. And I have kept that promise,” he said to cheers from the crowd at the James Day Park.
Although his family is not with him on the trail, the president is discussing everyone from his grandfather, who “fought in Patton’s army” and was able to “study on the GI Bill,” to his grandmother, who helped raise him, to his wife’s father, “a blue-collar worker,” and her stay at home mother.
The president said he was inspired to get into politics because of his own family’s story. “My whole life and Michelle’s whole life was an example of this American Dream,” he said.
“Our family story was all about this basic idea in America that if you work hard, you can make it if you try here in this country,” he told supporters in Sandusky Thursday afternoon. “That basic bargain is what brought me to politics.”
Obama explained how he met the first lady, a “beautiful woman, who just because I was persistent, finally gave up and gave in and decided to marry me.”
He told how his wife’s father worked in a pumping station and her mother was a secretary and yet, “somehow she and her brother were able to get a great education.”
The president, who fiercely protects his children’s privacy, yet talks about them on the campaign trail mentioned his daughter’s Fourth of July birthday, explaining why his wife isn’t with him on the bus tour.
“Malia was having a sleepover with some of her friends, and Michelle thought, you can’t just have a house full of girls and no parental supervision. …But she says hi, the girls say hi, and Bo says hi.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Deirdre Walsh and Eugene Scott, CNN