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For the second year in a row, President Obama crashed the Online Personal Finance Summit, a meeting of two dozen top personal finance editors at the White House.
And for the second time, he got personal.
After dealing with questions about unemployment (it’s bad, but could have been worse) and the deficit (it’s bad, but the Republicans would make it worse), he was asked about a quote from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who earlier in the week had accused Obama of being out of touch with the financial problems of regular Americans.
Nine years to pay off student loans
He smiled broadly and said, “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 graduated from law school. Our first home was a modest condo and I remember scraping together the down payment to purchase it at prevailing interest rates.
“When Michelle and I first met, the car I was driving I think I bought it for $500 and it had a big rust spot that allowed you to see the road on the passenger side, so I know Michelle wasn’t marrying me for my money. We had credit card debt that was tough to pay off.”
Obama said his personal finances “really weren’t stable until fairly recently.”
In short, he said, “We had quintessentially the middle class upbringing, working class upbringing, and middle class experience.
“I suspect that’s a contrast to some of the presidential candidates who are out there. So in terms of who’s in touch and who’s not with what ordinary folks are going through day to day, I have no problem with people making that comparison.”
This is the second time that CreditCards.com has been invited to the summit. Other attendees included representatives from Yahoo.com, Kiplinger.com, CNNMoney.com, Bankrate.com and BusinessInsider.com.
Other speakers at Wednesday’s event included: Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, and Dan Pfeiffer, White House director of communications.