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President crashes personal finance party

Daniel Ray

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.President crashes personal finance party

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 has been invited to the summit. Other attendees included representatives from,,, and

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.

See related: Obama gets personal with personal finance journalists

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  • Bruce

    So, we have a President who makes poor investments (unsafe car), incurs more debt than he can pay off (credit cards), and carries public debt (student loans) for a decade, even with two professional incomes. Sounds about right.

  • I am a widow of a CalStrs employee; he passed away
    in Feb 2011. I am trying so hard to get his pension that i deserve and should have; however, I
    am having a hearing May 29, 2012 and hope to get
    the pension shortly afterward.
    In the meantime, I am living in a high-rent apartment on my retirement from State of Ca and my SS retirement.
    I need help in the worst way; how could I do that?

  • Mary

    Is this article a “vote” “for” or “against” Obama?
    I got the drift that the writer was purposly giving obnoxious remarks about republicans with those ( ) remarks. If they were meant NOT to be obnoxious about the republican party, the writer would have stated so in this article, but since there was no mention of that, I read into it that the writer is a devout Democrat, praising Obama and his failed presidencey.
    This article should never have been in the Credit weekly newsletter.
    Am I offended about the article? Yes I am. As a former Democrat of 38 years, and now a new Republican, I feel a sense of let’s get Obama a few more votes by posting this article, where it does not belong.
    If your going to post “political/financial” articles in your newsletter, then you should post how in the 3 years of Obama’s presidency, he has raised the USA’s debt more than all previous presidents combined!!!
    Leave your politics out of your newsletters. I get enough “TRUTHS” about the current administration by doing my own research.
    Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for it’s counterfeit. Hosea Ballou

  • sue whitehead

    So disappointed. Now do I believe what is printed or is it political?? I wish I could read something that was just “the truth” with no political spin. I remember when reporting was reporting the truth with no opinion.
    Shame on
    Since I can not believe what is printed…I will no longer read this site!
    Oh, and by the way, since you brought it are wrong! I’d rather have a rich man than a poor man making decision for my country!

  • Gina

    The last two posters probably won’ get this but…..
    . If you are a hammer all you see are nails!