January 11th, 2008
10:39 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: 'I wasn't living large'

Obama says he just recently paid off his student loans.

Obama says he just recently paid off his student loans.

Obama: ‘I wasn’t living large’

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) – Between Mike Huckabee’s working-class upbringing and John Edwards’ son-of-a-millworker bio, it’s tough for a candidate to come out on top in the humble roots contest this campaign season. On Friday, Barack Obama gave it his latest shot.

He told union workers at a campaign event in Las Vegas how, as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, he had lived on $12,000 a year.

"I wasn't living large," Obama told the crowd. "I had an old, beat-up car, had a little, tiny beat-up apartment. I was wearing raggedy, beat-up clothes. I got holes in the shoes, had holes in my car. You all've been there. You know what I'm talking about."

On the trail, Obama often tells voters about his early career as a community organizer, and the student loans that he and his wife Michelle have only recently paid off.

The Illinois senator was addressing packed room of members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, a union that has recently backed Obama.

Before the rally began, the crowd erupted into chants of "si, se puede"—or "yes, we can," which has become a common line in Obama's stump speech.

Obama even incorporated the Spanish version in his closing comments.

"Together we will begin the next great chapter in American history starting with those three words: Si se puede! Si se puede! Si se puede! Si se puede! Let's go change America!"

–CNN's Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Nevada
soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. njoteh

    obama, only you can change america. only racist and naive people are caling you names.clinton is good but the presidency is not an empire.from bush to clinton and clinton to bush and bush to clinton again? this is not a royalty. we are far from that america.

    January 17, 2008 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  2. Juniper


    (1) If Barack's dad was a goatherder, what was he doing at the University of Hawaii? Do they offer goatherding as a major? His father was a student, not a goatherder. When he returned to Kenya, he was not a goatherder, either. Check your goatherding facts!

    (2) Would you pay off your student loans any earlier than necessary? No!!! They come with low interest which you can write off. You'd be stupid to pay them off early. The smart thinking would be to invest at a higher rate. The poor-pitiful-me take on student loan payback just doesn't work.

    I want to vote Democrat, but I have trouble reconciling myself to vote for a man I perceive to be a total fake.

    January 17, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    yes we can, yes we can, fired up, fired up, yes we can, yes we can, fired up, fired up....yada, yada, yada. All talk, no action.

    January 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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