Sunday 24 September 2017

Michelle sells humble origins to voters

Peter Foster in Washington

IN a US election increasingly being cast as a battle between the interests of the "haves" and the "have-nots", Michelle Obama has emphasised her humble upbringing in Chicago's South Side.

Hardly a campaign appearance goes by without the first lady recalling the "little-bitty" apartment on the wrong side of the city where she grew up.

"My father was a blue-collar worker at the city water plant. My family lived in a small apartment on the South Side of Chicago, and neither of my parents had the chance to go to college," she told supporters this week in a 1,100-word fundraising letter.

"But let me tell you what my parents did do: they saved. They sacrificed. They poured everything they had into my brother and me."

Contrast

The implicit contrast with the silver-spoon upbringing of Mitt Romney, her husband's Republican opponent, could not be clearer. While Mr Romney enjoyed a cloistered start in life at the private Cranbrook prep school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Mrs Obama told how she fought to carve out time for the studies that would propel her to Ivy League universities.

In another version of the humble origins speech, Mrs Obama also made plain that, despite her personal success, her family had not lost touch with its roots and the lives of ordinary voters.

Citing her husband's own tough upbringing -- "the son of a single mother, who struggled to put herself through school and pay the bills" -- Mrs Obama said her husband's ideals of a "fair shake" for everyone, rather than Republican economic austerity, were best for America in hard times.(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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