President Obama spoke to a crowd of college students at the University of North Carolina today, and he related to the students in attendance in a way that Mitt Romney simply cannot.
Not because the president is a better speaker, which he without a doubt is, but because the president has actually experienced what the average college student must endure, and Mitt Romney hasn't.
Check this out, all right. I'm the president of the United States. We only finished paying off our student loans off about eight years ago. That wasn't that long ago. And that wasn't easy--especially because when we had Malia and Sasha, we're supposed to be saving up for their college educations, and we're still paying off our college educations.
I didn't just read about this. I didn't just get some talking points about this. I didn't just get a policy briefing on this.
We didn't come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. We added up our assets and there were no assets. And we added up our liabilities and there were lot of liabilities—basically in the form of student loans.
"We added up our assets and there were no assets."
When the president says he and his wife added up their assets and there were no assets, he may as well be speaking a foreign language to a man like Mitt Romney went to college on his assets which were handed to him. And while that's fine for anyone who has been afforded that luxury in life, the idea that Romney can in any way relate to the average American is absurd.
To have a sitting president level with his audience and, with all due humility, relate directly to his constituents in this way is something President Obama is uniquely capable of doing. Because he's been there. Because he knows the value of humility.
No bumper-sticker, television commercial, radio ad, or phony slogan can match this relation in its appeal.
President Obama isn't someone you wish you could have a beer with, he's someone you did have a beer with.