Obama's Personal Finances: My First Car Had a 'Hole in the Floor'

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ObamaPolitics is a lucrative business: Senators are worth -- on average-- $13.2 million, while their poor cousins in the House of Representatives average a comparatively paltry $5.9 million in assets. By comparison, the median household in American brings home only $49,445 per year.

Given the huge wealth gap between average Americans and the legislators who represent them, one of the most amusing spectacles of any election cycle is watching rich politicians twist themselves into pretzels as they try to convince voters that they're "just folks." On Wednesday, President Obama did his version of the dance in response to a reporter's question about his finances.

The slur that Obama can't relate to average Americans is nothing new: He has been accused, variously, of being a snob, an elitist, and a post-colonialist Kenyan socialist. Most recently, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made headlines with his claim that "years of flying around in Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers" has left the president "out of touch" with common people.

When a reporter brought up the criticism on Wednesday, Obama responded with an answer that touched on many of his common man bona fides:

I went to law school and college with the help of scholarships; so did my wife. We were still paying off student loans nine years after we graduated. I bought my first car for about $900. It had a big hole in the floor that allowed you to see the road, so I knew my wife wasn't marrying me for my money. We had credit-card debt we hadn't paid off. [In fact] Our personal finances...weren't stable until fairly recently.
The President proceeded to turn the critique back on Romney, a promising route, given that the Republican challenger, whose net worth is about $200 million, brought home $21.6 million in 2010, the majority of which came from his investments in the stock market. That year, the President's earnings were $7.3 million, and largely came from royalties on his two books.

But what of the President's claim that his personal finances only recently stabilized? This is harder to verify, as private citizens are not required to publicly disclose their wealth, but OpenSecrets.Org reports that his earnings in 2004 totaled $112,431, and that his total assets were valued at between $200,000 and $400,000.

Interestingly, this tempest over personal finances came on the heels of the passage of the "Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge" or STOCK Act. The law, which President Obama signed on Wednesday, requires many high-level government officials -- including senators, members of the House of Representatives, top executive branch officials and federal judges -- to disclose most financial transactions of more than $1,000. Designed to halt insider trading by members of Congress, the law will also answer many questions about how much money government officials make -- and who is writing the checks.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

NEXT: The Richest and Poorest U.S. Presidents




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Wayne Bradshaw

Beijing policy makers say they're eager to encourage greater domestic consumption. Chinese shoppers are famously luxury-happy, flying to Hong Kong and further afield in droves to stock up on Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and more. All of which means the stage is set for the next great innovation to hit China: Louis Vuitton Outlet malls.

May 06 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne Bradshaw

You can take the kids to Legoland or the Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium at Grapevine Mills, and pick up a nice new purse at the same time. A Coach Outlet Store Online opens Friday in the mall's Neighborhood 2, Space 209A, near Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.Hours for the Coach Outlet are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The mall is at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway in Grapevine.Go to discountcoachhandbagsoutlet.org to check out what's in stores now and sign up for email deals.

May 05 2012 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ken

I'm betting someone gave him the $900 for the car. I can't imagine he earned it by working.

April 09 2012 at 10:07 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ken's comment
Greg Van Gordon

Why not?

April 10 2012 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
madmilker65

Where is the "hole" today?

April 09 2012 at 7:51 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
mike edwards

probably too much salt in kenya floor rotted out uuse some of phoney birth certificats to patch her up

April 09 2012 at 6:07 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Setanta

there is still one 'tard over here with an obummer2008 bumper sticker--i'd like to leave a simple note under the windshield wiper but it probably would wind up being characterized as terrorism......you know how seennnnnnnsiitiiiive these types are.
simply WOULD like to thank this obummer supporter for EVERYTHING esp the gas prices,bs dollar and EVERYTHING THAT WILL ACCOMPANY these 2 items.

April 08 2012 at 10:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jacksjill

Nice anecdote. Where is he now? He makes 400K per year. Us citizens pay his bills while he makes this money.Last year we paid for jet for his Dog to fly for vacation -special jet for dog. My world-Dog had surgery. I paid for it. We ate elbows for 2 months and I am blessed with a decent salary and a spouse who works so it was just 2 months to recuperate the $800 bill. IMHO, as opposed to MItt who has always been rich, it is a different story, I know if someone gave me 400K scott free and I did not have to pay housing, food, etc. I would go crazy for my kids so I expect him to do likewise

April 08 2012 at 5:52 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jacksjill's comment
Setanta

eh ? what about his MOTHER-IN-LAW also living in the white house ? what WAS THEIR excuse ????
no section 8 for her like for HIS ILLEGAL ENTRANT AUNTIE over in boston ? was that it ???

April 08 2012 at 10:51 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Setanta's comment
ken

Don't forget illegal alien uncle. He just got a work permit so he can drive to work at a liquor store. Why did he need a work permit? His license was revoked for drunk driving!

April 09 2012 at 10:11 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down
Robert & Lisa

Obama is a socialist through and through. Hitler took over Germany under a Democratic government and Obama is trying to do the same here in the United States. Mark my words, if he gets defeated in November, he won't be leaving the White House willingly in January. He is power hunger, just like Adolf Hitler the mass murdering former dictator of Europe just 70 years ago.

April 07 2012 at 10:01 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Robert & Lisa's comment
Somey

"Hitler took over Germany under a Democratic government and Obama is trying to do the same here in the United "


Are you really that silly?

April 08 2012 at 2:07 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Greg Van Gordon

LMFAO..What a hilarious post.

April 10 2012 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
don

What a load of Liberal BS. Cant you people a Stop lying? Only a fool believes their own BS.

April 07 2012 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sgtdjusmc

is that where the hope an change went?

now its divide and conquer

April 07 2012 at 6:32 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply