Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Even if I was purple'

US President Barack Obama makes remarks at a finance reception for Congressman Joe Sestak. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has dismissed suggestions that his cerebral style and exotic background made it tough for him to empathise with the economic fears of heartland Americans.

Mr Obama's critics have frequently argued that his intellectual and academic leadership style or his upbringing in Hawaii, and for several years as a boy in Indonesia, make it hard for him to connect with everyday citizens.

'I think when the unemployment rate is still high and people are having a tough time, it doesn't matter if I was green, it doesn't matter if I was purple. I think people would still be frustrated and understandably so,' Mr Obama said on Monday in a town-hall style meeting on the economy on CNBC television.

'If you are out of work right now, the only thing you're going to be hearing is, when do I get a job? If you're about to lose your home - all you're thinking about is, when can I get my house?'

Mr Obama said he believed that Americans realised that he grew up in a single parent family and had financed his education, that culminated at Harvard Law school, with scholarships. He also denied that he was guilty of vilifying the US business community.

On the campaign trail to support a Democratic senatorial candidate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, later, Mr Obama also said many critics' hopes for his administration's achievements may be unrealistically high. -- AFP

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