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February 3rd, 2010
01:36 PM ET

Despite his roots, Obama struggles to show he's connected to middle class

President Obama speaks at a press conference.

President Obama speaks at a press conference.

Eli Saslow
Washington Post

President Obama's 165th flight on Air Force One required all the customary protocols of a presidential trip. He took a helicopter from the White House lawn to Andrews Air Force Base, where seven military officers waited at full attention. He entered his plane through a door decorated by the presidential seal and settled into a suite that includes an office and a conference room. After a short flight, he exited to cheers from a greeting party before disappearing into a limousine that cruised down the barricaded streets of this New Hampshire city.

When Obama arrived here Tuesday afternoon, he stopped at a suburban industrial park to visit a machinery company. Snipers surveyed from the roof. Secret Service agents monitored the warehouse. A 19-car motorcade idled outside. Obama, meanwhile, stood on the gray concrete floor with the company's employees, studying their manufacturing materials and trying to convey his new favorite message: He understands the problems of what he calls "everyday Americans."

Obama has made it his goal in the past 10 days to convince them otherwise. In Nashua, he hoped to connect with the unemployed despite holding the country's most prestigious job; to disparage Washington politics despite being a product of them; to have a self-described "direct conversation with the folks of New Hampshire" even as bomb squads, Secret Service officers, political dignitaries and television cameras occupied every corner of the room.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Tim Gibson

    The problem is the disconnect with actions to words.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  2. Boomer in Mo

    Every other elected member of the federal government is clueless about the middle class, why wouldn't the President be in the dark too.
    The American middle class has been killed off by corporate greed, tax policies that favor the rich and too many people unwilling to work, period.
    We're done for.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  3. Lisa in CA

    Unfortunately, once one gets elected to office – whether it be state or federal, oh heck, even as city council or county supervisor – there is a disconnect. Once you start getting car allowances, housing allowances, forever medical care that ratchets one to the top of the list, you lose the connection to the average person. The only way I can see to avoid that lost connection is to ensure they part of your circle of advisors. When all of your advisors are professional politicians or lobbyists, again you have no connection as these people also don't have a clue what the average person is experiencing.

    What Obama needs to do is a retrospective on this past year - without his advisors spinning it for him. He needs to see where he has and, more importantly, has not delivered on his campaign promises. He needs to understand that the "change" he promised has not come to pass because those giving him advice don't have experience as working, middle class Americans barely getting by.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  4. AFROCENTRIKASIATIKBLAKMAN

    This is completely ludacris. Is he suppose to connect so well with the middle class because he's AFRICAN American. That's the first problem. The majority of Americans believe middle class is a "black problem" and he should fix it and connect with it more as a black man. Ludacris.

    February 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  5. alex lyrics

    President Obama is no different than any other world leader.

    they are all puppets for those who elect them into power, and make choices and decisions accordingly

    February 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  6. Jeanette

    why should it be so difficult to connect with the middle class? he not only was at one time middle class but according to this same article he even collected food stamps.

    It amazes me that all of the sudden since the dems lost different elections around the country–especially the last one, he now wants to connect with the middle class. Where the heck has he been this last year when everyone is losing their homes and jobs??? what a phony politician.

    February 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  7. PS

    He is trying too hard... He should settle down in his office and start tackling the issues instead of campaigning indefinitely, which is only hurting everyone's 401(k)s...

    February 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  8. LMcNaughton

    "Despite his roots"? What roots of his make it difficult to connect with the middle class?

    February 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  9. Rebecca, Louisville, KY

    Cry moar. You want his job? Run for it. I'll be laughing the whole time you're floundering.

    February 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm |