Chicago Tribune: The Struggling Obamas

Today's Chicago Tribune carries a frontpage article titled, "Michelle Obama's mission: Show voters humble roots." Mrs. Obama's recollections of how she and her husband not so long ago were deluged with bills and calls from collection agencies have become a major component of the campaign, designed to demonstrate that Senator Barack Obama understands financial difficulties and the folks encountering them. He feels their pain.

The article reports that Barack Obama "by all accounts, rose from humble beginnings and isn't that far removed from financial hardship in his own life."

But who's providing all those accounts on which the Tribune relies? The tenth paragraph, buried on page 23, notes that Mrs. Obama "doesn't come with documentation to back up her story about financial hardship. Asked to provide evidence of the Obamas' recent debt or contact from bill collectors, a campaign aide said the family was trying to find the records in response to a Tribune request last week but could not do so immediately."

It may take a while. To his credit, Senator Obama released his tax returns going back to the year 2000. On their joint 2000 return, the Obamas reported an adjusted gross income of more than $240,000. Their following year's AGI was over $270,000. In the past eight years, the Obama's worst was in 2004, when their AGI was a pitiful $207,000. Thank goodness for that wonderful child care tax credit, which the Obamas routinely took.

So here's a couple making over $200,000 annually and in most years quite a lot more. Yet they still had to sweat opening the mail and were plagued by calls from collection agencies. It's little wonder that it was only recently that Michelle (finally!) was proud to be an American.

In the meantime, I know we can depend on the Chicago Tribune and other mainstream media outlets to confirm all those accounts proving that the Family Obama actually experienced the difficult challenges they're now claiming.

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