Obama: Fundamental precepts of American dream haven’t changed

President Barack Obama—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama took time to do an interview during his visit this week to Amazon’s warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn. The interview was conducted by Amazon through the new Kindle Singles interview series. This prompted the large news networks like CNN to ask if the Obama administration was sidestepping the “traditional media” to get the message out.

The interviewer, David Blum, asked Obama about the struggles and tough times the president has had, and also talks about how he is the first president to have his credit card declined.

Barack Obama delves into the American dream, and insists that the fundamental precepts of the American dream haven’t changed.

Obama credits his grandparents for putting emphasis on education, and talks about how they were able to lead a life that allowed Obama’s mother to go to college and graduate without debt, despite the fact that her parents weren’t wealthy.

“Looking back on it, we didn’t have much, but we didn’t feel poor. The reason is because the American dream involved some pretty basic stuff. A home you could call your own. A job where you felt some security. A good education, health care that you could count on. Retirement that you could count on. Those cornerstones of what it meant to be middle class were pretty universally held. People felt if they worked hard, they could get there. It was achievable. But I don’t think people went around saying, “I need to have a 10,000 square foot house,”" Obama said.

In regard to the profession of journalism Obama told the interviewer: “It used to be there were local newspapers everywhere. If you wanted to be a journalist, you could really make a good living working for your local hometown paper. Now, you have a few newspapers that make a profit, because they are national brands and journalists are having to scramble, to piece together a living…in some cases as freelancers and without the same benefits they had in a regular job for a paper. What is true for journalism is true in manufacturing and also in retail,” Obama stressed.

If Obama hadn’t got involved in politics, he said he would have enjoyed teaching and helping the poor and needy.

“It is important not to sugarcoat the past,” the president said, recalling his own early ambitions to teach (“I would have made a pretty good teacher,” he said, with more than a slight hint of pride) before being sidetracked by political ambition.

“I also did a lot of work in non-profits, before I got into politics. In fact, when I was young, I was pretty skeptical about politics. I always thought that the compromises involved in politics, did not suit me…and that I’d rather just go out there on my own helping poor people and helping people in need. Organizing agencies and institutions to be more responsive to people. I think I would be doing similar things,” Obama said.