“…. And what I tell people when I travel around the country — that your President knows this all too well. He understands these issues, because he’s lived them. He was raised by a single mother who struggled to put herself through school and pay the bills. And when she needed help, who stepped in but his grandmother, waking up every morning before dawn to take the bus to her job at the bank. And his grandmother worked hard, and she happened to be very good at what she did.
But for nearly two decades, she was passed over for promotions because she was a woman. And she watched men no more qualified then she was –- men she had actually trained -– climb the corporate ladder ahead of her.
So believe me, Barack knows what it means when a family struggles. He knows what it means when someone doesn’t have a chance to fulfill their potential. And believe me, today, as a father, he knows what it means to want your child to grow up with no limits to their dreams.
Those are the experiences that have made him the man -– and more importantly, the President -– he is today. And that is what I hear in his voice when he comes home after a long day in the Oval Office, traveling around the country, and he shares with me the stories of the people he’s met. That’s what I see in those quiet moments late at night after the girls have long gone to bed, and he’s still up poring over briefings and letters. Letters from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won’t cover her care. The letter from the father struggling to pay his family’s bills. The letter from the young person — too many young people — with so much promise, and so few opportunities.
And I do hear the passion and determination in his voice. He says, “You won’t believe what folks are still going through” — that’s what he tells me. And he says, “Michelle, this isn’t right. We have to fix this. We have so much more work to do.””
View full speech here: Remarks by the American First Lady, Michelle Obama Nov 1 2011