From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
EAU CLAIRE, WI -- Obama told a crowd of supporters at a BBQ here today that the Democratic convention, which begins tomorrow in Denver, would show that he is just like them and understands their concerns.
He also declared his introduction of running mate Joe Biden a success. "We're going to be going to the convention this week, and if you're paying attention, you'll have a sense of who I am," he told a crowd of about 300 people at Rod and Gun Park.
"My wife Michelle speaks tomorrow night and you'll have a sense of who she is, and what our values are, and how we're raising our kids. And I think what you'll conclude is he's sort of like us. He comes from a middle-class background. He went to school on scholarships; he had to pay off student loans; he and his wife had to worry about child care; we had to figure out, you know, how to start a college fund for their kids."
Obama used the same lines against McCain he has used all week -- making references to a McCain adviser's remarks about America being a "nation of whiners," bringing up the Arizona senator's quip during the Saddleback Forum about $5 million being "rich," and his inability to remember the number of homes he owns -- to paint him as out of touch. He said Democrats would look out for middle-class concerns, not Republicans.
"When you don't know how many homes you have and you define being wealthy as having $5 million, then what that tells me is that you just don't get what's going on with people's everyday lives -- the folks who are making $20,000 a year or $40,000 a year or $60,000 a year, that are trying to get their kid into college, or trying to pay their health-care premiums at the end of every month," he said to rising cheers and applause. "That's who I'm fighting for. That's what built America, that middle class. This election is about you."
He spoke briefly about his announcement Saturday that Biden, a six-term senator and foreign policy expert, would be his running mate. "We had a great day yesterday when I had the honor of introducing my selection as running mate, the person who I believe will be the next and one of the greatest vice presidents in the history of the US, Joe Biden."
At one point Obama sought to assure people that he would not take away their guns. "I saw signs coming in saying, "He's gonna take away your guns," even though I have repeatedly said I support strongly the 2nd Amendment and the legal right to bear arms," he said, referring to several people who were out on the road leading to the event holding McCain signs and signs reading "No hunting Obama."