My grandparents and my mother were marvelous people, but they were not particularly demonstrative in their love. It was teachers who were affectionate and outwardly expressive about that, and encouraging in that way. And of course, you know, I got a break in 1970, when I was 14 years old, to go to Milton Academy in Massachusetts on scholarship.
I think that hope, that ability to envision, to imagine a better way, and then to apply yourself to it, is the way to climb out of a hole, is the way to build a better life, is the way to build a better community and a better country.
The summer before my third year of law school, I worked at a law firm in Washington, D.C. I turned 25 that July, and on my birthday, my father happened to be playing in a local jazz club called Pigfoot and invited me to join him. I hadn't spent a birthday with him since I was 3, but I agreed.
I grew up on the south side of Chicago, most of that time on welfare. My mother and sister and I used to live with my grandparents and various cousins. We shared a two-bedroom tenement, and the three of us slept in one of those bedrooms and had a set of bunk beds.
We believe that in times like these we should turn to each other, not on each other. We believe that government has a role to play, not in solving every problem in everybody's life but in helping people help themselves to the American dream. That's what Democrats believe.
People aren't going to go bankrupt anymore if they have a serious illness, which was a serious issue here in the country before the Affordable Care Act. And, in fact, the expense of expanding health care for those who need the subsidy is picked up by the federal government for most of the early years.
Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he's fixed. I can tell you that Massachusetts wasn't one of them. He's a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was more interested in having the job than doing it.
I'd like to have another opportunity to serve. I believe in service. I enjoy it. I also like coming and going, you know, because I think that my private-sector life has contributed to how I think about public-sector challenges and what I do in the public sector.
I have never taken a job or done a job where I felt I needed to leave my conscience at the door. One of the great things about not being in politics as a career is that I can do this job without thinking about my career. I can think about what we're trying to do, what we're trying to accomplish and what we're trying to leave.
I view the experiences that I have had - both tough ones and the pleasant ones - as gifts. They've been full of lessons. And I've learned to be open to those lessons.
People read inevitability as entitlement, and the American people want their candidates to sweat for the job. They want them to actually make a case for the job.
I have never taken a job or done a job where I felt I needed to leave my conscience at the door. One of the the great things about not being in politics as a career is that I can do this job without thinking about my career. I can think about what we're trying to do, what we're trying to accomplish and what we're trying to leave.
My most vivid memory of my father centers on the day he left. It was warm, and my mother was especially short with Rhonda and me that afternoon, which I attributed to the heat. I was oblivious to the mounting hostilities in our basement apartment.
I went to big, broken, under-resourced public schools, but we had a real sense of community, because those were days in the '50s and the '60s when every child was under the jurisdiction of every single adult on the block.
I've fixed hard problems of all kinds, civil rights and business problems. It's the stuff I like to do, and I'm good at it, as a matter of fact... and I never left my conscience at the door.