The president made a surprise visit to his campaign headquarters in Chicago today and spoke off-the-cuff to volunteers there. The campaign released the video tonight, below. After relating that he came to Chicago at 25 with “this vague inkling about making a difference” but “didn’t have a structure” or “an election campaign to attach myself to” (Ronald Reagan had just been re-elected and popular) he continued, veering into campaign-mode territory:
"I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to helping kids get a way of education, or helping people living in poverty to get decent jobs and be able to work with dignity, to make sure that people didn't have to go to the emergency room to get healthcare, and I ended up being a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago... and I didn't know at all what I was doing, and the work that I did do in those communities changed me much more than I changed the communities, because it taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and resilience ordinary people, and it taught me the fact that under the surface differences we all have common hopes and we all have common dreams and it taught me something about how I handled disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor, and I grew up, I became a man in that process"
Then he says the volunteers don’t remind him of himself, but that they’re so much better than he was at 25—smarter, better organized, more effective.
He tears up talking about how “running for office” had come full circle because the work of the volunteers meant the work he was doing was important.