POLITICS
10/04/2012 01:15 pm ET Updated Oct 04, 2012

Presidential Debate Provides Opportunity To Mention The Little People

During Wednesday evening's presidential debate in Denver, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney talked about their big ideas, but, as politicians often do, both men made sure to mention some of the little people they've encountered in their journeys.

"I've had the occasion over the last couple of years of meeting people across the country," Romney said near the beginning of the debate. "I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm and she said, 'I've been out of work since May. Can you help me?'"

And Romney said that his wife, Ann, had a similar experience on Tuesday.

"Ann yesterday was at a rally in Denver and a woman came up to her with a baby in her arms and said, 'Ann, my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs. He's lost his most recent job and we've now just lost our home. Can you help us?'"

Romney told the debate audience that his campaign has the answer. "And the answer is, yes, we can help, but it's going to take a different path. Not the one we've been on, not the one the president describes as a top-down, cut taxes for the rich. That's not what I'm going to do."

Romney's campaign did not immediately provide additional information about the people who he was referring to. A local TV station, via its Facebook page, wants to find out more about the unemployed woman who grabbed Romney's arm in Dayton.

In his closing remarks on Wednesday, Obama also mentioned someone he'd met.

"Four years ago, we were going through a major crisis," Obama said. "And yet my faith and confidence in the American future is undiminished. And the reason is because of its people, because of the woman I met in North Carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter and now has a job from that new training that she's gotten."

The anecdote is similar to one Obama used in his State of the Union address in January, when he mentioned Jackie Bray, a single mom in North Carolina who had lost her job as a mechanic.

"Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College," Obama said in January. "The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant."

The Obama campaign did not immediately confirm whether Bray is the same person Obama described on Wednesday.

The president also mentioned a teacher in Las Vegas and a Minnesota company that cut salaries instead of laying off workers.

UPDATE:: 5:06 p.m. -- The Obama campaign told HuffPost the president was referring to Kathy Proctor, a woman Obama mentioned in his 2011 State of the Union address. Obama talked about Proctor, who attended the speech as the first lady's guest, while boosting community colleges.

"One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old," the president said. "And she told me she's earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams, too. As Kathy said, 'I hope it tells them to never give up.'"

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