But apparently those were not the driving forces behind his White House run. That distinction goes to his daughters.
In an open letter to Sasha and Malia Obama, the president-elect declares: "I ran for President… because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation."
In the letter published Thursday in Parade Magazine, Mr. Obama tells his daughters that he knows life was hard for them while he was away on the campaign trail and that he wanted to explain why he wanted to "take our family on this journey."
"When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me - about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want," he writes. "But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours."
Mr. Obama then details his goals for children across the nation – schools that challenge and inspire, affordable college for every student, and ultimately jobs that pay well and offer important benefits.
While addressing his daughters, the president-elect says his grandmother was his biggest influence as a child.
"She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better-and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be," he writes.
He encourages his daughters to continue that work by "righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had."
He then concludes:
"I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure. I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House. Love, Dad"