Obama Hopes Speech Shows Voters "What He Believes"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(KANSAS CITY, MO.) - Despite having been in the public eye since 2004 and having run a closely-watched presidential campaign, Barack Obama fears that voters may still not know who he is.

"You're on the television screen, you're in big auditoriums, but sometimes, who you are may get lost," Obama said today, adding that he hopes his convention speech will change that.

"I want people to come away saying that whether I'm voting for the guy or against the guy, I know what he stands for, I know where he comes from, I know what he believes."

Speaking on the tarmac in Moline, Illinois, Obama promised that his speech will not be full of "high rhetoric," which he admitted he is already known for.

"I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago," he said later adding, "I'm much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle class families live their lives."

Obama was asked if he feels pressure to live up to his 2004 convention speech, but he explained that his role was much different in 2004.

"At the time I was a member of a supporting cast trying to make the case for John Kerry and so I could structure a speech that was all about inspiration and broad themes."

Aides have set the stage this week to reintroduce Obama in smaller, more intimate settings leading up to the big convention speech. Today, the town hall meeting in Iowa looked like events he hosted a year ago, when he was in third place behind Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Obama's low key event today was also an attempt to draw attention on Michelle Obama's speech tonight. With her mother and brother by her side, Michelle Obama will speak about her family's struggles and her marriage.

"And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago," she will say, according to prepared remarks.

"He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love."