Watch CBSN Live

Obama to Virginians: "We May Be Cousins"

From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) Would you vote for your cousin if he or she ran for president? Barack Obama hopes so.

Today, he told a small group of supporters in Virginia that he may be related to them.

While describing his family's background, he said, "You trace back my family on my mother's side: Scots Irish. There are a whole bunch of those folks here in Virginia," he said. "All right. So ya'll didn't know, but we may be cousins."

OK, so, Obama was probably joking and the comment did rouse a chuckle from the audience.

But, the remark signifies a larger point - in order for Obama to win a traditionally red state like Virginia, voters will have to relate to him.

"Your story is my story," Obama told supporters on Sunday, as he continued to drive the message that his life parallels the lives of average Americans.

The reason behind this new initiative is that Obama is aware that Republicans are trying to portray him as an outsider.

Today, he warned voters that his opponents will try to scare them away from his campaign.

"They're gonna try to attack me and make you worried about me - and they'll say 'well he's young, he's got a funny name, and you know he's not patriotic."

In recent days, Obama has been noticeably on the offensive, sending a similar message to supporters and donors.

"Things could get ugly", he said at a fundraiser on Monday vowing to fight back against attacks "swiftly and forcefully."

The bottom line is that if there's a chance that Obama might be your cousin- he will tell you. He needs you to believe that he's just like you. He needs your vote.