President Obama today credited an affordable college education with helping a “mixed kid from Hawaii” and a “little black girl from the South Side of Chicago” make history in the White House, ABC News reports.

“Education was a gateway of opportunity for me,” Obama told the crowd here. “Let’s face it. You know, a mixed kid from Hawaii born to a single mom is not likely to become president of the United States. But in America, it can happen because of education, because somebody gave me opportunity.

“You know, a little black girl from South Side of Chicago whose mom’s a secretary and dad’s a blue-collar worker, you know, not likely to become first lady of the United States,” he said, referring to his wife, Michelle. “But it happened because she got a great education even though her folks didn’t have a lot of money.”

It’s a story that has become a focal point of Obama’s pitch in Colorado and other swing states, part rebuttal to GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s call to curtail federal aid for higher education; part proof that he better understands struggles of the middle class…

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staff and wire services reports