"Let me say, Michelle would point out that first ladies get paid nothing. So there is clearly not equal pay in the White House, when it comes to her and me," the President said to the invitation-only audience gathered in Charlotte.
"But before we were in the White House, I wanted to make sure Michelle got paid as much as she could ... If she had a bigger paycheck, then that made us able to pay the bills," Obama said. "Why would I want my spouse or my daughter discriminated against? That doesn't make any sense."
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Obama also blamed Republicans for blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act, saying that men and women getting paid the same amount for doing the same job "should be a no brainer."
He added that equal pay was an issue he saw first hand growing up, when his grandmother "hit the glass ceiling" at her bank job, and spent 20 years training younger men who would move ahead of her.
The President opened the event by celebrating the economy and current state of the country under his leadership, ticking off jobs numbers, clean energy advancements and the Affordable Care Act, eliciting cheers from the audience.
He also used the opportunity to tout his "middle class economics" budget proposal — highlighting its benefits to single moms and working women, as well as the GOP's opposition to it.
House Speaker John Boehner's office responded immediately after the speech concluded, sending out an email titled "President Obama's 'Middle Class Economics' Trick."
"U.S. households with average incomes -- the 20% taking in between $49,086 and $84,055, to be exact" would have increased tax bills if the President's budget was approved, the statement said, citing a Tax Policy Center report.
The event, held with female-focused websites SheKnows.com and BlogHer.com, concentrated on childcare tax breaks, equal pay and other issues facing working women and families.