Barack Obama addresses reporters at a hydroelectric turbine plant in York, Pa.
YORK, Pa.–Barack Obama said Thursday he wasn’t surprised by the ferocity of Republican attacks this week during the party’s convention in St. Paul.
“This is what they do,” Obama told reporters after a campaign event at a plant in York. “They don’t have an agenda to run on. They haven’t offered a single concrete idea so far in two nights about how they would make the lives of middle class Americans better”
Obama echoed a theme that his campaign has established all day in response to jabs from former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin that questioned his experience and mocked his work as a community organizer as a young man in Chicago.
Obama called the attack on community service “curious.”
“i would argue that doing work in the community to try and create jobs, to bring people together, to rejuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job-training programs in areas that have been hard hit when the steel plants closed, that that’s relevant only in understanding where I’m coming from, who I believe in, who I’m fighting for and why I’m in this race.
“And the question I have for them is? Why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? Who are they advocating for?
“Maybe that’s the problem,” Obama said. “Maybe that part of why they are out of touch and don’t get it because they haven’t spent much time working for those kind of folks.”
He also addressed whether the Democrats and the media have been sexist in questioning Palin’s credentials to be vice president.
“Listen, I mean, if they want to work the refs, they are free to do so,” he said. “I think the public can make their judgments about this. The notion that any questions about her work in Alaska is somehow not relevant to her potential to be vice president of the United States doesn’t make too much sense.
“I think she’s got a compelling story, but I assume she wants to be treated the way guys want to be treated. That means our records are under scrutiny. I’ve been through this for 19 months. She’s been through it, what, four days so far?”
He said he wasn’t responding to Palin’s attacks because “I’m running against John McCain. I don’t get the sense that Gov. Palin has ideas different than John McCain.”
But, Obama said, the criticism “isn’t that big of a deal.”
“I’ve been called worse on the basketball court,” he said.