LANCASTER, Pa. - While campaigning through Pennsylvania yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama contended that his opponents are more focused on attacking him than providing solutions for the nation's economy.
A day after a series of speakers at the Republican National Convention - including vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin - blasted Obama as an out-of-touch liberal with no executive experience, Obama told a group of about 30 workers at a hydroelectric power company in York, Pa., that he was surprised there has been so little discussion of the state of the economy at the convention.
"You wouldn't know that this is such a critical election by watching the convention last night," Obama said. "You're hearing about John McCain, and he's got a compelling biography as a POW. You're hearing a lot about me, most of which isn't true. What you're not hearing is a lot about you."
Later in the day, in a session with reporters, Obama addressed Republican attacks that belittled his experience and mocked his work as a community organizer in Chicago. He said he found the attacks on community service work "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," he said.
"And the question I have for them is, Why would that kind of work be ridiculous?"
Obama also said that inquiries into Palin's record as governor of Alaska were legitimate and that she should expect such scrutiny. "I've been through this for 19 months," he said. "She's been through this for, what, four days so far?"
Palin's attacks helped Obama in another way, however. By yesterday afternoon, his campaign had raised $8 million as a result of an appeal made in the wake of her speech, with the expectation that it would reach $10 million by the time McCain delivered his nomination speech.
All week, Obama has been hammering away at middle-class tax relief, health care, education and renewable energy, as his campaign has suggested that the Republicans, especially with the buzz currently surrounding Palin, are seeking to frame the race as a contest of personality and biography.
"If [the Republicans] had a bunch of ideas, you'd think you would have heard them by now," Obama said. "At least, I've got a plan."