Listening to Barack Obama, it can seem like Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is the main person standing between him and the White House instead of John McCain.
Obama is putting as much heat on Palin as he is on the man at the top of the GOP ticket, objecting to the Republican Party’s portrayal of her as a reformer who can bring change to Washington.
That is supposed to be Obama’s distinction, and he’s not taking kindly to Palin trying to claim it. Especially when it appears the new star on the GOP ticket is helping boost its standing: McCain has jumped to a dead heat or narrow lead over Obama in the latest national polls since choosing Palin as his running mate.
Obama said last week’s Republican National Convention did a good job of highlighting Palin’s biography — “Mother, governor, moose shooter. That’s cool,’’ he said. But he said Palin really is just another Republican politician, one who is stretching the truth about her record.
“When John McCain gets up there with Sarah Palin and says, ‘We’re for change,’ ... what are they talking about?’’ Obama said on Monday, arguing that they aren’t offering different ideas from President George W. Bush and they are just trying to steal his campaign theme because it seemed to be working.
“It was just like a month ago they were all saying, ‘Oh, it’s experience, experience, experience.’ Then they chose Palin and they started talking about change, change, change,’’ he said.
Obama’s campaign seemed to be caught off guard by McCain’s surprise pick of Palin on August 29. Obama’s spokesman initially blasted her as a former small-town mayor with zero foreign policy experience who wants to continue Bush’s policies. But Obama quickly walked the statement back with more congratulatory words about Palin.
Voters, mostly women, seem to agree, according to new polls. An ABC News-Washington Post survey showed white women have moved from backing Obama by 8 points to supporting McCain by 12 points, with majorities viewing Palin favourably and saying she boosts their faith in McCain’s decisions.