Obama: GOP Convention Ignored Middle-Class Woes

Barack Obama said the Republican convention's focus on John McCain's biography came at the expense of the struggles of the middle class. The comments came in a campaign appearance in Duryea, Pa., a day after McCain became the GOP presidential nominee.

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Now to the Obama campaign. Senator Obama brought up the unemployment numbers today at a visit to a glass factory outside Scranton, Pennsylvania.

BARACK OBAMA: Now, you would think that George Bush and his potential Republican successor, John McCain, would be spending a lot of time worrying about the economy and all these jobs that are being lost on their watch. But if you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn't know that we have the highest unemployment rate in five years, because they didn't say a thing about what is going on with the middle class.

BLOCK: NPR's Audie Cornish is traveling with Barack Obama. And, Audie, did the senator offer any fixes of his own to this economic problem?

AUDIE CORNISH: Senator Obama essentially said, look, I'm going to give you three concrete policies, and he went over what we've heard this week about a middle class tax cut for 95 percent of middle class families. He also talked about rebuilding infrastructure and developing green industries and talking about making college more affordable. He's got a plan to give sort of in- exchange-for-service tuition.

But the idea here is Senator Obama's talking to people who are in manufacturing jobs or factories that are experiencing growth and saying, we can do more work like the kind of work you're doing if we put in a kind of broad investment in bringing jobs back.

BLOCK: Audie, we saw the Republicans really come out swinging against the Obama ticket during their convention. What is the Obama campaign planning going forward?

CORNISH: So far, what you're going to see from the campaign is female surrogates, women going out, speaking on behalf of Barack Obama in some key states. First up to bat is going to be Senator Hillary Clinton in Florida on Monday. You're also going to see people like Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius going out and campaigning on Barack Obama's behalf to sort of counter the Sarah Palin effect on the race.

You won't be hearing Senator Obama mention the name of John McCain's running mate. He's going to continue to tie McCain to George Bush, although they are going to be using Palin's name when it comes to fundraising. So far, they've used the strength of her performance at the RNC to say to Democrats, look, help us out. And voters have responded with over eight million in donations to the Obama campaign since Governor Palin spoke at the convention.

BLOCK: Okay, that's NPR's Audie Cornish traveling with the Obama campaign outside Scranton, Pennsylvania today. Audie, thanks so much.

CORNISH: Thank you.

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