YORK, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama said Thursday that attacks on him at this week’s Republican National Convention were no big deal: “I’ve been called worse on the basketball court,” he told reporters at an afternoon press conference.
“What did you guys expect?” he asked, smiling, “This is what they do. 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. They've spent the entire two nights attacking me or extolling John McCain's biography, which is fine. They can use their convention time any way they want.”
Wednesday night on stage in St. Paul, both Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani belittled Obama’s work as a community organizer in Chicago in the 80s. Obama called the reaction “curious,” as if he were trying to jump from a post-college job to the presidency.
“The question I have for them is that why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for?” he said. “I think maybe that's the problem – that's part of why they're out of touch and they don't get it because they haven’t spent much time working on behalf of those folks.”
Obama dismissed accusations from Republicans that comments and reports from Democrats and the media about Palin are sexist, saying that digging into her record can only be expected.
“I assume that she wants to be treated the same way that guys want to be treated, which means that their records are under scrutiny. I've been through this for 19 months. She's been through it, what, four days so far?”
But Obama isn’t treating Palin the same way he is McCain — he’s not going after her with nearly the same ferocity. Since the Alaska governor was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, Obama has only mentioned her twice in speeches - and only to criticize her for supporting McCain’s position on equal pay for women.
“I’m running against John McCain and as far as I can tell, I don’t get a sense that Governor Palin has ideas that are different from John McCain’s,” said Obama.
So if the Republicans blows are glancing off of him, what’s he used to being called on the basketball court? “You’d have to bleep it out.”