FLINT, Michigan (CNN) –- Refusing to allow the McCain-Palin ticket to usurp his mantle of change, Barack Obama accused the duo of repackaging themselves and ratcheted up his weekend criticism of Sarah Palin, accusing her of trying to “make stuff up” and “recreate” herself in some of his toughest language against her to date.
“Let’s get the facts clear here. When she was mayor, she hired a Washington lobbyist to get earmarks – pork barrel spending – all the things that John McCain says is bad, she lobbied to get!” Obama told a small crowd at community college in this economically hard-hit town.
“When it came to the Bridge to Nowhere, she was for it until everybody started raising a fuss about it and she started running for governor and then suddenly she was against it!
“You remember that?” Obama continued. “For it before you were against it? I mean you can’t just make stuff up, you can’t just recreate yourself, you can’t just reinvent yourself. The American people aren’t stupid.”
Obama was reacting to a McCain ad out Monday touting Palin’s stance against the infamous $400 million earmark in her home state of Alaska – a position that is central to the Republican’s argument that his ticket will battle wasteful government spending.
The attack echoes his criticism of Palin Saturday, when he charged that she had accepted earmarks “when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can't just make stuff up."
On Monday, the Democratic nominee asked how McCain could talk about change “with a straight face,” telling the crowd seven of the Arizona senator's top aides of were former corporate lobbyists.
“John McCain says that he is going to tell all those lobbyists in Washington that their days of running Washington are over,” said Obama. “So who is it that he’s going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman? Is he going to tell his campaign manager? I mean, these are folks who have represented every major corporate interest…”
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded that there are no registered lobbyists currently on the payroll, “and Barack Obama knows it.”
“John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin are a new chapter of reform in Washington, and if Barack Obama is so concerned about former lobbyists than he doesn’t need to look any further than the leadership of his own campaign,” said Bounds. “Barack Obama does not have the record to make change, and voters are recognizing it.”
Obama took another jab at his GOP opponents during a response on Social Security during the event’s question-and-answer session, calling McCain's position “another example of the ‘No Change Express.’”