RIVERSIDE, Ohio (CNN) – Senator Barack Obama told reporters he is not concerned about the spike in enthusiasm among Republicans since Governor Sarah Palin joined the GOP ticket, or recent polls showing a dead-even race.
“My general approach throughout this process has been not to worry about today’s news or yesterday’s polls but worry about what is it where is it that I want to see the country what is it that I’m trying to accomplish,” said Obama at a press conference in Riverside, Ohio. “I know that after our convention we had a bump, after theirs they get a bump. I think that what you’re going to see settling in, is that the race is going to be very close.”
The Democratic nominee, asked whether he wished he had picked a female running mate given some polling data that indicates women are flocking to the McCain-Palin ticket, said he had no regrets.
“The notion that people are swinging back and forth in a span of a few weeks or a few days this wildly generally isn’t borne out,” said Obama. “These are the same polls that had me 20 down last summer that have swung wildly throughout this process. There is no doubt that Governor Palin has attracted a lot of attention.
“There’s no doubt the Republicans are excited, particularly the right wing of the Republican party, is excited by Governor Palin’s choice. I think that has less to do with gender than it has to do with her ideological predispositions.”
Palin, who has become a hot topic on the trail Monday, appears to be a rallying point for Democrats as well. Before Obama’s Riverside speech, the crowd chanted “no pit bulls!” - a reference to Palin’s joke at the GOP convention that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull was lipstick.
Obama came to Riverside to talk education, laying out $1 billion worth of new proposals to make students in the U.S. more prepared to compete in a global economy. Some of the initiatives include more funding for charter schools, and greater investments and access to new classroom technology. The Illinois senator said the money to cover the spending would come in part from “carefully winding down the war in Iraq.”
In his remarks, Obama also hit Senator John McCain for what he said was a lack of commitment to education reform.
“He has not done one thing to truly improve the quality of public education in our country. Not one real proposal or law or initiative. Nothing,” Obama said. “Do you really believe that John McCain is going to suddenly make a difference now?”