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Barack Obama on the Republican convention: One key issue ignored

September 3, 2008 |  2:06 pm

The opening acts of last week's Democratic National Convention were met with middling reviews, with even some party loyalists (such as James Carville) complaining of an unfocused message that, to their dismay, mostly passed on targeting John McCain. Democratic presidental nominee Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech at his party's convention in Denver

Barack Obama took care of that complaint in his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nod, offering a full frontal assault on his Republican foe. And today, campaigning in Ohio, he offered his thoughts on the GOP confab in St. Paul, Minn.

Not surprisingly, his critique was thumbs down.

Tuesday night's program -- the first full one, due to the disruption caused by Hurricane Gustav -- was dominated by stirring testimonials to McCain's courage and character and included a biting attack on Obama by Fred Thompson.

Here's what caught Obama's attention, though (as well as that of others): “You did not hear a single word about the economy,” he told a small gathering of supporters at a college campus in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

The Times' Noam Levey was with Obama, and he relates that the Democrat continued:

Not once did people mention the hardships that folks are going through. Not once did they mention what are we going to do about keeping jobs here in Ohio. Not once did they mention what are we going to do about all these retirees that are losing their pensions. Not once did they mention how are we going to make sure Social Security is there for the next generation.

The other party and John McCain don’t get it. They don’t get it.

Obama also zinged McCain campaign manager Rick Davis for asserting, in a videotaped interview with the Washington Post Tuesday, that November's election would be more about personalities than issues.

“I guess I don’t blame them," Obama said, recycling a line he's been using often to characterize the Republican campaign. "Because if you don’t have any issues to run on, I guess you want it to be about personality."

-- Don Frederick

Photo: Associated Press