At a press availability this afternoon in Dayton, Ohio, ABC News asked Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., if — given the recent 20-point swing among white women towards Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll — he feels the addition of Gov. Sarah Palin to the GOP ticket has attracted women specifically because of her gender, whether Obama regrets not naming a woman to his ticket as his running mate, and what he can do to woo those women voters back?
First, Obama expressed skepticism about the poll.
"You know I just think that the notion that people are swinging back and forth in the span of a few weeks, or a few days, this wildly generally isn’t borne out," Obama said. "These are the same polls that had me 20 down last Summer that have swung wildly throughout this process."
Second, Obama said Palin had attracted a lot of attention and, among conservatives, excitement — but he didn’t think gender played factor.
"There is no doubt that Gov. Palin attracted a lot of attention this week," Obama said. "She’s been on the minds of all of you, and as a consequence has been before the American people constantly throughout the week, and has brought excitement to the Republican party, there is no doubt about that."
Obama said the race is far from over, and that issues would ultimately beat out personality.
"I think that what we’re going to have to do is see how things settle out over the next few weeks when people start examining who is actually going got deliver on the issues that people care about," Obama said. "You know, who’s got an education plan that is going to improve the prospects for our children? Who’s got a health care plan that is going to help a whole bunch of women out there who don’t have health insurance? Who is better equipped to change the economy so that the average person who is working hard feels like they can get ahead and see their incomes rise? Ultimately those are the issues that I think are going to make the biggest difference in this race.
"But there is no doubt that you know the Republicans are excited particularly the right wing of the party is excited by Senator — or Governor Palin’s choice," Obama said. "I think that has less to go with gender than it has to do with her ideological predispositions, which are closely aligned to theirs."
Obama did not address the question about whether he regrets not naming a woman running mate.
– Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller