ABC News John Berman, Sunlen Miller, and Ursula Fahy report:
Barack Obama heaped the praise on his running mate, Joe Biden, on Friday, lauding his debate performance against Alaska governor Sarah Palin; "How about hat debate last night?" asked Obama. Standing on a football field in Abington, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, Obama continued, "didn’t Joe Biden, a fellow some people call the 3rd senator from Pennsylvania, didn’t he do a great job?" Biden, of course, is the senior Senator from Delaware, but he was born about 120 miles down the road in Scranton, PA, "a Scranton boy, done good," Obama called him.
Obama had less flattering things to say about Biden’s debate-partner Gov. Palin, especially her contention that Obama’s economic plan is a "job killing plan."
"I wonder if she turned on the news this morning?" asked Obama sarcastically, referring to the new federal jobs report that showed 159,000 jobs dropped from American payrolls last month, the 9th straight month of losses.
"This is the economy that John McCain said, just two weeks ago, was fundamentally strong," said Obama, using a line that has become a favorite of his on the stump. "This is the economy that my opponent said made great progress under the policies of George W. Bush. And those are the economic policies that he proposes to continue for another four years." Then, speaking over the boos in the crowd, "So when Senator McCain and his running mate talk about job killing, that’s something they know a thing or two about. Because the policies they’ve support and are supporting are killing jobs every single day."
It was a slight modification to a speech that Obama has been delivering by teleprompter in battleground states all week. Though today, in Pennsylvania, it fell a little flat on the crowd, compared to the rousing cheers he received in Michigan and Nevada.
RNC spokeswoman, Amber Wilkerson called Obama’s economic proposal ‘dangerous’ and said it ‘will obstruct job creation.’
"Unlike John McCain, Barack Obama thinks the answer to our nation’s struggling economy is to kill job creation with higher taxes and oppose competitive tax rates that would keep jobs here in America," Wilkerson told ABC News’ David Wright.
Obama also added a new, somewhat odd riff when discussing McCain’s response to the financial crisis. Obama asserted that McCain is a recent convert to the idea of regulation, "He hasn’t been getting tough on CEO’s, he hasn’t been getting tough on Wall Street," said Obama, "so suddenly a crisis comes and the polls change and suddenly he’s out there talking like Jesse Jackson. Come on!"
It wasn’t completely clear what connection Obama was trying to make between McCain and Rev. Jackson; perhaps it was only to suggest that lately McCain has been sounding more liberal. It should be noted there have been plenty of tense moments between Jackson and Obama, with the former suggesting he wants to cut off a part of Obama’s anatomy for the way he was communicating with African-Americans. McCain, to this date, has made no similar suggestions.
Abington is in Montgomery County, a key swing county in Pennsylvania, where Obama narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in the primary 49.25% to 50.64%. He lost the state as a whole by a much wider margin 9%, struggling with both seniors and white working class voters.
Obama was joined at the Abington rally Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a former Hillary Clinton supporter and Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who backed Obama in the primaries. Casey said Obama still has work to do to shore-up Pennsylvania, particularly with voters older than 65.
Casey also said the McCain campaign decision to pull-out of Michigan adds challenges in PA, "we just have to assume they will put more into this state, and we have to be ready," he said.
Obama heads home to Chicago on Friday night to celebrate his 16th wedding anniversary with his wife Michelle.