June 17, 2008 — -- Sen. Barack Obama has emerged from his bruising battle for the Democratic presidential nomination with only a six point lead over Sen. John McCain and claiming his Republican rival has been getting a "pass" from the media.
A ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Obama, D-Ill., leading McCain, R-Ariz., by a margin of 48 percent to 42 percent. It is a surprisingly small lead considering that the incumbent Republican president George Bush is at record lows and public opinion overwhelmingly feels the country is on the "wrong track".
The poll indicates that Obama did not get the traditional "bounce" in the public's opinion by finally defeating Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and getting her endorsement as the Democratic presidential candidate.
While leading among young voters and other key demographics, ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos saw what he called "danger signs" for Obama.
In an exclusive network interview with ABC News, Obama said that his long Democratic primary battle with Clinton, which wasn't settled until early June, spared McCain critical scrutiny.
"While we were doing that, John McCain basically was getting a pass, both from the media . . . as well as from other opponents. And so I think that explains it," said Obama of the close race.
It is an ironic accusation from Obama.
During the bitter Democratic fight, the Clinton camp repeatedly complained that Obama was getting a pass from the media.
Obama has been trying to shore up key components of the geographic and demographic components he will need to win the presidency.
He accepted the endorsement Monday night of former vice president and global warming guru Al Gore in Detroit. It was the second major endorsement Obama staged in the key state of Michigan, having announced the backing of former presidential contender John Edwards in Michigan as well.
Obama was trying to make up for lost time in the swing state because he had avoided Michigan during the primaries as the Democratic Party punished the state for holding its primary earlier than the party wanted.