Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. speaks at Schott Glass in Duryea, Pa., Friday, Sept. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
DURYEA, Pa. - Democrat Barack Obama called Republican rival John McCain's acceptance speech the final piece of an out-of-touch convention that focused on its nominee's biography instead of the struggles of the middle class.
"If you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn't know that we have the highest unemployment in five years because they didn't say a thing about what is going on with the middle class," Obama told workers at a specialty glass factory.
"They spent a lot of time talking about John McCain's biography, which we all honor," the Illinois senator said. "They talked about me a lot, in less than respectful terms. What they didn't talk about is you and what you're seeing in your lives and what you're going through, or what your friends or your neighbors are going through."
Obama pointed out that the nation's unemployment rate zoomed to a five-year high of 6.1 percent in August, according to a government jobs report issued Friday.
"We've now lost 605,000 jobs since the beginning of this year," Obama said. "We've had eight consecutive months of job losses."
Obama seized on the new jobs report as part of his strategy to tie McCain to President Bush's stewardship of the economy and to connect with voters who fear their jobs will disappear. There is no shortage of such voters in Rust Belt Pennsylvania.
In accepting the Republican presidential nomination, McCain spoke at length about his biography, his love of country and his principles for governing.
Obama mocked McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis for saying the election would be decided more by voters' views about the candidates than about issues.
"Personalities? I mean, I've got a pretty good personality. But that's not why I'm running for president," Obama said to laughter.
In two days of campaigning in Pennsylvania, Obama has been reaching out to middle-class and working class voters who preferred Hillary Rodham Clinton to him during the Pennsylvania primary.
"I have to say to you: I'm not perfect, but the one thing people can't deny is that for my entire public life, I've been fighting for folks like you, ordinary, middle-class families and working families, helping them getting ahead," Obama said, borrowing a theme that helped Clinton win in these rural, largely white areas.
Obama later greeted workers and patrons at The Avenue Diner in Wyoming, Pa. Asked by reporters his reaction to McCain's acceptance speech, Obama replied, "Still haven't heard, after three days, what they're going to do for the economy."