Barack Obama calls McCain out for not having the guts to smear him in person.
GIBSON: Change the subject for a moment. John McCain has unloaded on you in the last 72, 96 hours as has Sarah Palin. McCain is saying, essentially, we don’t know who Barack Obama is, where he came from. I’m an open book, he’s not.
GIBSON: Were you surprised, A, that he didn’t bring it up last night at the debate and use that line of attack? And, B, since you must have prepared for it, what were you going to say?
OBAMA: Well, I am surprised that, you know, we’ve been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days that he wasn’t willing to say it to my face.
But I guess we’ve got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that — that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate.
The notion that people don’t know who I am is a little hard to swallow. I’ve been running for president for the last two years. I’ve campaigned in 49 states. Millions of people have heard me speak at length on every topic under the sun. I’ve been involved now in 25 debates, going on my 26th. And I’ve written two books which any — everybody who reads them will say are about as honest a set of reflections by, at least, a politician as are out there.
So, you know, I think that, you know, Senator McCain’s campaign has been focusing on me primarily because they don’t want to focus on the economy. And they’ve said as much. I mean, you’ve had their spokespeople over the last couple of days say if we talk about the economic crisis, we lose.
I mean, you can’t be much more blatant than that. They want to change the subject. And I understand it because the fact is that John McCain has subscribed, for the most part, to the same economic philosophy as George Bush, the same economic philosophy that has governed over the last eight years and has helped to get us in this mess.