From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
PITTSBURGH, PA -- Obama reacted to his rival's pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate and walked back a statement put out by his campaign that called the governor inexperienced.
"I haven't met her before. She seems like a compelling person, obviously a terrific story, personal story. And you know, I'm sure that she will help make the case for the Republicans," he told a small group of reporters on Friday. "Unfortunately, the case is more of the same. And so ultimately John McCain is at top of ticket. As I indicated in my speech last night, I think that he wants to take the country in the wrong direction. I'm assuming Gov. Palin agrees with him in in his policies."
He said the fact that a woman had been chosen as the vice presidential candidate of a major party "is one more hit against that glass ceiling."
"I congratulate her and look forward to a vigorous debate," he said. "I'm pleased with my choice for vice president Joe Biden. I think he's the man who can help me guide this country in a better direction and help working families."
Obama and Biden released a joint written statement earlier congratulating Palin, saying she was "an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign."
But a campaign also issued a statement that called into question her experience. "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency," wrote spokesman Bill Burton. "Gov. Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."
Obama appeared to dismiss Burton's statement. "I think that ... campaigns start getting these, uh uh, hair triggers, and the statement that Joe and I put out reflects our sentiments," Obama said
When asked about the contradiction in the tone of the two statements.
The nominee, who toured the plant with Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, also made a statement in support of biodiesel.