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Obama: Palin against equal pay

From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
TOLEDO, Ohio -- At an economy town hall here Sunday afternoon, Obama said his rival's pick for vice president was against equal pay for equal work.

"We're gonna make sure that equal pay for equal work is a reality in this country," he said. "You know, John McCain's new VP nominee seems like a very engaging person, a nice person, but I've got to say, she's opposed like John McCain is to equal pay for equal work. That doesn't make much sense to me."

When asked what Obama was basing that line on, campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki linked Palin to McCain's agenda.

"Sen. McCain has a clear record of opposing equal pay and as his running mate Gov. Palin is tasked with promoting his agenda," she said.

Obama is hoping to win over many of Hillary Clinton's women supporters by focusing on kitchen-table issues and on policies of importance to women. McCain's selection of Palin, a mother of five, is widely seen as part of an effort to appeal to some of these same voters as well as to women in general.

"I've got two daughters and when I think about them, I say to myself, I want to make sure that those girls have exactly the same opportunities as anybody's sons will," Obama continued. "That's why were gonna fight for equal pay for equal work. That's why were gonna fight for sick days for workers if their child is sick or they've got an ailing parent. That's why were gonna make sure that we expand family leave so that more people can utilize it and so that women who are in the workforce are able to balance work and family. And men too."

Obama and Biden each spoke briefly before fielding questions from the audience of invitation-only guests, on trade, healthcare, revitalizing cities and other issues. They were on the third day of a bus tour through battleground states and were set to split up later in the day to begin campaigning separately.

*** UPDATE *** Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella issued this response:  "For Barack Obama to accuse Gov. Sarah Palin of opposing equal opportunity for women, when she actually opposes the trial lawyers' effort to overturn the longstanding statute of limitations in America's courts -- is not only an absurd accusation, it's a disgrace." But if we're reading this statement correctly, this means that Palin backed the Supreme Court's 5-4 majority decision that invalidated Lily Ledbetter's equal-pay lawsuit.