WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is doing well to fight attacks by Republicans, a leading Democratic senator said Sunday.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" program that Obama is defending himself in his tight race against Republican rival John McCain.
While Obama would like the presidential campaign "to be just on the big issues,'' the Illinois senator has to answer attacks that are "small-bore, nasty, diversionary," Schumer said.
"They hit you, you have to hit back with the same speed and velocity within 24 hours," Schumer said. "The Obama campaign is now doing that."
Schumer said McCain and his vice presidential running mate, first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have shifted their strategy from focusing on experience to change.
"John McCain and Sarah Palin do not represent change. They are, particularly on domestic issues but also on foreign policy, a continuation of George Bush's policies ...," Schumer said.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican who ran for president this year, said the campaign has become bitter on both sides.
"I think the main reason for that is that Senator Obama has refused to debate in these town hall meetings every week with Senator McCain," Giuliani said.