OBAMA ON THE OFFENSIVE…. It looks like Barack Obama’s intent on starting the stretch run on an aggressive note. He added a few sections to his stump speech today that I hadn’t heard before.

First, he took on John McCain’s latest effort to present himself as an agent of change. “[S]uddenly he’s the change agent,” Obama said. “He says, ‘I’m going to tell those lobbyists that their days of running Washington are over.’ Who’s he going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman, who’s one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he gonna tell his campaign manager who was one of the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Is he gonna to tell all the folks who are running his campaign who are the biggest corporate lobbyists in Washington? Who, who is it that he’s going to tell that change is coming? I mean, come on. They must think you’re stupid.”

And in a real change of pace, Obama also sought to undermine one of Sarah Palin’s central claims. “I know the governor of Alaska has been, you know, saying she is change,” Obama said. “And that is great. She is a skillful politician. But when you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it is convenient and then suddenly you are the champion anti-earmark person, that’s not change, come on!” Obama said. “I mean, words mean something. You can’t just make stuff up. You can’t just make stuff up. We have a choice to make and the choice is clear.”

Rumor had it the Obama campaign planned to ignore Palin altogether. If today was any indication, that’s not the case.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.