ARLINGTON, Va. – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama likes his chances in the White House battle with Republican John McCain, telling a fundraising reception the odds of his winning are “very good.”
    
“Let’s face it, there weren’t too many people who thought we were going to pull this off,” Obama told a fundraiser attended by about 40 people on Monday in Arlington, Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington.
    
“We are now in a position where the odds of us winning are very good. But it is still going to be difficult.”
    
Obama said he was pleased with his trip to Europe and the Middle East — “we executed very well” — but did not expect it to give him a big bump in polls.
    
He said people were still evaluating his candidacy because he was a new face in national politics.
    
“I don’t look like any presidential candidate America has ever seen,” said Obama, the son of a black African father and white mother from Kansas who spent part of his youth in Indonesia.
    
“It’s not just a function of race, it’s background, experience, resume — this is new for them, and new for us as a country,” he said. He expects a close race to the end.
    
“We’re not going to see some huge gap develop, some huge separation develop between now and Nov. 4,” he said. “This is going to be a close election for a long time because I’m new on the national scene.