Palin uses Ayers, Wright to attack Obama

Sarah Palin isn't shying away from one line of attack that John McCain had previously condemned.

Published October 6, 2008 4:00PM (EDT)

As the McCain campaign has gone negative against Barack Obama over the past few days, it's been Sarah Palin who's leading the charge. Monday was no different, as in a speech in Florida she attacked Obama by bringing up his connections with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers and discussed Obama's former pastor in an interview for Bill Kristol's latest column in the New York Times.

From Palin's remarks in Florida, as prepared for delivery:

Evidently, there's been a lot of interest in what I read lately. Well, I was reading my copy of The New York Times the other day, and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago.

Turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers. And according to The New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, "launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol."

Wow. And there's even more to the story. Barack Obama said Ayers was just someone in the neighborhood. But that's less than truthful. His own top advisor said they were, quote, "certainly friendly." In fact, Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers's home. And they've worked together on various projects in Chicago.

These are the same guys who think "patriotism" is paying higher taxes. (Remember what his running mate Joe Biden said!) This is not a man who sees America as you and I do -- as the greatest force for good in the world. This is someone who sees America as "imperfect enough" to work with a former domestic terrorist who targeted his own country.

(As an aside -- is there anyone out there who really believes that these remarks were inspired by an article Palin read in the New York Times, and were not the work of the writer(s) responsible for her stump speech?)

Palin also discussed Ayers in an interview with conservative columnist Bill Kristol. He then brought up the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor. Palin didn't hesitate to attack on that front either, saying:

To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that -- with, I don't know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave -- to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.

As it turns out, McCain has made that call before. Over at TPM Election Central, Greg Sargent points out McCain's reaction to an ad released by the North Carolina Republican Party that brought up Wright. "It's not the message of the Republican Party," McCain said at the time. "It's not the message of my campaign. I've pledged to conduct a respectful campaign."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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