Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” because of an association with a former '60s radical.
Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for a number of bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the Vietnam War era. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, has denounced Ayers' radical views and activities.
While it is known that Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood, served on a charity board together and had a fleeting political connection, it's a stretch of any reading of the public record to say the pair ever palled around. And it's incorrect to suggest they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts.
Nonetheless, Palin made the comments at two appearances in separate states.
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“Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country,” Palin told a rally in Carson.
That echoed comments she made earlier to donors in Englewood, Colo.: “Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
Falling behind Obama in polls, the GOP campaign plans to make attacks on Obama's character a centerpiece of candidate John McCain's message in the final weeks of the presidential race.
The Obama campaign called Palin's remarks offensive but not surprising.
“What's clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy,” Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan said.