"Beyond the speeches, how much do you know about Barack Obama?" asks the new TV ad from a non-profit conservative group called the Americans Issues Project. "What does he really believe?"
The ad then tries to tie 9/11 to the Weather Underground and William Ayers, and Ayers to Obama.
"United 93 never hit the Capitol on 9/11," says the ad, "But the Capitol was bombed thirty years before – by an American terrorist group called Weather Underground…that declared ‘war’ on the U.S. – targeting the Capitol, the Pentagon, Police Stations, and more. One of the group’s leaders, William Ayers, admits to the bombings, proudly saying later: ‘We didn’t do enough.’ Some members of the group Ayers founded even went on to kill police.
"Obama’s political career was launched in Ayers’ home," the ad continues, "And the two served together on a left-wing board. Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol… and is proud of it? Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?"
Asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos about his relationship with Ayers, Obama said,"This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense…The fact is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who, during his campaign, once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions. Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those, either."
Obama said the Ayers argument is a "kind of game in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, that somehow their ideas could be attributed to me, I think the American people are smarter than that. They’re not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn’t."
Ed Failor, Jr. sits on the board of American Issues Project. The executive vice president of Iowans for Tax Relief, Failor was a senior adviser to the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, as this cached press release shows.
The press release was only taken down from the McCain website in the last few weeks — the Google cached version shows it being on the McCain website as recently as June 29, 2008 — though the McCain campaign says Failor hasn’t had anything to do with their campaign in months.
The spokesman for the American Issues Project, which says it intends to spend $2.8 million on the initial ad buy, is Christian Pinkston, who also worked for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Eight years ago, Pinkston gave McCain’s presidential campaign $250. Seven years ago Ayers gave Obama state senate campaign $200.