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, stepping up an effort by John McCain's campaign to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters.
Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and US 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 simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts.
Falling behind Obama in polls, the Republican 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. Coming late in the campaign, Palin's remark could be particularly incendiary, however, and could knock Obama off his focus on the troubled economy.
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