As the stock market plunges, the presidential campaign today will be focused, at least in part, on two names that have nothing to do with the economic crisis -- William Ayers and Walter Monegan.
Ayers is the former radical who led a group that bombed government buildings during the early 1970s, and two decades later served on two nonprofit boards with Democrat Barack Obama and hosted an event early in Obama's political career.
Today, Republican John McCain's campaign launched perhaps its toughest TV ad yet, accusing Obama of blind ambition in connection with Ayers. "When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers," the announcer says. "When discovered, he lied."
The ad pivots to accuse Obama of blind ambition and bad judgment as well in the housing crisis.
McCain's campaign also jumped on a comment that Obama made to a Philadelphia radio host Thursday in which he said by the time he crossed paths with Ayers, he "assumed he had been rehabilitated."
"Barack Obama implausibly claims that he was unaware of William Ayers' radical and violent past when the two first met, in Ayers' home, at a party thrown in Obama's honor, and at which Ayers intended to introduce Obama to Chicago's left-wing political elite," spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "When Obama found out his new friend was an unrepentant terrorist, rather than sever his ties to a man associated with attacks on the US Capitol and the Pentagon, Obama says he just 'assumed [Ayers] had been rehabilitated.' Does Barack Obama continue to believe William Ayers has been ‘rehabilitated’? Or has Barack Obama changed his mind now that William Ayers is a liability, rather than an asset, to his political ambition?”
Monegan is the former state public safety commissioner in Alaska, who was fired last year by Governor Sarah Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee.
This afternoon, the Associated Press reports, Alaska legislators are to release a state ethics investigation of whether Palin abused her authority and fired Monegan after she and her husband pressured him in a family dispute. Monegan he was dismissed when he refused to fire Mike Wooten, a state trooper involved in a nasty divorce and custody dispute with Palin's sister.
The legislative committee could recommend that the case be closed, be further investigated, or referred to criminal investigators.
McCain's presidential campaign issued its own report Thursday night, asserting that the firing was over a legitimate policy dispute, the Associated Press reports. "The following document will prove Walt Monegan's dismissal was a result of his insubordination and budgetary clashes with Governor Palin and her administration," campaign officials wrote. "Trooper Wooten is a separate issue."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.