Ayers: Association with Obama professional

Nov. 14, 2008 at 2:32 PM
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CHICAGO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- One-time radical William Ayers said Friday the Republican Party "demonized" his militant past to wage a campaign of fear against Barack Obama.

The relationship between Ayers, a co-founder of the 1969 to mid-1970s Weather Underground, and the president-elect became a talking point for Republicans during the 2008 campaign, with party operatives and candidates raising questions about the depth of Obama's association with Ayers.

The two served together on several boards in Chicago. Ayers is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"The truth is we came together in Chicago in the civic community around issues of school improvement, around issues of fighting for the rights of poor neighborhoods to have jobs and housing and so on," Ayers said on ABC's "Good Morning America.

"So this idea that we need to know more like there's some dark, hidden secret -- some secret link -- is just a myth. And it's a, myth thrown up by people who wanted to kind of exploit the politics of fear."

He said the two knew each other "in a professional way ... on the same level as, say, thousands of other people."

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