Obama tackles Ayers in radio ad, Plouffe fires back at ‘smears’

In a radio ad that began airing in Colorado on Tuesday, Barack Obama responds to criticism of his relationship with William Ayers with a dig at John McCain for “resorting to desperate attacks.” At the same time, McCain protested that Obama has forced him to bring up Ayers during the third debate in New York tonight, and Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, released a video meant to counteract an “unprecedented sleaze factory” from the McCain campaign and anti-Obama groups.

The radio ad, which is also airing in Wisconsin, addresses ties between Obama and former Vietnam War protester Ayers, a link first broached by the McCain campaign when McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists who targeted their own country” during a fundraiser in Centennial earlier this month. “Ayers has had no role in Obama’s campaign,” the ad’s narrator says, “and will have no role in his administration.”

The ad continues a recent Obama campaign theme: that attacks on Obama’s background and associations are an attempt by the McCain-Palin campaign to distract voters from the nation’s financial crisis.

McCain on Tuesday told a St. Louis radio host that Obama’s comments that “I didn’t have the guts” to bring up Ayers in last week’s presidential debate have “probably ensured” that the former Weatherman will be at topic in Wednesday’s debate.

Expect more of the same, Plouffe says in an online video sent to Obama donors on Tuesday. Plouffe introduces glimpses of various “vile” ads airing in battleground states, including Colorado, “because they don’t have any positive ideas,” and calls Palin’s regular invocation of Ayers “completely beyond the pale.” Plouffe urges supporters to “(fight) back with the truth” with “the most ferocious effort we’ve ever seen in presidential politics.”

Here’s a transcript of the Obama radio ad about Ayers:

John McCain’s campaign told the press if the election’s about the economy, he’ll lose. Now, as Americans lose their jobs and savings, McCain’s resorting to desperate attacks the press calls, quote, “smears” and “false.”

Bill Ayers is a professor of education who once served with Obama on a school reform board, a board funded by conservative Republicans tied to McCain. When Ayers committed crimes in the ’60s, Obama was 8 years old. Obama condemned those despicable acts. Ayers has had no role in Obama’s campaign, and will have no role in his administration.

Obama says this campaign should be about how to fix our economy, help small businesses and homeowners on main street, and crack down on Wall Street abuses.

And John McCain? With no plan to fix our economy, smears are all he has left.

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