ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala reports: Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin unleashed a new attack on Sen. Barack Obama, accusing him of "palling around with terrorists" for his association with former 1960s radical William Ayers. The Obama campaign immediately denounced the attack as "shameless" and "offensive."
At a private fundraiser in Englewood, Colo., this morning, and later at a rally in Carson, Calif., this afternoon, Palin for the first time raised Obama’s connection to Ayers, one of the founding members of the Weather Underground, a '60s radical group that took credit for bombing attacks around the country, including explosions set off at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
"Our opponent, though, is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country," Palin told supporters at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in Englewood. "Americans need to know this."
Palin cited a front-page article in today’s New York Times that explored the ties between Obama and Ayers. Obama had served on a charity board with Ayers in Chicago during the mid-90s, and Ayers was present at an organizing meeting in 1995 to kick off Obama's first election campaign for the Illinois State Senate.
"There has been a lot of interest in what I read, and what I read lately well, was reading my copy of today’s New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago," Palin said. "OK, now I get to bring this up not to pick a fight, but it was there in the New York Times, so we're gonna talk about it.
"And it turns out one of Barack’s earliest supporters is a man who according to the New York Times, and are they ever wrong, according to the New York Times was a domestic terrorist and part of a group of that, quote, pushed a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol," Palin continued. "Wow. These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes. This is not a man who sees America as I see America, OK?"
The Obama campaign denounced the comments by Palin, calling them "shameless" and "offensive" in a statement released this afternoon.
"In fact, the very newspaper story Governor Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Senator Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less 'pals,' and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was eight. What’s clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy," Obama-Biden campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan said.
Palin said at the top of her remarks that one of her staffers had encouraged her to be more aggressive, saying, "The gloves are off, the heels are on. Go to work."
"Talk about taking the gloves off, I, too, being that outsider and only being a part of this for five weeks now, I think OK we gotta get the word out," Palin said of Obama’s connection to Ayers. “This is in fairness to the electorate; we gotta start telling people what the other side represents.”
This morning’s stop in Colorado was Palin’s third visit to the Rocky Mountain state since becoming the Republican vice presidential nominee. Palin and McCain held a joint rally in Colorado Springs on Sept. 6, and Palin returned for a solo rally in Golden on Sept. 15. The McCain-Palin campaign currently trails the Obama-Biden ticket by 4 points in the latest state-wide poll in the western battleground state.