SEDONA, Ariz. – GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin opened a new assault on Barack Obama on Saturday, accusing the Democratic presidential nominee of being “someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists.”
Seizing on a New York Times account Saturday of the relationship between Obama and Bill Ayers, who has confessed to bombings as a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, Palin told Republican donors in Colorado that Obama “is not a man who sees America as you and I do – as the greatest force for good in the world.”
Palin’s comments came as Sen. John McCain’s campaign signaled a new effort to go after Obama and were a distortion of what the Times story concluded: that the two men are not close and that Obama has played down his contacts with Ayers, who remains unrepentant about his actions but has been rehabilitated in the eyes of many Chicago political and civic leaders.
The comments underscored a new determination by the McCain campaign to try to regain momentum by painting Obama as a radical out of touch with Main Street.
“It’s a revealing flash point of Barack Obama’s failed judgment and out of the mainstream values,” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said Saturday.
Obama aides slammed Palin’s rhetoric. “Governor Palin’s comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign’s statement this morning that they would be launching Swiftboat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation’s economic ills,” said a statement from an Obama spokesman, referring to attacks challenging Sen. John F. Kerry’s war record in the 2004 election.
Obama, who has denounced Ayers’ actions in the 1960s and 1970s, has described him as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” and said the two do not exchange ideas on a regular basis. But the association has become a source of anger for many conservatives, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, N.Y., predicted during the Democratic primaries that Republicans would make an issue of it.
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