AP's Sidoti reported Palin's claim that Obama has been "palling around with terrorists" -- but not evidence to contrary

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

The AP's Liz Sidoti reported Gov. Sarah Palin's recent comment that Sen. Barack Obama has been "palling around with terrorists who would target their own country," which Sidoti asserted "was a reference to [William] Ayers, a founder of a 1960s radical group." But Sidoti did not note that contrary to Palin's claim that Obama has been "palling around" with Ayers, the New York Times article Palin cited in making her remarks reported of the relationship between Obama and Ayers: "[T]he two men do not appear to have been close."

In an October 4 article, Associated Press staff writer Liz Sidoti reported Gov. Sarah Palin's recent comment that Sen. Barack Obama "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." Sidoti reported that Palin's comment "was a reference to [William] Ayers, a founder of a 1960s radical group," and noted in response only that "Obama's campaign called Palin's comments 'desperate and false attacks' intended to change the subject from the economy." Sidoti did not note that contrary to Palin's claim that Obama has been "palling around" with Ayers, the New York Times article Palin cited in making her remarks reported of the relationship between Obama and Ayers: "[T]he two men do not appear to have been close." Nor did Sidoti mention that the Times article also noted that Obama has never "expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.' "

By contrast, an October 5 AP article on Palin's remarks reported that "there is no evidence that they [Obama and Ayers] ever palled around. And it's simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts."

During an October 4 appearance in Colorado, Palin reportedly said:

There is a lot of interest, I guess, in what I read and what I've read lately. Well, I was reading my copy of today's New York Times and I was interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago.

I get to bring this up not to pick a fight, but it was there in the New York Times, so we are gonna talk about it. Turns out one of Barack's earliest supporters is a man who, according to the New York Times, and they are hardly ever wrong, was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and US Capitol. Wow. These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes.

This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America. We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. If we can be that beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy and can live in a country that would allow intolerance in the equal rights that again our military men and women fight for and die for for all of us. Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country?

From Sidoti's October 4 AP article, titled "Onus on McCain to Turn Presidential Race His Way":

Some Republicans close to McCain's campaign fret in private that Obama may be pulling away for good; others aren't so pessimistic. But there's unanimity in this: McCain has dwindling chances to regain momentum, and the upcoming debates are critical.

"He needs to be able to speak to his strengths and remind people of why they like him," said Tom Rath, a New Hampshire delegate to the Republican National Convention. And Ted Welch, a veteran Republican fundraiser in Tennessee, said: "He has to give voters enough reasons to vote for him. He hasn't yet."

That doesn't appear to be the campaign's priority. GOP operatives say the goal is to undercut Obama, likely by criticizing his associations with convict Antoin "Tony" Rezko and William Ayers.

Indeed, Palin wasted no time Saturday in Colorado, saying: "Our opponent ... 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." It was a reference to Ayers, a founder of a 1960s radical group.

Obama's campaign called Palin's comments "desperate and false attacks" intended to change the subject from the economy.

It's clear McCain's campaign believes that making Obama supremely unacceptable in voters' eyes may be the Republican's best -- if not only -- shot at winning the presidency.

The risk: Voters could be turned off if McCain goes too far.

From the October 5 AP article, titled "Palin says Obama 'palling around' with terrorists":

Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members were blamed for several bombings, including a pipe bomb in San Francisco that killed a police officer and injured another. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, has denounced Ayers' radical views and activities.

While it is known that Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood, served on a charity board together and had a fleeting political connection, there is no evidence that they ever palled around. And it's simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts.

Nonetheless, Palin made the comments at three appearances in separate states.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Person
Liz Sidoti, Sarah Palin
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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