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The Right's illogical Ayers obsession

As Election Day gets closer and John McCain struggles to close the gap with Barack Obama, expect McCain and his surrogates to lean even more heavily on the William Ayers argument--wherein Obama's association with Ayers renders him unfit for the presidency.

Here's why this line of reasoning is nonsensical. Obama and Ayers met while working together on the Annenberg Challenge , an initiative funded by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, which was funded by the Annenberg Foundation, which was created by Walter H. Annenberg.

If Obama deserves condemnation for working with Ayers in Chicago, then certainly Annenberg--the Philadelphia communications magnate, former ambassador to Great Britain, Republican stalwart, and recipient (via Ronald Reagan) of the Presidential Medal of Freedom--should have been criticized for using Ayers to advance his educational vision. But I can't find a single example of a conservative making such a complaint.

Here, FYI, is what Colin Powell said when Annenberg* died in 2002:

In Walter Annenberg, I have lost a dear friend and our country has lost one of its greatest civic leaders. In all that he did, the good of our nation always came first to Walter. Whether it was serving brilliantly as our envoy to Great Britain, leading innumerable charitable and public causes, promoting education, or pioneering high quality programming on television, Walter worked passionately to advance the most fundamental values and interests of the American people. He did it with charm. He did it with skill. He did it with kindness. He did it with endless generosity and devotion.

It is no exaggeration to say that Walter's contributions have touched the life of every American for the better in one way or another. We at the Department of State are no exception. For decades, Walter and his wonderful partner in life Lee have led the effort to ensure that our diplomatic reception rooms here and in our embassies all around the world display to the world the very best of American fine and decorative arts. These extraordinary collections are national treasures and stand as an enduring testament to his deep love of our country.

Alma and I will miss Walter's great warmth and wisdom, and our hearts and prayers go out to Lee and the entire Annenberg family. 

Note that there's no mention of Annenberg palling around with terrorists. Of course, maybe if Sarah Palin had weighed in....

*NOTE: Not Ayers, obviously, as I originally wrote.

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