The Republican National Committee plans to e-mail “an audience of tens of millions” the link to a new video on the subject called “Guilt by Participation” and encourage recipients to forward it to friends and family, aides said.
“Barack Obama has no problem with forming relationships when politically convenient,” says the menacing narration, accompanied by brooding music.
The title comes from a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by conservative scholar Stanley Kurtz, who wrote on Sept. 23: “The Obama campaign has cried foul when Bill Ayers comes up, claiming 'guilt by association.' Yet the issue here isn't guilt by association; it's guilt by participation.”
The 80-second video ends with a new slogan, a variation of one Republicans have used in the past: “Barack Obama: Career First. Country Second.” The slogan is likely to be used again, officials say.
The video flashes garish lettering like “WANTED BY FBI” and “DON’T REGRET SETTING BOMBS.”
The Obama campaign on Sunday released a roundup of media quotes headed “McCain's Strategy of Distracting From the Economy ... How's It Playing With Republicans?”: “In case you missed them, below are stories across the country voters are reading and hearing about McCain’s closing strategy, even conservative pundits, Republican officials and Republican voters are rejecting it."
Among those quoted was Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who said on “Fox News Sunday”: “[T]he main thing to say about these negative ads, which, I don’t think — almost none of them has been across the line — they haven't worked. Obama's favorable rating is as high as it's been in three months. It's actually gone up in the last month. So it's a stupid campaign.”
Republican officials don’t claim that the Ayers issue is moving numbers for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). A Republican official replied that the reason for the continued push is: “Ayers has been effective from the standpoint that it helps further doubts that already exist about Obama's judgment and how much we really know about him.”
The video begins: “Barack Obama. He launched his political career in the home of William Ayers, a 1970s domestic terrorist, a founder of the Weather Underground in the ‘60s.”
The Obama campaign released an ad Saturday saying he began his career at a Ramada Inn in Chicago, “not in anyone’s living room.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former Republican House leader Rob Portman of Ohio defended the attention to Ayers: “I saw yesterday there had been nine different explanations about his relationship with Bill Ayers and when he met him and who he thought he was, and so on. And so that's the issue, is his judgment and his truthfulness.”
During a discussion about Ayers on “Fox News Sunday,” Obama chief strategist David Axelrod said to McCain campaign manager Rick Davis: “[E]very single charge that you've thrown out has been debunked by FactCheck.org.”