Biden "Disappointed" Ayers Will Be Debate Topic

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

(LISBON, OHIO) - Joe Biden says he's "disappointed" to hear that John McCain says William Ayers could be brought up in the final debate between McCain and Barack Obama tomorrow evening.

"In my view…the ads that are being run, picturing Barack Obama and people saying, 'known terrorist' with. I think that's over the top. You know, Barack Obama was eight years old when this guy Ayers was doing bad things," said Biden.

McCain told St. Louis radio station KMOX, "I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised that I didn't have the guts" to bring up Ayers at the last debate. "I think he is probably ensured that it will come up this time."

William Ayers, a former radical activist who admitted to being proud of domestic terrorist attacks he planned in the late '60s and early '70s against government buildings, has been the focus of McCain ads and speeches by Sarah Palin for over a week. Obama sat on a board of education with Ayers, who also held a coffee in his living room for Obama at the start of his political career.

Biden responded to questions from reporters about McCain's statement at a diner in Lisbon today.

"This guy Ayers has gotten all kinds of - I don't know anything about him, I've never met him. But I know about him, but I've never met him. But you know, I think the average person looks out there and sees this guy who they say is a known terrorist, and I think they, the vast majority of the American people associate terrorism with, you know, radical Islamic groups and al Qaeda. I just think it's…I think it's over the top."

Asked why Biden does not call McCain directly and tell him how he feels about these type of attacks, Biden said he had done so, but only before September 11th of this year. At the time, the attacks and the mentioning of Ayers had not become a prominent McCain campaign tactic.

"I know John knows my views," said Biden. "I expressed them…in a slightly different way earlier. So you know, look. John's campaign, I think this is all about all these people in this diner."

"All through Ohio here, people are losing jobs. Their homes are being foreclosed on. The people who aren't having their homes foreclosed on, their looking at the nest egg they had and they though the equity in their home drying up. And they want to know what we're going to do."

Earlier in the town of Warren, AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka introduced Biden to a crowd of three thousand supporters, many of which were laborers from the steel and auto industries.

"A middle class voter voting for John McCain is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders," said Trumka. "And if the Republicans get in, you're gonna get plucked!"

Biden, continuing his role as Obama's go-to guy for speaking out against the McCain-Palin ticket, attacked his rivals for attacking Obama.

"What did John McCain do?" asked Biden, referring to McCain's speech yesterday. "He laid out some new attacks on Barack Obama…the distinction could not be clearer. One guy's fighting for you and the other guy's fighting mad."

Biden said that whether he travels to Warren or Wilmington, Del., the questions he gets are all the same.

"They're the things you talk about at your kitchen table. You know, will I have a job next month? Will I have a job next month? Can I afford to go to the doctor? Literally, a woman was saying to me in the ropeline, I wasn't able to take my kid for his physical for school this year. I don't have insurance, I didn't have the money. Can I go see the doctor?" said Biden.

"I can't go to the doctor!" called a woman from the audience.

Biden turned to her, saying, "Well a lot of people can't. and we're going to change that, kiddo. I promise you."

It was not the only outburst from Biden's audience.

"At the end of the day there's a fundamental difference between Barack Obama and John McCain, and Joe Biden and Sarah Palin," said Biden.

"Brains!" shouted a supporter, inciting laughs from audience and a chuckle from Biden, who responded, "Maybe I should stop here."