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Obama Takes On Outside Group Over Ayers Ad

(DENVER) Barack Obama's campaign has "quietly" begun airing a TV ad responding to an outside group that is spending $2.8 million on advertising designed to highlight the candidate's past association with former Weather Underground member William Ayres, the AP reports. The Obama ad is a response to commercials being run by the conservative American Issues Project highlighting Obama's ties to the controversial figure.

"With all our problems, why is John McCain talking about the 60s, trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers," the Obama says. "McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers crimes, committed when Obama was just 8 years old."

The AP notes that while McCain's campaign is not running the ad, the outside group is financed by a McCain fundraiser and one of its board members has past ties to McCain's campaign. According to TNS Media, a company that tracks ad spending, the American Issues Project ad has run about 150 times in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan.

The McCain campaign responded to the new Obama ad, saying, "The fact that Barack Obama chose to launch his political career at the home of an unrepentant terrorist raises more questions about Senator Obama's judgment than any TV ad ever could. And the fact that he's launching his own Convention by defending his long association with a man who says he didn't bomb enough U.S. targets tells us more about Barack Obama than any of tonight's speeches will."

The AP also reports that the Obama campaign is seeking to bloc stations from running the ad, pressuring others not to and is asking the Justice Department to step in. In a letter to station managers running the ad, many of them part of Sinclair Communications, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer wrote: "Your station is committed to operating in the public interest, an objective that cannot be satisfied by accepting for compensation material of such malicious falsity."