The ad focuses on Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, a Hyde Park acquaintance at whose home Obama attended a gathering early in his political career. Ayers is a complicated figure: professor and adviser to the mayor of Chicago despite not having repented his past as a domestic terrorist with the Weather Underground.
“How much do your really know about Barack Obama? What does he really believe?” asks the ad, which also uses imagery from the Al-Qaeda terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it?” asks the ad’s narrator.
Its financier, Simmons, who made his first fortune in chain pharmacies, was a major donor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that damaged Kerry in 2004 by questioning his patriotism. He has raised more than $50,000 for Obama’s rival, Sen. John McCain, though there’s no evidence that his anti-Obama effort has McCain’s explicit blessing.
Obama has launched a response ad, which addresses McCain directly, and will air in Ohio, Tracey said.
“With all our problems, why is John McCain talking about the ’60s, trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers?” says Obama’s ad. “McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers’ crimes, committed when Obama was just 8 years old.”