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With polls closed, William Ayers now complains of being a 'cartoon character'

November 4, 2008 |  6:57 pm

Now that all the votes are cast and it looks like his South Side Chicago neighbor Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States, William Ayers, the founder of the violent Weather Underground in the 1960s, granted a newspaper interview.

Ayers, along with Tony Rezko and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, were among the Obama Chicago relationships that critics used to question the freshman senator's judgment.

Called a "washed-up terrorist" by John McCain, Ayers has kept months of self-imposed silence during the campaign. During one debate Obama described him merely as "someone I know," though Ayers hired Obama as chair of the board of a $50-million education reform project and held a fundraiser in his home for Obama early in the lawyer's political climb.

Ayers is now objecting to being turned into "a cartoon character."

"Pal around together?" Ayers said. "What does that mean? Share a milkshake with two straws? I think my relationship with Obama was probably like thousands of others in Chicago. And, like millions and millions of others, I wish I knew him better."

"I didn't do anything," Ayers added. "It's all guilt by association. They made me into a cartoon character. They threw me up on stage just to pummel me. I felt from the beginning that the Obama campaign had to run the campaign and I had to run my life."

Ayers called today an "exciting moment" and said he planned to attend Obama's evening rally in Chicago's downtown Grant Park.

Our colleague Mark Silva has more on this interview over at the Swamp.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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