In the debate last night, Stephanopoulos asked Obama what Hannity pressed him to ask:
Stephanopoulos: A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”
An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?
Update: NYT–Former Friends Weigh Into Debate, and the Former Amity Drain Out
... But there were other moments when she and Mr. Stephanopoulos seemed back to their old war room sync. Mr. Stephanopoulos asked Mr. Obama about his ties to Bill Ayers, the Weatherman who in the summer of 2001 said, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Mr. Obama looked a bit surprised, but deflected the question. “This kind of game,” he said, “in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, somehow their ideas could be attributed to me — I think the American people are smarter than that.”
Mrs. Clinton took up where Mr. Stephanopoulos left off. “Well, I think that is a fair general statement,” she said, “but I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position.”
The two candidates abandoned any past pretenses of comity. This time there were no warm handshakes or friendly smiles, and when they praised each other, it was faint and almost grudging. She pounded him with the word “bitter,” and he countered with bittersweet — bringing up the cookie remark (“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies”) that branded Mrs. Clinton as an elitist in her husband’s 1992 presidential race.
“I think Senator Clinton learned the wrong lesson from it,” he said, “because she’s adopting the same tactics.”
If last night was any of measure of success, the tactics work.