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Missouri Republican Martin behind controversial attack ad

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 26, 2008 -  Missouri Repubican Ed Martin has been identified as the person behind an ad that tries to link Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to Bil Ayers and terror.

The guilt-by-association theme makes the ad perhaps the harshest attack to appear so far. Ayers and Obama served together on a neighborhood board in Chicago. The Obama campaign has asked the Justice Department to investigate funding, has asked stations not to air the ad and has prepared a response. It says that Obama has denounced the crimes and was only 8 years old when they occurred. Obama's vigorous reaction is an indication that Democrats will be more combative than in 2004, when nominee John Kerry hesitated in responding to the swift boat ads that besmirched his military record.

The Ayers attack ad begins by asking, "Beyond the speeches, how much do you really know about Barack Obama?" It says Obama is a friend of Ayers, once a member of the Weather Underground, which bombed the U.S. Capitol. It ends by asking why Obama is a friend of someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it. See the American Issues Project description and the ad.

When KMOX's Mark Reardon interviewed Martin on the air Tuesday, Martin called Ayers an "admitted terrorist." Click here to listen.But Martin acknowledged that Ayers was not convicted of involvement. 

Politico reported Tuesday that the Obama campaign has sent a second letter to the Justice Department contending that funding for the ad is illegal.