Obama's foes see link to ex-radical





At a tumultuous meeting of anti-Vietnam War militants at the Chicago Coliseum in 1969, Bill Ayers helped found the radical Weathermen, launching a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.

Twenty-six years later, at a luncheon meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Ayers hosted for Obama's first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.

A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Obama, 47, ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Ayers, 63, whom he has called "somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8."


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