On Sunday, Time magazine’s Karen Tumulty reported on how the chairman of the Virgina Republican Party, Jeff Frederick, compared Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to Osama Bin Laden by telling campaign volunteers that they “both have friends that bombed the Pentagon”:
With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: “Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon,” he said. “That is scary.” It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama’s controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked.
Though the McCain campaign said the comparison was “not appropriate,” Frederick stood by the comparison. McCain himself has said that he needs to “look at the context” of the remarks before commenting. But on Fox News last night, Frederick’s comments got some support. Calling Ayers “a domestic Osama bin Laden,” right-wing pundit Dick Morris declared that it was a “healthy” comparison for Frederick to make:
COLMES: And then after tamping it down, today the RNC comes out with another ad comparing Obama to Ayers. And you have the Republican chair in Virginia who sends out his troops, Jeff Frederick, giving instructions to 30 door-to-door canvassers saying, both have friends who bombed the Pentagon?
MORRIS: What’s the matter with comparing.
COLMES: Is this healthy?
MORRIS: Yes, what’s the matter — it is. What’s the matter with comparing Obama to the guy who introduced him in politics, gave him his first job, and has been a fixture in his campaign.
Morris has previously argued that Obama’s tenuous link to Ayers is “the equivalent of having a close relationship with Osama bin Laden.” As FactCheck.org notes, the right wing is using “false and misleading statements” to make Obama and Ayers out to be close allies, when in fact, their relationship “was never very close.”