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Bill Ayers will be at tonight’s debate. (Alas, only spiritually.)

John McCain could accept the dare to mention the terrorist.

Columnist Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune might have finally found the ultimate rebuttal for our “Barry -hearts- terrorists” line of attack:

Neither Ayers nor his wife was espousing or practicing terrorist acts in the 1990s when Obama met them. They haven’t committed or advocated violent protest since the early 1970s.

Then again, I have not heard the claim that Ayers is a practicing terrorist; rather, the assertion is that he is an “unrepentant” one.

And, Mr. Zorn, Ayers has advocated violence as recently as 2001:

“I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”

And:

So, would Mr. Ayers do it all again, he is asked? ”I don’t want to discount the possibility,” he said.

In a story today, the ChiTrib paints Ayers as a nice man reluctant to discuss his murderous past. Has he repented?

Ayers’ office door is decorated with pictures of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Che Guevara and Malcolm X.

A cop killer, a Marxist thug, and a violent black nationalist. From someone with Bill Ayers’s background, this is not just a “Free Mummia” t-shirt, a Che hat, an “X” necklace, or a “Sarah Palin is a [deleted]“ t-shirt. No, those are the things of thoughtless punks, and Ayers has put a lot of mental effort into his terrorism.

I mention Ayers now because John McCain has hinted that he might speak of Ayers at tonight’s debate.

McCain appeared to take the bait yesterday. “I was astonished to hear him [Obama] say that he was surprised I didn’t have the guts to do that [mention Ayers], because the fact is the question didn’t come up in that fashion,” McCain told a St. Louis radio station. “I think he’s probably ensured it will come up this time.”

Both Obama and Joe Biden basically called John McCain a cowardly wimp for not daring to mention Ayers at the last debate. (See the last link, to the Boston Globe.) That can be dangerous.

So Obama will have his canned response ready, and the media will support him by crying, “Foul!” McCain has to take this matter over the heads of the media and to the American people, those who might be concerned about a Presidential candidate allying himself with a proud domestic terrorist. Obama might have been eight-years-old when Ayers set us up the bomb, but he was in his thirties when he chose to consort with the man. One would think an aspiring politician would steer clear of such people and things. I wonder if the little red light went off in Obama’s head. (Then again, if the Rev. Wright’s rhetoric didn’t sound a few alarms for him, he’s got a gap in his cognition.)

Make no mistake, tonight will be an important one. It had also better be a big one, and for all the right reasons. The Obama-Ayers connection that important, so the narrative ought to be engaged.

Obama might have to remember one of Ayers’s own perverse maxims:

“You don’t always have to have an ultimate answer to the toughest questions.”

We’ll see if the student has learned this much of the professor.

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