POLITICS

Ayers Linked To GOP Governor Through University

The campaign season's hottest gotcha game -- six degrees of William Ayers -- has suddenly become a bit more complicated for John McCain and the Republican Party.

It turns out that Ayers, a 60s-era radical and former Weathermen member, is linked to GOP Gov. Mark Sanford through their work for the University of South Carolina.

Since 2005, Ayers has held the title of "distinguished scholar" at USC for participating in an education project. He has attended various university events, been praised highly by school administrators, even published columns on university's website. Meanwhile, Sanford holds the position of Ex-Officio Chairman of USC's Board of Trustees.

True, that "link" is basically meaningless; no one suggests that Sanford endorses anything that Ayers has said or done over the years.

But that's precisely the point, according to the Obama campaign, which is gearing up for another round of Ayers coverage on Tuesday, when records are released for an education group that Obama chaired and Ayers co-founded.

The formation of that group, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, was considered a triumph for the city's schools, the first major shift of private funds into the public system. Moreover, the grant to create the organization came from the Annenberg Foundation, which was run by a prominent Republican, Walter Annenberg, who maintained close relationships with several GOP presidents dating back to Nixon.

Does Obama's work with Ayers on this education project really call into question "his judgment and readiness to be commander in chief," as the McCain campaign has charged? If so, maybe McCain needs to take another look at Gov. Sanford.