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McCain: Ayers "Still Wants to Destroy America"

10:53 PM, Oct 13, 2008 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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John McCain gave a very interesting interview to CNN's Dana Bash today. The most provocative part, in my view, came when McCain refused to engage on a question about Jeremiah Wright and used his answer instead to intensify his critique of William Ayers at a time when many critics believe he should drop it altogether. McCain said that "Ayers is a unrepentant terrorist and that's a unique individual in American history. A person who still wants to destroy America. He and his wife who both want to still destroy America. That's an unusual breed of cat."

The issue, says McCain, is that Obama hasn't been honest about the relationship.

The entire exchange follows:

Bash:I'm going to ask you about Jeremiah Wright. You have made it very clear in your advertisements and even on the stump that you believe that associations with regard to Barack Obama are fair game. And you have specifically been talking about William Ayers . Many Republicans, IÂ’m sure you have heard this, have said to me and to others, why is William Ayers fair game and Jeremiah Wright, who has a much more clear, established relationship with Barack Obama, in your view, is off the table?

McCain: Well because William Ayers was an unrepentant terrorist. I mean, he is a person who on 9/11 said that he wanted to set off war bombs. I mean this is a very big question that I think people have to ask and clearly Senator Obama said he was, quote, a guy in the neighborhood.

Bash: Why not Wright?

McCain: Because Mr. Ayers is a unrepentant terrorist and that's a unique individual in American history. A person who still want to destroy America. He and his wife who both want to still destroy America. That's an unusual breed of cat. And so- and the fact is, Senator Obama was not truthful in telling the American people about his relationship. Very frankly Dana, I don't give a damn about an old unrepentant terrorist, but what I do care, is telling the truth to the American people. Senator Obama didn't tell the truth to the American people when he signed a piece of paper, back when he was a dark horse, that said he would take public financing if I did. That's his signature on a piece of paper. He wasn't telling the American people the truth. When he told them that he would quote sit down with John McCain, he looked right in the camera during his debates with Senator Clinton, sit down and negotiate with John McCain before he made a decision on public financing.

Bash: Whether this is a coincidence or not, I know you've heard this during your rallies, since you have been talking about Ayers and your running mate has also, we've heard people in the crowd screaming out terrorist, traitor when you've talked about Senator Obama, and worse.

McCain: I've heard same thing unfortunately at Senator Obama's rallies being said about me. There is always the fringe element that's in politics in America. The overwhelming majority of the people that come to my rallies are good and decent and patriotic Americans. And if they're worried about this country's future- that's correct. But to somehow intimate that of the 1000 people, 17 ,000 people who were just with us in Virginia, and to somehow intimate that the overwhelming majority of those people, with rare exception, are somehow not good Americans or are motived by anything but the most patriotic motives is insulting and I won't accept that insult.

I will tell you right now, I'm proud of my supporters. I'm proud of the people that come. I'm proud of those veterans that have served our country that come to my rallies and fire me up. I love them. And for anybody to intimate that the overwhelming 99 and 99/ths percent is anything but patriotic and good americans is frankly unacceptable. And I won't stand for it.