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OPINION

Photo of Ayers Stepping on Flag

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A 2001 photo of William Ayers, an associate of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, shows the former terrorist stepping on an American flag.

The photo was taken to promote Ayers’s book, “Fugitive Days” and published by Chicago Mag for their August 2001 issue.

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As Obama has gained national prominence as a Democratic presidential contender media figures have questioned his relationship with Ayers. Ayers once hosted a fundraiser for Obama and the two have served together on the board of a philanthropic organization.

In a nationally televised debate Obama compared his friendship with Ayers to that of conservative Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and that the offensive activities Ayers participated in happened long ago.

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked, “Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?”

Obama replied that Ayers “is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George. The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.”

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