Rutenberg Still Mad at Obama-Bill Ayers Ad

Reporter Jim Rutenberg is again more interested in the nefarious funding behind an ad linking Obama and homegrown terrorist William Ayers, than he is in the link itself. Plus more of the "discredited" Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

A conservative group is running an ad linking Barack Obama to unrepentant homegrown terrorist William Ayers, and reporter Jim Rutenberg is disturbed...about the ad. His Saturday filing, "A Billionaire Finances Ads Hitting Obama," tracks closely with his Friday filing, "Group Plans Ad Criticizing Obama's Ties to Ex-Radical," with the new information that billionaire Harold Simmons is one of the big funders of the American Issues Project, the group behind the anti-Obama ad. Ayers hosted Obama at his home in 1995 when Obama was running for state office, and they served together on the board of a charitable organization.

In both stories, Rutenberg focuses mainly on what he seems to think are the sleazy machinations ofthe American Issues Projectand its funding, devoting the first seven paragraphs to who belongs to AIP and whether or not they have dubious links to the McCain camp. In contrast, Rutenberg breezed by Ayers' bombing of government buildings in the '70s in four brisk sentences.

For good measure, Rutenberg says the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were "discredited."

The conservative group running advertisements that highlight Senator Barack Obama's association with the 1960s radical William Ayers is being financed by a Texas billionaire who has raised money for Senator John McCain and who also helped finance the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Senator John Kerry in 2004.

The billionaire, Harold Simmons, donated nearly $2.9 million on Aug. 12 to the American Issues Project, the group running the advertisements, papers it has filed with the Federal Election Commission show.

In 2004, Mr. Simmons donated $2 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose advertisements against Mr. Kerry included one that, with allegations since discredited, impugned his military service as a Swift boat captain during the Vietnam War.

But the only part of the whole story that has truly been discredited is Kerry's long-standing claim that he spent the Christmas of 1968 in Cambodia. See this Times Watch report for a full account of the Times' animus toward the Swift Vets' allegations against John Kerry.