They mean terrorists — we’re talking about the Weathermen here, and Obama’s host that day is on record as wishing he’d set more bombs back when — but Politico’s in for a round of especially obnoxious shrieking from the left for even running this so they probably figured they’d throw them a bone by using “radicals” in the headline instead. Here we find ourselves returned to the argument over Ron Paul accepting money from Nazis: How much knowing contact with scumbags is too much knowing contact with scumbags? The New York Sun’s already been over most of this ground, including the $200 contribution from Ayres to Obama’s campaign and the obligatory denunciation of the Weathermen by Team Barry, but the ’95 visit is a new detail. Proof that Obama’s a bomb-tossing commie? Er, no. Proof that Obama’s not above schmoozing bomb-tossing commies — excuse me, reformed bomb-tossing commies — to advance his political career? Evidently.

It’s too old and the contact is too slight, I think, to do the Messiah any damage (although the GOP will certainly try), but here’s an intellectual exercise for you in the same vein as my McVeigh analogy in the Che flag post. As you read, substitute McCain and, say, Eric Rudolph for Obama and Ayres and see if you think you’ve got a story the media might take some interest in. If you must, imagine that Rudolph’s been reformed when all the key incidents occur.

In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious – and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement…

Dr. Young and another guest, Maria Warren described [the event] similarly: As an introduction to Hyde Park liberals of the handpicked successor to Palmer, a well-regarded figure on the left.

“When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the living room of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn,” Warren, wrote on her blog in 2005. “They were launching him–introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.”

Contacted by e-mail, Warren declined to describe the meeting further and later blogged of her concern that Republicans would use accounts of the event for “left-baiting.”.

“Left-baiting” meaning “complaining about the would-be president gladhanding terrorists.” Although he has said he’d meet personally with Ahmadinejad, without preconditions, once in office, no? So, give him points for consistency.

Incidentally, Young’s now concerned that Obama is too conservative. Exit question: Could Obama not have known who Ayres was?