Chris Cillizza wonders whether John McCain may have decided to drop the William Ayers topic when it didn’t come up in last night’s debate.  The McCain campaign answered today by releasing a statement from John Murtaugh regarding his close brush with the Weather Underground terrorists that Ayers helped lead.  It doesn’t look like the McCain campaign has any intention of dropping Ayers at all:

Today, John M. Murtagh made the following statement on Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers:

“When I was 9 years-old the Weather Underground, the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama’s friend William Ayers, firebombed my house. Barack Obama has dismissed concerns about his relationship with Ayers by noting that he was only a child when Ayers was planting bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. But Ayers has never apologized for his crimes, he has reveled in them, expressing regret only for the fact that he didn’t do more.

“While Barack Obama once downplayed his relationship with Ayers, today his campaign took that deceit one step further. Barack Obama now denies he was even aware of his friend’s violent past when, in 1995, Ayers hosted a party launching Obama’s political career. Given Ayers’ celebrity status among the left, it’s difficult to believe. The question remains: what did Obama know, and when did he know it? When did Obama learn the truth about his friend? Barack Obama helped Ayers promote his book in 1997, served on charitable boards with him through 2002, and regularly exchanged emails and phone calls with him through 2005. At what point did Barack Obama discover that his friend was an unrepentant terrorist? And if he is so repulsed by the acts of terror committed by William Ayers, why did the relationship continue? Any honest accounting by Barack Obama will necessarily cast further doubt on his judgment and his fitness to serve as commander in chief.

“Barack Obama may have been a child when William Ayers was plotting attacks against U.S. targets — but I was one of those targets. Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family.”

I covered Murtaugh’s story in two posts during the primaries, but Murtaugh tells it much better himself.  Here are both parts of Greta van Susteren’s interview with Murtaugh from the spring:

As I wrote at the time, Murtaugh himself makes the point that Eric Rudolph rightly rots in prison for his bombing attacks on abortion clinics and the Atlanta Olympics. Ayers and Dohrn, on the other hand, have entered the highest circles of Chicago political elite, Ayers has tenure at a state university, and both have entree to a man running for President, who would command the forces that Ayers and Dohrn bombed. (Dohrn also has a track record as an accessory to armed robbery and murder of police officers.) Needless to say, this does not please or amuse Murtaugh in the slightest, and neither should it please or amuse the rest of us.

Just in case anyone wonders, like Van Susteren does, whether Ayers and Dohrn have mellowed, revisit this post and the speeches both gave last November. Dohrn still wants an “overthrow” of capitalism, and Ayers still thinks that Red China is on the right track while railing against the “unimaginable authoritarianism” of the US over the last 40 years. And Barack Obama considers this “mainstream”.

That says something about both judgment and character, and explains why Team Obama has fought so hard to keep McCain from talking about Ayers.