What McCain didn't mention is that he has his own Bill Ayers—in the form of G. Gordon Liddy. Now a conservative radio talk-show host, Liddy spent more than 4 years in prison for his role in the 1972 Watergate burglary. That was just one element of what Liddy did, and proposed to do, in a secret White House effort to subvert the Constitution. Far from repudiating him, McCain has embraced him.
It's important to note that in addition to Liddy being a financial supporter of McCain, he also is (gasp) a friend of McCain's:
Last November, McCain went on his radio show. Liddy greeted him as "an old friend," and McCain sounded like one. "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family," he gushed. "It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."
There's another 2008 political candidate, running for the Senate seat in Minnesota, in addition to John McCain who calls G. Gordon Liddy a friend. This inconvenient truth has been levelled to Stuart Smiley, though in more friendly and less serious terms than the Tribune levelled at McCain:
O: You're friends with [conservative California ex-congressman] Bob Dornan and G. Gordon Liddy. Does your opposition to everything they stand for as human beings affect your friendship?
AF: A little. [Laughs.]
I met Al Franken a while back and he seemed like a nice guy. I was mostly struck by the fact that I had met someone shorter than I am.
To be clear however, I do not think that the Ayers aquaintance (I'm not sure it can even be called a friendship from what I have read and heard about it) is very significant at all. We all meet and know people, and some of my best friends have opinions that I revile. I'm also sure I have known people that had terrible pasts. The Reverend Wright relationship seems much more significant to me, as it reveals that Barack Obama had his children baptized by, was married by, stayed in the church for twenty years of and named a book title after a phrase orignated by a neo-segregationist, racist, anti-American demagogue. That says alot about Obama.