"Mr. Ayres is somebody who lives in Chicago," Obama told Roland Martin on the radio show. "And he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was eight years old. I served on a board with him. And so now they are trying to use this as guilt by association."Ayers, a Chicago education professor, in 1969 cofounded a radical group that bombed buildings, including the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
Obama went on to say while he feels "the American people deserve better" and the candidates should instead be discussing the economy, he is not afraid to enter into a character debate with (Republican presidential candidate John) McCain.
Obama and McCain will take part tonight in their second presidential debate, this one in a town hall format featuring questions from audience members and Internet participants.