Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that Republican rival Sarah Palin is injecting fear and loathing into their campaign with her criticism that Barack Obama is friends with a terrorist. He called the effort “mildly dangerous.”
Palin began last weekend telling supporters that Obama is close to ’60s-era radical William Ayers, a founder of the violent group the Weather Underground. After first claiming that Obama had been “palling around with terrorists,” she changed the thrust of the attack to say that Obama’s ties to Ayers showed bad judgment.
Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on community boards. The Illinois senator, who was a young child when the Weathermen were planting bombs in protest of the Vietnam War, has denounced Ayers’ radical views and actions. His campaign has said that Obama didn’t know of Ayers’ past when they first met.
In Florida on Monday, Palin’s remarks about Obama and Ayers elicited waves of booing from supporters. One person at a rally shouted “Kill him!” according to a Washington Post report. A sheriff who introduced Palin at a rally referred to the Democratic candidate as “Barack Hussein Obama.”
Biden, appearing Wednesday on CBS’ “The Early Show,” called Palin’s remarks about Obama and Ayers “over the top.”
“You know, the idea here that somehow these guys are once again injecting fear and loathing into this campaign is … I think it’s mildly dangerous. I mean, here you have out there these kinds of, you know, incitements out there — guy introducing Barack using his middle name as if it’s some epitaph or something,” Biden said, apparently confusing the words “epitaph” and “epithet.”
“It’s just malarkey, flat malarkey,” Biden said of the Ayers criticism. “The guy Barack Obama is going to turn and ask opinion to is me, not that guy.”
Biden returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday after spending the last few days mourning the death of his mother-in-law.