In February, 2008, reports began circulating about Obama's connection with Ayers, a former member of the radical 1960's group the Weather Underground. The two had served together for three years on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty foundation founded in 1941, and had appeared on various panels. In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced Obama as her chosen successor at a meeting she held at Ayer's house. Ayers, who lived in the same Chicago neighborhood Obama did, had donated $200 to Obama's 2001 state senate campaign.  A Bloomberg L.P. reporter quoted Hillary Clinton who stated that the Republican Party might use Obama's association with Ayers to discredit Obama if he were chosen as the nominee of the Democratic Party.
At the Democratic Party primary debate in Philadelphia on April 16, 2008, (full transcript), moderator George Stephanopoulos questioned Obama on the matter, leading to an exchange between Obama and Clinton. Obama then referred to President Bill Clinton's pardoning of two Weather Underground convicts. (The convicts were Linda Sue Evans and Susan Rosenberg, although Obama did not refer to them by name.) Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago issued a statement in support of Bill Ayers on April 17, as did the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
- ↑ Michael Dobbs, Obama's 'Weatherman' ConnectionThe Fact Checker, The Washington Post
- ↑ Ben Smith, Obama once visited '60s radicals Politico.com, February 22, 2008
- ↑ Fact check: Obama and former radical Associated Press, April 17, 2008
- ↑ Timothy J. Burger, [Obama's Ties Might Fuel `Republican Attack Machine' Bloomberg.com, February 15, 2008
- ↑ Fact Check on Clinton Attacks on Obama and Ayers, factcheck.barackobama.com, April 17, 2008
- ↑ Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny, Clinton uses sharp attacks in tense debate: Obama quizzed on values, patriotism, association with onetime radicals The New York Times, April 17,2008
- ↑ An Almost Oppo Free Zone, The Hotline: On Call, National Journal Group, April 16, 2008
- ↑ Mike Dorning and Rick Pearson, Daley: Don't tar Obama for Ayers The Chicago Tribune, April 17, 2008
- ↑ Chicago Tribune editorial board, Guilt by association The Chicago Tribune, April 17, 2008