POLITICS
11/08/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Trumpets Endorsement From Figure Of Foundation That Established Ayers Board

On Wednesday morning, John McCain's campaign released a list of 100 former ambassadors endorsing the GOP presidential nominee.

Second on the list, though her name is misspelled, is Leonore Annenberg, currently the president and chairman of the Annenberg Foundation and widow of ambassador and philanthropist Walter Annenberg. Ms. Annenberg was herself the "chief of protocol" at the State Department under President Reagan.

If the last name sounds familiar, it's because it also graces the name of the Chicago education board where Barack Obama and William Ayers sat in the room six times together.

In recent days, the McCain-Palin ticket (and particularly Palin) has faulted Obama for having served on that board with Ayers, who was a founding member of the radical 60's Weather Underground group when Obama was in grade school.

Since then, however, Ayers has been rehabilitated in Chicago society, carving out a niche in education circles. As a former Republican representative in Illinois told NPR on Monday, smearing Obama for his board association with Ayers is "nonsensical."

"It was never a concern by any of us in the Chicago school reform movement that he had led a fugitive life years earlier ... It's ridiculous," Republican Rep. Diana Nelson said. "There is no reason at all to smear Barack Obama with this association. It's nonsensical, and it just makes me crazy. It's so silly."

Separate calls to the Pennsylvania and California offices of the Annenberg Foundation were not immediately returned Wednesday morning.

UPDATE: An Annenberg official called the Huffington Post back on Wednesday afternoon. "You wanted to speak to Ms. Annenberg? She's very elderly; she doesn't do press interviews."