POLITICS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ayers Obama Book Conspiracy Resurfaces; Bill Ayers Responds

Way back in the fall of 2008, when some people were terribly concerned that then-senator Barack Obama had met a former terrorist named Bill Ayers, a few conservatives came up with a truly mindboggling conspiracy theory: That Ayers had written Barack Obama's acclaimed memoir, "Dreams Of My Father". Of course, there wasn't any proof, so the rumor died and was forgotten. But every so often, it returns from the grave.

This time around the impetus is a post from conservative blogger Anne Leary, who met Ayers in an airport this week (and has the picture to prove it!) She wrote:

Then, unprompted he said -- I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said -- Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say -- and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again -- I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said -- I wrote it. I said -- why would I believe you, you're a liar.

He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.

In case there's any doubt that Ayers was joking, here's a story in which it is even clearer that he was making fun of his interlocutor.

And asked to respond, Ayers e-mailed the Daily Beast: "You've all lost your minds."

Some conservatives were appropriately skeptical. But Jonah Goldberg, at least initially, was more credulous (he later reassessed), as were many others.

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