11/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Smearing Obama With Ayers "Nonsensical," Former Illinois GOP Rep. Says

Embedded within a comprehensive Monday report from NPR on Barack Obama's history with William Ayers, there is an interesting bit of straight talk from a former Republican who served in the state legislature.

Discussing Ayers' rehabilitation as a member in good standing of the education policy-wonk community, former state Republican Rep. Diana Nelson said: "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. 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."

You can read the full NPR report here. The relevant segment has also been posted to YouTube:

NPR also quotes Nelson as saying that when Republicans "snort" at Ayers in Illinois, it's because "he comes from a wealthy family, they know he became a radical activist early in his life ... but beyond just snorting, I don't think anyone gives it another thought."