GOP try using Oxford Don to Smear Obama.

That poor failing, flailing GOP, they're juggling a whack of fantastic Obama conspiracy theories but they can't actually lob any of 'em.  Here's a case where they very nearly put their money where their bile was.  From The Times (London) rld/us_and_americas/us_elections/article 5063279.ece

The Republicans have made a last-minute attempt to prevent Barack Obama's ascent to the White House by trying to recruit an Oxford academic to "prove" that his autobiography was ghostwritten by a former terrorist.

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Dr Peter Millican, a philosophy don at Hertford College, Oxford, has devised a computer software program that can detect when works are by the same author by comparing favourite words and phrases.

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He was contacted last weekend and offered $10,000 (£6,200) to assess alleged similarities between Obama's bestseller, Dreams from My Father, and Fugitive Days, a memoir by William Ayers.

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The offer to Millican to prove that Ayers wrote Obama's book was made by Robert Fox, a California businessman and brother-in-law of Chris Cannon, a Republican congressman from Utah. He hoped to corroborate a theory advanced by Jack Cashill, an American writer.

The unravelling, the "desperate attempt to save the republic", more crazy quotes and Palin vs McCain after the jump.

[Fox] believed that if "proof" of Ayers's involvement was provided by an Oxford academic it would be political dynamite.

Fox contacted Millican, who said: "He was entirely upfront about this. He offered me $10,000 and sent me electronic versions of the text from both books."

Millican took a preliminary look and found the charges "very implausible". A deal was agreed for more detailed research but when Millican said the results had to be made public, even if no link to Ayers was proved, interest waned.

Millican said: "I thought it was extremely unlikely that we would get a positive result. It is the sort of thing where people make claims after seeing a few crude similarities and go overboard on them." He said Fox gave him the impression that Cannon had got "cold feet about it being seen to be funded by the Republicans".

Update [2008-11-3 7:53:26 by January 20]: Fresh crazy from
Cannon says the allegation intrigues him but that he didn't set out to unjustly vilify the Democratic presidential candidate days before voters go to the polls.

"I think that it's clear, absolutely clear that Obama has minimized his relationship with a guy who is a terrorist and Marxist, and did I go out and try to prove that [he wrote Obama's autobiography] in the last week of the election?" Cannon asked Sunday. "Hey, if someone can come up with evidence, that would be interesting."

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Cannon, who lost the his re-election bid in the Republican primary earlier this year, charges that Millican, a philosophy professor at Oxford's Hertford College who devised a computer system to compare writing styles, is "miffed" and drawing inaccurate conclusions because he didn't receive the negotiated $10,000 fee to compare Obama's book and Ayers "Fugitive Days" memoirs.

Cannon's brother-in-law, California businessman Robert Fox, dismisses the idea that he was helping to orchestrate Advertisement

a "Republican plot" against Obama. He says he felt compelled to explore the allegation but that no one else was behind the effort."This is no last-minute smear," Fox said. "I'd say it's a desperate attempt to save the republic [from Obama]."

Millican said Fox called him Oct. 26 urging him to compare Obama's book to Ayers' autobiography. Fox wanted Millican to check into the theory pushed by writer Jack Cashill, that Ayers actually wrote Obama's first book "Dreams From My Father." Cashill bases part of his theory on a rudimentary analysis of word length and frequency of words using Millican's software Signature.

Even though Millican was never paid to do a full analysis by Fox or by Cannon, he decided to take a look, releasing his quick analysis of Cashill's claims online. "In short, I feel totally confident that it is false," he wrote on the site

Millican also looked at word length, showing that President Clinton's biography matched Ayers book more closely than Obama's did. "I do not think that any evidence has been provided that even gets close to proving, or rendering the least bit probable, the 'ghostwriting' hypothesis," Millican said via e-mail Sunday.

Cannon says he didn't help secure the money to pay Millican because doing so would have made the findings of any study partisan, making them less credible. "I'm off to the side watching this thinking, 'This is interesting,'" Cannon said. Fox said he dropped Cannon's name to add credence to his request but that the congressman wasn't involved to any big degree. He added that he wanted to find out if Ayers wrote Obama's book and if so, that he hoped it would change the election.

Neither Cannon, Fox or Cashill believe Obama wrote his own book, which was heralded for its prose. Obama served as the Harvard Law Review president but Cannon says he only wrote one, unsigned item. They also don't agree with Millican's conclusions either.

Cashill says there's no doubt Ayers was behind Obama's book."Ayers had a hand all over that book and I can prove it 20 times over," he said, citing his own research and that of four independent studies.

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But Cannon says he wasn't out to raise some controversy before the election, and that asking the question about a ghostwriter for Obama's book isn't much of a story. He said Obama will probably win Tuesday's election.

"I don't see anything wrong with anything here," Cannon said.

And, my friends, for your poll-driven pleasure I submit the Palin vs McCain debate:

Tags: ayers, Barack Obama, Chris Cannon, smears (all tags)


1 Comment


Saw this ridiculous non-story and could hear the last bit of nail being broken on the very bottom of that deep deep barrel.

Thanks for the wonderful video though. Love it.

by brit 2008-11-03 05:13AM | 0 recs


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