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Obama pal, radical Ayers wins 'scholar' status Minn State

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

William Ayers, the co-founder of the violent 1960s-era Weather Underground and who later befriended Barack Obama at the University of Chicago, has been named a "visiting scholar" at Minnesota State University, continuing his transformation from radical activist to establishment leader.

Once the head of a group linked to bombings of buildings tied to the Vietnam war, including the Pentagon and Capitol, he has been invited to play a role in the school's efforts to include social justice in class courses.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Ayers-Obama tie was a speed bump to the former community activists' rise to the presidency, a controversy shadowed by the bigger concerns about the former Illinois senator's relationship with fiery preacher Jeremiah Wright. Both relationships fueled concerns that Obama is a closet radical.

During the campaign, the Obama team cut ties to both.

Ayers, 68, is currently an expert on education reform. He is schedule to speak Tuesday night at the Moorhead campus, according to the Fargo-Moorhead news website Inforum.

The school is making him the "2013 College of Education and Human Services visiting scholar."