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Surrogate Questions Obama’s Fund-raising

John Murtagh, whose Manhattan home was fire-bombed by the Weather Underground when he was a child, spoke to reporters in a McCain campaign conference call this afternoon.

He continued to press questions about Sen. Barack Obama’s — as well as his wife, Michelle’s — ties to former Weatherman William Ayers.

Murtagh recounted the story of how his family was attacked because his father was a judge who presided over the trial of the “Panther 21″ in 1970. We linked to a written account of the bombing when the McCain campaign released a statement from Murtagh Wednesday.

Murtagh was accompanied on the call by Dewey Stokes, former president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed Sen. John McCain. In addition to pushing the Ayers-Obama link, Stokes seemed to question Obama’s fund-raising operation:

“Even the flow of funds, those funds concern me about where you can raise so much money in such a short period of time. There’s a tremendous amount of money being raised in this race. There has to be a flow chart to show where those funds are coming from, what influence that has, as well as your association of individuals and your friends.”

I’m not sure exactly what Stokes was referring to — the sheer magnitude of Obama’s fund-raising operation, or the questions raised by the Republican National Committee about a Newsweek report that some Obama contributors had exceeded federal limits with numerous small donations?

Generally, anyone speaking on behalf of the campaign on an official McCain campaign conference call is expressing McCain’s official position. Because Stokes was acting as a representative of the campaign, it is reasonable to assume that Stokes was representing the campaign’s views. If this is the case, this is the first time the McCain campaign has questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s fund-raising.

Repeated calls to the McCain campaign press office seeking comment on Stokes’ statement were not immediately returned.

We will update if and when the campaign responds.

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