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.
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.
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.
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.
[...] 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. [...] He said Fox gave him the impression that Cannon had got "cold feet about it being seen to be funded by the Republicans".
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