Barack Obama is not telling the truth about his relationship with Bill Ayers. There is more to this story than is already known, but Obama and his campaign are working hard to obfuscate and cover up the matter. Why? Because Barack Obama has had a close personal and business relationship with Bill Ayers that predates his run for the Illinois State Senate, and it is incumbent on the Senator from Illinois to come clean.
In fact, Barack worked for Bill Ayers for at least eight years and the press, so far, has not investigated this matter.
I predicted on this blog four months ago that Barack’s relationship with an unrepentant terrorist would become a heated issue in the presidential contest. Although Obama insists that he barely knows Ayers, this is not true. Democrats, beware — the problems of Obama’s associations with Ayers will create serious problems in the fall campaign if he is the candidate. Republicans take heart — if Barack is the nominee, your only problem will be deciding whether or focus your campaign attack ads on Obama’s questionable ties to the corrupt Tony Rezko, the racist Jeremiah Wright, the terrorist group Hamas, or the unrepentant bomber, William Ayers.
Can it be true that Obama is hiding the reality of the relationship? I will let you, the reader, decide for yourself.
In the ABC News debate in Philadelphia on April 16, Obama was asked about Ayers for the first time in a prominent public forum. It’s important to read the entire exchange in order to see that George Stephanopoulos’s question was precise in seeking information and that Obama’s answer was dismissive of the query and certain in refuting any close tie.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Senator, if you get the nomination, you’ll have to beat back these distractions.
And I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, general theme of patriotism, in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers. He was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that.
And, in fact, on 9/11, he was quoted in the New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” An early organizing meeting for your State Senate campaign was held at his house and your campaign has said you are “friendly.”
Can you explain that relationship for the voters and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?
OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I’m talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.
And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense, George….
So this kind of game in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, that somehow their ideas could be attributed to me, I think the American people are smarter than that. They’re not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn’t.
Nice try, Barack. He conveniently forgot to mention what was already on the blogs — that Ayers held the first fundraiser at his home to help launch Obama’s state senate campaign in 1995; and that the two men have sat on the board of a private foundation in Chicago, the Woods Fund, for years, giving grants to, among others, a radical Palestinian activist named Rashid Khalidi.
But William Ayers was not just some guy who “lives in Barack’s neighborhood.” He is a well-known and controversial Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. And Obama wants you to believe that he knew nothing of Ayers views or politics even though Barack participated in public forums with him there? I don’t think so.
But that is not all. Barack also was essentially an employee of Bill Ayers for eight years.
In 1995, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created to raise funds to help reform the Chicago public schools. One of the architects of the Challenge was none other than Professor Bill Ayers. Ayers co-wrote the initial grant proposal and proudly lists himself on his own website as the co-founder of the Challenge.
And who did William Ayers, co-creator of the Challenge, help select as the new director of the board for this program? Barack Obama. Barack Obama was the first Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. This appointment came at a crucial time in Barack’s life. He was on the verge of challenging longtime state Senator Alice Palmer for her job. When Barack decided to run, it is no surprise that he turned to William Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn for help in organizing the campaign and in hosting his first fundraiser in the district.
Obama served on the board for eight years until the Challenge ended in 2003. Bill Ayers was intimately involved in the Challenge over this same time period.
Now, let’s revisit Obama’s claim about Ayers in the ABC debate:
“Not someone I’ve accepted endorsement of, it’s not someone I exchange ideas with on a regular basis…”
That is a lie. Both parts of Obama’s statement are obviously false. Obama not only evaded Stephanopoulos’s question, he was deliberately deceptive and misleading.
Ayers helped select Obama to exercise a leadership role on the Annenberg Challenge. And Obama wants us to believe they never talked? Never exchanged ideas? Never identified issues to raise and policies to pursue? What is Barack hiding?
Senator Obama, how did you become acquainted with William Ayers? When and how did you and Bill meet?
Maybe Barack met Bill Ayers through his wife, Michelle Obama? That is one possibility. Michelle started working at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago in in the summer of 1988 (and stayed there until 1991). Who else worked there? None other than Bill Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn, who worked at Sidley from 1984 through 1988. Indeed, she is widely thought in Chicago to have gotten this position due to the influence of her father-in-law, Thomas Ayers, former CEO of Commonwealth Edison, who was one of the law firm’s biggest clients.
In the aftermath of the ABC debate, no one in the mainstream media has dared probe into this relationship. The most informative article to appear since then has been written by Steve Diamond, law professor on the faculty of Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, California, on his blog, on April 22. None of what he reports has appeared in any major media outlet.
Here are key excerpts from Diamond’s report:
So, who “sent” Obama? The key I think is his ties…to the family of (in)famous former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers – not just Bill Ayers, but Bill’s father Tom Ayers and his brother John as well. Obama was a community organizer from about 1985 to 1988, when he left for Harvard Law School. . . .
Active in the local control-from-below side of this effort was Bill Ayers who had returned to Chicago in 1987 as a professor of education at the University of Illinois’ Chicago Circle campus, after surfacing from the underground, as well as Barack Obama’s Developing Communities Project (DCP). . . .
Thus, Bill Ayers was a vigorous advocate of local control along with a related concept called “small schools,” most likely because he believes it gives him the potential to build a political base from which to operate. He has discussed these ideas in speeches and writings on his blog. As he said in a speech he gave in front of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in late 2006: “Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!” . . . .
In the fall of 1988, however, Obama left the city to go off to law school. My best guess, though, is that it was in that 86-88 time frame that Obama likely met up with the Ayers family. I will explain why I believe that in a minute. Interestingly, after his first year in law school Obama returned in the summer of 1989 to work as a summer associate at the prestigious Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin. This in and of itself is a bit unusual. Very few top-tier law students work for big law firms during their first summer. The big law firms discourage it because if you work for them in the first summer you are likely to work for a second firm the following year and then the firms have to compete to get you.
So, why or how did Obama — at that point not yet the prominent first black president of the Harvard Law Review (that would happen the following year) — end up at Sidley?
Coincidentally, or not, Sidley had been long time outside counsel to Commonwealth Edison. The senior Sidley partner who was their key outside counsel, Howard Trienens, was a member of the board of trustees of Northwestern alongside Tom Ayers (as well as Sidley partner Newton Minow). Coincidentally, or not, Bernardine Dohrn worked at Sidley also, hired there in the late 1980s, many contend, through the intervention of Tom Ayers, even though she is not a member of the bar (as far as I can tell) because of her past jail time for Weather Underground activities. . . .
It is highly unlikely that a 30-something second-year lawyer would have been plucked from relative obscurity out of a left wing law firm to head up something as visible and important in Chicago as the Annenberg Challenge by Bill Ayers — unless Ayers had not already known Obama very well. Obama likely proved himself to Ayers in the battle for local school control when at the DCP in the 80s.
One guess as to why Obama does not play up his educational experience more thoroughly now -– it certainly could be of use to him one would think in beefing up his “I have the experience to be President” argument -– is that it would lead to a renewed discussion of the Bill Ayers connection, which is clearly toxic for Obama. This likely explains why Obama tried a kind of head fake when asked about Ayers in the recent TV debate. Obama said Ayers was a “professor of english.” Yet, Obama chaired the Annenberg Challenge for three years and served on its board for another three years, working closely with Ayers on grants to Chicago schools. And he did not know that Ayers was a professor of education? That strains credulity.
One final curiosity: Here’s yet another bizarre incident involving Ayers, reported in The New Yorker in 2001. Did Obama happen to be at this neighborhood event? We imagine he wouldn’t recall.
Dohrn teaches law at Northwestern University and is, at fifty-nine, still notably glamorous. Ayers, who is fifty-six, teaches education at the University of Illinois at Chicago; his business card reads “Distinguished Professor, University Scholar, Educator, Activist, Peacemaker, Flash-of-Lightning.” The night I got to Chicago, the couple was giving a party, timed to coincide with the booksellers’ convention, which was being held downtown… Ayers’s memoir, titled “Fugitive Days,” is coming out this fall, and he was handing his guests promotional stick-on tattoos of the Weatherman symbol–a three-colored rainbow crossed by a lightning bolt. He showed me a larger version of the symbol tattooed on his upper back.
It is of vital importance to clarify Barack’s relationship with Ayers. This is not a casual relationship. It is not a recent relationship. And, as reported in an earlier piece on this blog, Ayers has not changed his tune of political radicalism. I don’t challenge his right to believe such things, but Ayers certainly does not reflect the views of most Americans, both Democrats and Republicans. Why is Barack lying about this relationship? That is the question voters deserve to have asked and answered.