A desperate McCain/Palin campaign has launched the first of what will be an endless assault of negative attacks against Barack Obama that raise the name of Bill Ayers -- all in a pathetic attempt to smear Obama as "palling around with terrorists".
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is accusing Democrat Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" for his association with a former 1960s radical.
Palin was referring to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. The group took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol four decades ago.
In remarks to Republican donors in Englewood, Colorado, on Saturday, Palin said Obama seems to see the U.S. as being so imperfect that, in her words, "he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."
Obama served on a charity board with Ayers in Chicago and has denounced his past activities.
Obama's camp responds:
Gov. Palin's comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign's statement this morning that they would be launching Swiftboat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation's economic ills. In fact, the very newspaper story Gov. Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Sen. Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less "pals," and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was eight. What's clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy.
Mark Halperin received the complete remarks made by Palin. Apparently the McCain campaign is emailing the remarks to press outlets hoping to get widespread coverage for Palin's lies:
"There's been a lot of interest in what I read lately. Well, I was reading my copy of today's New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago. Turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man who, according to The New York Times was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.' These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes. This is not a man who sees America as you and I do - as the greatest force for good in the world. This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country. This, ladies and gentlemen, has nothing to do with the kind of change anyone can believe in - not my kids and not your kids. The only man who can take on Washington is John McCain."
Palin was keying off of a "NYT article she read yesterday: -- which is where she gets her news when she's not busily studying the backs of cereal boxes and milk cartons, or her cue cards for the debate donchaknowit...
The New York Times thoroughly debunked these smears just yesterday:
At a tumultuous meeting of anti-Vietnam War militants at the Chicago Coliseum in 1969, Bill Ayers helped found the radical Weathermen, launching a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and United States Capitol.
Bill Ayers is now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His wife, Bernardine Dohrn, teaches at Northwestern University.
Twenty-six years later, at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Mr. Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama's first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.[...]
A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called "somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8."
Here's an Obama-Ayers fact-check from the Obama website:
Fact Check on Obama and Ayers
April 17, 2008
REALITY: OBAMA WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD WHEN THE WEATHERMEN WERE ACTIVE
Obama Turned Eight In August 1969, The Days Of Rage Occurred In October 1969. Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961. He turned eight on August 4, 1969. The Days of Rage, in which William Ayers participated, occurred in October 1969. [Obama Birth Certificate, UPI, 10/21/81]
William Ayers Participated In The "Days Of Rage" In 1969. The AP reported, "In the autumn of 1969, the Weatherman, led by Bernardine Dohrn and Mark Rudd, converged on Chicago and planned a series of demonstrations to dramatize their beliefs. The riots, which came to be known as the "Days of Rage," caused thousands of dollars in damage in the downtown and Near North Side areas and resulted in injuries to several policemen. Rudd and Ms. Dohrn were named in federal riot indictments with ten others -- William Ayers, Kathy Boudin, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Michael Spiegel, Howard Machtinger, Terry Robins, Lawrence Weiss, Linda Sue Evans and Judy Clark. Another prominent activist, Cathy Wilkerson, was arrested on state charges of mob action and resisting a police officer. Some surrendered years ago. Two -- Ms. Dohrn and Ayers, son of the former chairman of Commonweath Edison Co. -- surfaced Wednesday. Charges against Ayers had been dropped in 1978 but Ms. Dohrn still faces charges of aggravated battery and jumping bail." [AP, 12/3/80]
REALITY: AYERS CONNECTION IS "PHONY," TENUOUS," "A STRETCH"
Chicago Sun Times: Obama's Connection To Ayers Is A "Phony Flap". The Chicago Sun-Times wrote in an editorial, "But Ayers, it is also true to say, has since followed in the footsteps of the great Chicago social worker Jane Addams, crusading for education and juvenile justice reform. His 1997 book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, has been praised for exposing how Cook County's juvenile justice system all but eliminates a child's chance for redemption. Is Barack Obama consorting with a radical? Hardly. Ayers is nothing more than an aging lefty with a foolish past who is doing good. And while, yes, Obama is friendly with Ayers, it appears to be only in the way of two community activists whose circles overlap. Obama's middle name is Hussein. That doesn't make him an Islamic terrorist. He stopped wearing a flag pin. That doesn't make him unpatriotic. And he's friendly with UIC Professor William Ayers. That doesn't make him a bomb thrower. Time to move on to Phony Flap 6,537,204." [Chicago Sun-Times, 3/3/08]
Washington Post: Obama-Ayers Link "Is A Tenuous One." The Washington Post reported in a fact check, "But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one." [Washington Post, 2/18/08]
Woods Fund President Harrington: "This Whole Connection Is A Stretch." The Washington Post reported in a fact check, "Whatever his past, Ayers is now a respected member of the Chicago intelligentsia, and still a member of the Woods Fund Board. The president of the Woods Fund, Deborah Harrington, said he had been selected for the board because of his solid academic credentials and 'passion for social justice.' 'This whole connection is a stretch,' Harrington told me. 'Barack was very well known in Chicago, and a highly respected legislator. It would be difficult to find people round here who never volunteered or contributed money to one of his campaigns.'" [Washington Post, 2/18/08]
Noam Scheiber Of TNR: "I Don't See Evidence Of Any Relationship" Between Obama And Ayers. Noam Scheiber of The New Republic wrote, "Ben says Ayers and Obama were, at best, casual friends. Even that seems to overstate things, though. I don't see evidence of any relationship. The only concrete connection we know of is the meeting, which was attended by a number of local liberals; their contemporaneous membership on the board of a local organization; and a $200-donation by Ayers to one of Obama's state senate campaigns. (Obama also once praised something Ayers had written about the juvenile justice system.) I'm not saying they couldn't have been casual friends; just that there isn't much evidence for that at this point." [The New Republic, 2/22/08]
Birdsell: Obama Links To Ayers Were "Pretty Slender Ties." The New York Sun reported, "'Those are pretty slender ties to a controversial figure,' the dean of Baruch College's School of Public Affairs, David Birdsell, said of Mr. Obama's links to Mr. Ayers." [New York Sun, 2/19/08]
RHETORIC: He was then asked about his association with William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground, a radical group from the 1960s and '70s. Ayers was quoted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as saying he did not regret setting bombs and that "we didn't do enough." [Washington Post, 4/17/08]
REALITY: AYERS COMMENTS WERE PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 11; THE INTERVIEW OCCURRED PRIOR TO PUBLICATION
On September 11, 2001, A Story About William Ayers' Memoir Was Published In The New York Times; The Interview Occurred Prior To Publication. "'I don't regret setting bombs,' Bill Ayers said. 'I feel we didn't do enough.' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago." [New York Times, 9/11/01]
AYERS IS A TENURED PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO AND WAS A "RESPECTED ADVISOR" TO MAYOR DALEY ON SCHOOL REFORM
Ayers Is A Professor Of Education At UIC. According to his website at UIC, "William Ayers is a school reform activist, Distinguished Professor of Education, and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he teaches courses in interpretive research, urban school change, and youth and the modern predicament. He is the founder of the Center for Youth and Society and founder and co-director of the Small Schools Workshop. A graduate of the Bank Street College of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University, he has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education. His interests focus on the political and cultural contexts of schooling as well as the meaning and ethical purposes of teachers, students, and families." [Ayers UIC Site, Ayers Personal Site, Accessed 5/31/07]
Ayers Advised Chicago Mayor Richard Daley On School Reform Issues. Bill "Ayers is now mainstream -- an educator with distinguished professor status. He has written three books about education and has advised Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley on the subject of school reform." [AP, 10/14/01]
Terkel: Ayers Is A "Sensitive And Gifted" Writer And Teacher. Studs Terkel wrote, "William Ayers is as sensitive and gifted a chronicler as he is a teacher." [Beacon]
CHARGES AGAINST AYERS WERE DROPPED AND HE SERVED NO TIME
1979: Charges Against Ayers Were Dropped Because "The Government's Case Was Based On Illegal Wiretaps." The New York Times reported, "William Ayers was a fugitive, too, for nine of those years, but the Federal charges against him, Miss Dohrn and other members of the revolutionary organization were dropped in 1979, when it was ruled that the Government's case was based on illegal wiretaps." [New York Times, 12/5/80]
Ayers "Served No Time." "William Ayers: Surrendered and pleaded guilty in 1980 to possession of explosives and served no time. Teaches early childhood development at the University of Illinois." [Boston Globe, 9/19/93]
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