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John McCain's Ayers-Obama Lies

Just more of John McCain's pathetic attempts to distract from the real issues of the election:

"(Bill) Ayers and Obama ran a radical education foundation together."

John McCain on Thursday, October 9th, 2008 in a Web ad

Bullshit.

Ayers was a founding member of the militant Vietnam-era anti-war group the Weathermen. He was investigated for his role in a series of domestic bombings, but the charges were dropped in 1974 due to prosecutorial misconduct. He is now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and actively engaged in the city's civic life.

The McCain campaign said the "radical education foundation" to which they were referring is the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a charity endowed by publishing magnate Walter Annenberg that funded public-school programs in Chicago from 1995 to 2001.

We'll look at whether the foundation was radical. But first we have to grapple with whether Obama and Ayers ran it.

Obama served on the foundation's volunteer board from its inception in 1995 through its dissolution in 2001, and was chair for the first four years. So an argument can be made that he ran it, though an executive director handled day-to-day operations.

Ayers, who received his doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1987 and is now a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was active in getting the foundation up and running. He and two other activists led the effort to secure the grant from Annenberg, and he worked without pay in the early months of 1995, prior to the board's hiring of an executive director, to help the foundation get incorporated and formulate its bylaws, said Ken Rolling, who was the foundation's only executive director. Ayers went on to become a member of the "collaborative," an advisory group that advised the board of directors and the staff.

However, Ayers "was never on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge," and he "never made a decision programmatically or had a vote," Rolling said.

"He (Ayers) was at board meetings -- which, by the way, were open -- as a guest," Rolling said. "That is not anything near Bill Ayers and Barack Obama running the Chicago Annenberg Challenge."

As to McCain's claim that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was a "radical education foundation?"

It's just more John McCain - Sarah Palin Bullshit:

The McCain campaign cited several pieces of evidence for that allegation, including a 1995 invitation from the foundation for applications from schools "that want to make radical changes in the way teachers teach and students learn." The campaign appears to have confused two different definitions of the word "radical." Clearly the invitation referred to "a considerable departure from the usual or traditional," rather than "advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs."

The campaign also cited two projects the foundation funded, one having to do with a United Nations-themed Peace School and another that focused on African-American studies.

"That is radical in the eye of this campaign and we imagine in the eyes of most Americans," said Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for McCain. "It is a subjective thing, and there are going to be people in Berkeley and Chicago who think that is totally legitimate."

Teaching about the United Nations and African-American studies may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's hardly "radical" in the same way Ayers' Vietnam-era activities were. Moreover, most of the projects the foundation funded (more on that below) were not remotely controversial.

The McCain campaign also cited an opinion piece by conservative commentator Stanley Kurtz in the Sept. 23, 2008, Wall Street Journal as evidence of the foundation's radicalism. Kurtz wrote that Ayers was the "guiding spirit" of the foundation, and it "translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice."

But Ayers' views on education, though certainly reform-oriented and left-of-center, are not considered anywhere near as radical as his Vietnam-era views on war. And even if they were, there was a long list of individuals involved with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge whose positions provided them far more authority over its direction than Ayers' advisory role gave him.

Let's look at a few, starting with the funder. Annenberg was a lifelong Republican and former ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Richard Nixon. His widow, Leonore, has endorsed McCain. Kurtz might just as plausibly have accused Obama and the foundation of "translating Annenberg's conservatism into practice."

Among the other board members who served with Obama were: Stanley Ikenberry, former president of the University of Illinois; Arnold Weber, former president of Northwestern University and assistant secretary of labor in the Nixon administration; Scott Smith, then publisher of the Chicago Tribune; venture capitalist Edward Bottum; John McCarter, president of the Field Museum; Patricia Albjerg Graham, former dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Journalism, and a host of other mainstream folks.

"The whole idea of it being radical when it was this tie of blue-chip, white-collar, CEOs and civic leaders is just ridiculous," said the foundation's former development director, Marianne Philbin.

We've had eight long years of Republican lies from the White House, and John McCain and Sarah Palin are trying to lie their way into the White House to give us four more years of the same dishonesty.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (5)

Doubting Thomas:

So the Annenberg Challenge DID do good for the educational system in Chicago? Test scores DID show an improvement?

Grove Parc IS flourishing today? The Englewood Botanical Garden is something more than a busted-down gazebo amidst rubble and junk?

What HAS Obama put his hand and name to that actually improved the lives of those it affected?

Steve Crickmore:

One wonders about the hysterisa of middle conservative America. I know they are different societies but still in Canada, a FLQ deadly and convicted bomber Paul Rose far more lethal than a leading member of the Weatherman, grows up and becomes a political leader in Quebec.

In the United States, Ayres grows up, wins Chicago citizen of the year in 1997, becomes a distinguished Education professor at the Univeristy of Chicago..which probably has the most famous education (and realtively conservative) department in the United States, and not surprisingly rubs shoulders with Obama, a Constitutional Law professor..Here is what Ayers prosecutor thinks in a letter to the editor, 40 years later of these new attacks by the GOP, on Obama`s guilt by association.

Allen:

Any idea when the GOPists will start talking about McCains pals? You know, two ex-cons, one who was his father in law that helped launch his political career. The other was Nixon's gofer (G. Gordon Libby).

And the list of crooks are also becoming known about who Palin is in bed with. I guess it never ends with the GOP. All the people they hang around with are either excons, pedophiles, etc.

They are running so scared this election, and they can't handle it when someone swiftboats them. But it was ok for them to swiftboat Demo's in the last presidential election.

Jack Kennedy:

always funny to see liberals defend terrorists, radicals and America haters

keep it up, osama luvs you and obama needs you.

Bob:

William Ayers is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with whom Barack served on the board of an education-reform organization in the mid-1990's. According to the Associated Press, they are not close: "No evidence shows they were "pals" or even close when they worked on community boards years ago ..." (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D93KD6Q00&show_article=1)

Smear groups and now the McCain campaign are trying to connect Obama to acts Ayers committed 40 years ago - when Barack was just eight years old. Here's what the New York Times reported on the connection (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/us/politics/04ayers.html)

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."

Barack has publicly denounced Ayers' radical actions from the 1960's (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/02/obamas_weatherman_connection.html):

Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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