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And  the  notion  that  somehow  as  a  consequence  of  me  knowing  somebody  who  engaged
in detestable acts 40 years a...
learning.

The week after the 2008 presidential election, Ayers himself acknowledged in an interview
that he hadn't known ...
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Ayers

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Transcript of "Ayers"

  1. 1. Go E­mail this Carolina One Misses You Home ­­> Politics ­­> Barack Obama ­­> Putting on Ayers carolinaonerealestate.… Visit Charleston's Premier Home Search Site. Free MLS Search Tools! Putting on Ayers   • Home   • Search   • Send Comments   • What's New   • Hottest 25        Legends   • Odd News   • Glossary   • FAQ   • Autos   • Business   • Cokelore   • College   • Computers   • Crime   • Critter Country   • Disney   • Embarrassments   • Food   • Glurge Gallery   • History   • Holidays   • Horrors   • Humor   • Inboxer Rebellion   • Language   • Legal   • Lost Legends   • Love   • Luck   • Media Matters   • Medical   • Military   • Movies   • Music   • Old Wives' Tales   • Photo Gallery   • Politics   • Pregnancy   • Quotes   • Racial Rumors   • Radio & TV   • Religion   • Risqué Business   • Science   • September 11   • Sports   • Titanic   • Toxin du jour   • Travel   • Weddings   • Message Archive   Advanced search Claim: Barack Obama had an acquaintanceship with Bill Ayers, a former domestic terrorist. Status: Partly true. Origins: William (Bill) Ayers was one of the founders of the Weather Underground, a radical leftist organization formed in 1969 by a group of University of Chicago students who split with the campus‐run Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organization because they disagreed with the SDS's peaceful protest tactics against the Vietnam War. From 1970 until 1974, the Weather Underground carried out violent actions against the government, including bombings at NYPD headquarters, the U.S. Capitol building, the Pentagon and a San Francisco police station, while Ayers (and his wife, fellow Weather Underground member Bernardine Dohrn) went into hiding to evade the FBI. Ayers and his wife participated in some of the early bombings, but criminal charges against them were dropped in 1974 due to illegal evidence‐gathering activities by authorities, and in 1980 the couple turned themselves in. Ayers and Dohrn emerged from hiding to become university professors in Chicago; Ayers specialized in education reform and served as an advisor to Chicago mayor Richard Daley, work through which Ayers became acquainted with Barack Obama in 1995. Ayers hosted a meet‐the‐candidate gathering at his home as Barack Obama prepared to run for his initial election to the Illinois state senate (although Ayers later said he didn't even know Obama at the time), the two worked with the same charity and social service organizations in Chicago (particularly the Chicago Annenberg Challenge), and Ayers contributed $200 to Obama's re‐election campaign for the Illinois state senate in 2001. Opponents have charged that Obama has been "palling around with terrorists" and "lied" about his connection with Ayers when he described Ayers as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" in response to a question about their relationship posed to him during an April 2008 Democratic debate: Q:  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?  A:  This  is  a  guy  who  lives  in  my  neighborhood,  who's  a  professor  of  English  [sic]  in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis.  10 Night Eastern Mediterranean (Rome ... $649 Select 7 Night Western Mediterranean (Barcel... $519 Select 7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orlea... $429 Select
  2. 2. 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. Although Obama's dismissing Ayers as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" could fairly be considered a deliberate attempt to minimize or play down a more substantial acquaintanceship between the two men, the fact remains that they aren't (and never were) particularly close. Obama has denounced Ayers' violent radical activities (which took place when Obama was just a child), Ayers didn't advise Obama on policy issues, the two were not close friends, and they have not remained in regular contact over the last several years: 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."  "The suggestion that Ayers was a political adviser to Obama or someone who shaped his political views is patently false," said Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman. Mr. LaBolt said the  men  first  met  in  1995  through  the  education  project,  the  Chicago  Annenberg Challenge,  and  have  encountered  each  other  occasionally  in  public  life  or  in  the neighborhood.  He  said  they  have  not  spoken  by  phone  or  exchanged  e­mail  messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they bumped into each other on the street in Hyde Park. (The above‐cited article was the one referenced by Republican vice‐presidential candidate Sarah Palin when she began stating on the campaign trail that Democratic candidate Barack Obama had been "palling around with terrorists," even though the article said just the opposite: that Obama and Ayers "do not appear to have been close.") In August 2008, Stanley Kurtz suggested there was a "cover‐up" in the making because he could not access a "large cache of documents housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)" which contained "the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge" and would "provide significant insight into a web of ties linking Obama to various radical organizations." Documents including all the records of the Annenberg Foundation were in fact released shortly afterwards; the Chicago Tribune examined them and found, as reported by UPI: Reporters reviewing records in Chicago have so far found nothing startling in documents linking Sen. Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers.  The  UIC  records  show  that  Obama  and  Ayers  attended  board  meetings,  retreats  and  at least  one  news  conference  together  as  the  education  program  got  under  way.  The  two continued  to  attend  meetings  together  during  the  1995­2001  operation  of  the  program, records show. Kurtz also claimed that "Obama assumed the Annenberg board chairmanship only months before his first run for office, and almost certainly received the job at the behest of Bill Ayers." This claim was inaccurate, as FactCheck.org noted: To  the  contrary,  Ayers  was  not  involved  in  the  choice,  according  to  Deborah  Leff,  then president  of  the  Joyce  Foundation.  She  told  the  Times,  and  confirmed  to  FactCheck.org, that  she  recommended  Obama  for  the  position  to  Patricia  Graham  of  the  Spencer Foundation.  Graham  told  us  that  she  asked  Obama  if  he'd  become  chairman;  he accepted, provided Graham would be vice­chair.  The bipartisan board of directors, which did not include Ayers, elected Obama chairman, and  he  served  in  that  capacity  from  1995  to  1999,  awarding  grants  for  projects  and raising  matching  funds.  Ayers  headed  up  a  separate  arm  of  the  group,  working  with grant  recipients.  According  to  another  board  member,  Ayers  "was  not  significantly involved with the challenge after Obama was appointed." Kurtz subsequently claimed in a Wall Street Journal article that Obama and Ayers were partners in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), an effort that "poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists." But as Education Week noted of the CAC, that organization was not "radical" but rather "reflected mainstream thinking among education reformers": The Chicago Annenberg Challenge, chaired from 1995 to 1999 by Barack Obama, is being portrayed by some critics of the Democratic presidential nominee as an attempt to push radicalism on schools.  In  fact,  the  project  undertaken  in  Chicago  as  part  of  a  high­profile  national  initiative reflected  mainstream  thinking  among  education  reformers.  The  Annenberg  Foundation's $49.2  million  grant  in  the  city  focused  on  three  priorities:  encouraging  collaboration among  teachers  and  better  professional  development;  reducing  the  isolation  between schools and between schools and their communities; and reducing school size to improve
  3. 3. learning. The week after the 2008 presidential election, Ayers himself acknowledged in an interview that he hadn't known Barack Obama all that well: Vietnam­era  radical  Bill  Ayers  said  he  doesn't  know  President­elect  Barack  Obama  any better than "thousands of other Chicagoans" and the two never talked about Ayers' anti­ war  activities.  In  a  television  interview  on  ABC's  "Good  Morning  America,"  the  college professor disputed the contention that in the new afterword of a paperback edition of his 2001 memoir "Fugitive Days" he describes himself and Obama as "family friends."  "I'm describing there how the blogosphere characterized the relationship," Ayers said. "I would really say that we knew each other in a professional way, again on the same level as say thousands of other people."  In fact, Ayers said he didn't even know Obama when he hosted a coffee early in Obama's political  career  at  Ayers'  home  in  the  Chicago  neighborhood  where  the  two  live.  Ayers added  that  he  agreed  to  have  the  meet­the­candidate  event  after  a  state  senator  asked him to.  "I think he was probably in 20 homes that day as far as I know," he said. "But that was the first time I really met him."  Ayers  and  Obama  also  served  together  on  a  Chicago  school  reform  board  and  a foundation  board,  but  their  discussions  were  limited  to  the  issues  before  those  boards. "The  truth  is  we  came  together  in  Chicago  in  a  civic  community  around  issues  of  school improvement,  around  issues  of  fighting  for  the  rights  of  poor  neighborhoods  to  have jobs, housing and so forth," Ayers said. And he elaborated on those issues in a December 2008 newspaper piece: The dishonesty of the narrative about Mr. Obama during the campaign went a step further with its assumption that if you can place two people in the same room  at  the  same  time,  or  if  you  can  show  that  they  held  a  conversation, shared  a  cup  of  coffee,  took  the  bus  downtown  together  or  had  any  of  a thousand  other  associations,  then  you  have  demonstrated  that  they  share ideas,  policies,  outlook,  influences  and,  especially,  responsibility  for  each other’s behavior. There is a long and sad history of guilt by association in our political culture, and at crucial times we’ve been unable to rise above it.  President­elect  Obama  and  I  sat  on  a  board  together;  we  lived  in  the  same diverse  and  yet  close­knit  community;  we  sometimes  passed  in  the bookstore. We didn't pal around, and I had nothing to do with his positions. Last updated:   6 December 2008  Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995­2013 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.  This material may not be reproduced without permission.  snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.   Sources: Aarons, Dakarai I. "Chicago Annenberg Challenge in Spotlight." Education Week. 9 October 2008. Ayers, William. "The Real Bill Ayers." The New York Times. 6 December 2008 (p. A19). Babwin, Don. "Ex‐Radical Ayers Distances Himself from Obama." Associated Press. 14 November 2008. Cohen, Jodi S. and Ray Gibson. "Rush on to Get Files Linking Obama to 1960s Radical." Chicago Tribune. 27 August 2008. Kurtz, Stanley. "Chicago Annenberg Challenge Shutdown? A Cover‐Up in the Making?" National Review Online. 18 August 2008. Kurtz, Stanley. "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism on Schools." The Wall Street Journal. 23 September 2008. Shane, Scott. "Obama and '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths." The New York Times. 3 October 2008. Suddath, Claire. "The Weather Underground." Time. 7 October 2008. Wills, Christopher. "Fact Check: Camps Highlight Foes' Old Associates." Associated Press. 12 October 2008. United Press International. "No 'Smoking Gun' in Obama Relationship." Associated Press. 27 August 2008.

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