JERUSALEM – In an exclusive interview that aired on Fox News, Sen. Barack Obama seemed to minimize his relationship with William C. Ayers, an unrepentant member of the Weathermen terrorist organization.
During a free-ranging, four-segment interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Obama was asked about his dealing with Ayers and several other controversial associations, such as Rev. Jeremiah Wright and MoveOn.org.
“I know thousands of people. Right? So, understandably, people will pick out folks who they think they can score political points with,” Obama stated.
Addressing Ayers specifically, Obama stated, “Now on this Ayers thing. … Here’s the bottom line, this guy did something despicable 40 years ago. … Here’s a guy who does something despicable when I’m eight years old. … He and I know each other as a consequence of work. He’s not part of my campaign, he’s not an adviser of mine. He’s somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know.”
The video can be seen here:
Ayers, currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
He has admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s.
Although, as Obama notes, Ayers committed his crimes 40 years ago, Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11, 2001, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Just this week, he wrote on his blog he still feels not enough was done to oppose the Vietnam war, although he clarified, “I don’t think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.”
Obama’s characterization of his relationship with Ayers as “somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know” barely scratches the surface of his dealings with the Ayers.
In 1995, the first organizing meeting for Obama’s state senatorial campaign was reportedly held in Ayers’ apartment.
Ayers was one of the original grantees of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or CAC, a school reform organization in the 1990s, and was co-chairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, one the two operational arms of the CAC. In 1995, Obama became chairman of the CAC under Ayers’ leadership.
In a widely circulated article, WND first reported Obama served on the board of the Wood’s Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit, alongside Ayers from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
A $200 campaign contribution from Ayers is listed April 2, 2001, by the “Friends of Barack Obama” campaign fund.
The two appeared together as speakers at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, “Should a child ever be called a ‘super predator?'” and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002 entitled, “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?”
The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.
Ayers is married to another notorious Weathermen terrorist, Bernardine Dohrn, who also has served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the “most dangerous woman in America.” Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left four people dead.
In his interview with O’Reilly, Obama addressed his relationship with Wright, as well.
“This whole notion that he was my spiritual mentor and all this stuff – this is something that I’ve consistently discussed. I had not heard him make the offensive comments that ended up being looped on this show constantly, and I was offended by them.”
Obama went on to claim that during his nearly 20 years attending Wright’s church, he was not aware of Wright making anti-white or anti-American comments.
“You had never heard those comments?” pressed O’Reilly.
“I hadn’t heard those comments,” Obama maintained.
“He was selling them in the lobby of the church,” O’Reilly retorted.
“What can I tell ya?” concluded Obama.
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