William Ayers at Reagan National Airport Monday (Photo by Anne Leary)
This much is clear: The unrepentant Weather Underground co-founder who bombed federal buildings in his effort to overthrow the U.S. with a Marxist regime decided not to give a straightforward, irony-free answer to a reporter and to a blogger who wanted to know if he was the true author of the highly acclaimed memoir President Obama insists was a solo effort.
To a National Journal reporter at a book conference who posed the question, Ayers declared, “Yes, I wrote ‘Dreams from My Father.’” And to a conservative blogger he encountered Monday at Reagan National Airport – who didn’t even ask the question – he offered, “I wrote ‘Dreams from My Father’ … Michelle asked me to.”
The easy explanation is that Ayers simply was mocking anyone with the audacity to suggest he was the genius behind “Dreams from My Father,” the book that won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album and drew praise from Time magazine as “the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.”
But the WND columnist whose investigative work first raised the possibility of Ayers’ significant role in Obama’s book, Jack Cashill, suspects Ayers may have been employing a “double level of irony” in his chance airport meeting Monday with blogger Anne Leary.
“He says what is true as a way of throwing doubt on what is, in fact, true,” Cashill writes in a column published today.
Cashill continues: “Then it dawned on me that Ayers and I may share the same fantasy: that is walking through an airport and being mobbed by reporters celebrating our respective genius: he for writing ‘Dreams’ and me for discovering his role.”
The two encounters with Ayers followed the release of a major new book that reported a desperate Obama in the mid-1990s, facing a second canceled book contract, sought the help of Ayers.
Christopher Andersen, in “Barack and Michelle: Portrait of a Marriage,” acknowledged the groundbreaking work of Cashill, who has written more than two dozen columns since June 2008, summarized here, making the case that Ayers – dismissed by Obama during the campaign as just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” – at the very least, shaped and refined “Dreams” with his exceptional writing skill and radical ideas.
Andersen advances the theory, citing two sources in a six-page narrative that led him to write that, ultimately, “Ayers’ contribution to Barack’s ‘Dreams from My Father’ would be significant – so much so that the book’s language, oddly specific references, literary devices, and themes would bear a jarring similarity to Ayers’ own writing.”
Andersen concluded, “Thanks to help from the veteran writer Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Books.”
‘And now I would like the royalties’
TalkingPointsMemo.com posted last Friday National Journal’s brief account of Ayers’ reply to a reporter at a recent book festival.
“Here’s what I’m going to say. This is my quote. Be sure to write it down: ‘Yes, I wrote Dreams From My Father. I ghostwrote the whole thing. I met with the president three or four times, and then I wrote the entire book.’” He released National Journal’s arm, and beamed in Marxist triumph. “And now I would like the royalties.”
Meanwhile, Chicago-based blogger Anne Leary wrote she was drinking coffee near the United Airlines counter Monday at Reagan National Airport near Washington before going through security when she spotted Ayers.
She asked what he was doing in D.C.
“He gave me an uneasy cheesy smile when he realized I was taking his picture. He … was trying to decide if I was a fan, then said he was giving a lecture in Arlington to a Renaissance group on education – that’s what I do, education – you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about me, you know nothing about me.”
Leary replied that as a conservative blogger from Chicago, she knew plenty about him and planned to post something about their conversation.
Then, unprompted he said – I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said – Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He’s about my height, short. He went on to say – and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again – I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said – I wrote it. I said – why would I believe you, you’re a liar.
He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.
Cashill observed, in a column last week, that scores of major media organs have reviewed Andersen’s book, including CBS News, USA Today, the Chicago Sun Times, the Seattle Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Chicago Tribune and the Telegraph of London. Yet none have mentioned the author’s detailed narrative about Ayers’ collaboration with his Hyde Park, Chicago, neighbor Obama.
The New York Times was among many news outlets during the presidential campaign last year that sought to minimize or ignore Obama’s relationship with Ayers when questions were raised by opponents, including the Republican ticket of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin.
1968 mugshot of William Ayers
In 1995, a year before “Dreams” was published, Obama became chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school reform organization Ayers helped establish. Obama also served on the board of the liberal non-profit Woods Fund alongside Ayers from 1999 to 2002, according to the Fund’s website.
Also in 1995, the first organizing meeting for Obama’s state senatorial campaign was held at Ayers’ home. Ayers, who still serves on the Woods Fund board, contributed $200 to Obama’s senatorial campaign fund and served on panels with Obama at numerous public speaking engagements.
The two appeared together as speakers at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel titled “Should a child ever be called a ‘super predator?’” and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002 titled “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?”
Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has admitted to involvement in the bombing of U.S. government buildings in the 1970s as a member of the Weathermen.
“I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough,” Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11, 2001.
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” Ayers wrote in his memoir “Fugitive Days.” Ayers lived for 10 years as a fugitive from the law, but charges were dropped in 1974 due to prosecutorial misconduct.
While many defenders of Ayers and his Weatherman colleagues have sought to minimize the bomb attacks because they purportedly did not target people, a former FBI informant who penetrated the group claimed he witnessed a meeting in which members discussed a future communist takeover of America in which some 25 million “diehard capitalists” would need to be killed.
Ayers is married to another former Weather Underground leader, 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.”
Note: If you’re a member of the media and would like to interview Jack Cashill, e-mail WND.