30 Lies About Obama and Ayers
Note: I'm the author of Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest, but I'm not part of the Obama campaign.
The gutter politics of the McCain campaign is reaching down once again to denounce Obama for his distant past links to Bill Ayers in an unprecedented guilt-by-association attack for a presidential campaign.
Sarah Palin declared, "This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”
The New York Times article, which prompted Palin’s remarks, actually concluded that "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."
CNN Political Ticker evaluated Palin’s “palling” charges and concluded, "False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now palling around, or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are....CNN's review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved."
Back in February, the Washington Post reported in a fact check, But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one.(Washington Post, 2/18/08)
As part of a larger project where I’m compiling a long list of all the lies and smears spread about Obama, here are 30 lies about Ayers and Obama.
Tonight’s Hannity’s America featured more of these absurd lies about Obama and Ayers in Hannity’s infomercial for idiocy, including an amazing interview with legendary anti-Semitic crackpot Andy Martin:
LIE: “My view is that the community organizer was really a sham event. Bill Ayers was testing him.”(Andy Martin, Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: Bill Ayers had nothing to do with Obama’s community organizing job. It’s pure lunacy to imagine that Ayers was “testing” Obama.
LIE: Obama’s “community organizing is a grand scheme perpetuated by none other than William Ayers.”(Sean Hannity, Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: Obama’s community organizing was not a vast conspiracy for revolution devised by Bill Ayers.
LIE: “They live half a mile from William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist” and “Just a half a mile from those homes is Louis Farrakhan.”(Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: It’s true, of course, that Obama lives in this same neighborhood, as do tens of thousands of other people who presumably are also guilty by geographical association. The logic of this argument would be, if you live half a mile from a sex offender, then you agree with child molesters.
LIE: Obama and Ayers “appeared together at various public engagements...it would seem that they are more than just a little bit friendly.”(Sean Hannity, Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: Appearing on a speaking panel is not a sign of friendship. There is no evidence that Obama had any role in ever inviting Ayers to speak.
LIE: In 1995, Ayers and Dohrn “hosted a political coming out party for a young Barack Obama.”(Sean Hannity, Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: This was an event for Alice Palmer, not a “coming-out party” for Obama. Obama was invited by Palmer to the event.
But long before tonight’s Hannity, the right-wing has been spreading a series of lies about Obama and Ayers.
LIE: “Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist.”
TRUTH: Bill Ayers is not, and apparently never was, a terrorist. The conventional definition of a terrorist is someone who tries to kill innocent people for political purposes. As Factcheck.org noted, In fact, nobody died as a result of bombings in which Ayers said he participated as part of the Weather Underground. (Factcheck.org, http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/taking_liberties_in_philadelphia.html)
LIE: “I'm sure he's very patriotic, but his relationship with Mr. Ayers is open to question....Because, if you're going to associate and have as a friend and serve on a board and have a guy kick off your campaign that says he's unrepentant, that he wished he'd bombed more. And then, the worst thing of all, that I think really indicates Senator Obama's attitude, is he had the incredible statement that he compared Mr. Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist -- an unrepentant terrorist, with Senator Tom Coburn. Senator Coburn, a physician who goes to Oklahoma on the weekends and brings babies into life.' (John McCain, April 20, 2008, ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:)
TRUTH: Obama was not friends with Ayers. Ayers did not kick off Obama’s campaign. And Obama was not comparing Ayers’ actions with Coburn. Obama was pointing out that he works with people even when he disagrees with them.
LIE: "Obama's oldest friend in politics is a murderer and unrepentant terrorist. Why are they friends?"(ExposeObama.com email, Sept. 7, 2008)
TRUTH: Ayers isn't Obama's oldest friend in politics.
LIE: Ayers was "Obama's boss."(Jerome Corsi, p. 147)
TRUTH: The chair of a foundation board is not the boss of the members.
LIE: Jerome Corsi claimed Alice "Palmer would never have introduced Obama to the Hyde Park political community at the Ayres-Dohrn home unless she saw an affinity between Ayers and Dohrn's radical leftist history, her own history of far-leftist politics, and the politics of Barack Obama."(p. 137)
TRUTH: The event wasn't held primarily for Obama. It was Palmer's own announcement that she would run for Congress. Obama was there as Palmer's endorsed successor for her Senate seat, but there's no evidence that he had any role in deciding to hold it at Ayers' home.
LIE: Jerome Corsi claims about Obama: "either he did not know Ayers and Dohrn are still radical leftists—in which case he is implausibly naive—or Obama did know, which would confirm he joined with Ayers and Dohrn because Obama too continues to believe, albeit silently and secretly, in the Far Left's radical agenda."(p. 140)
TRUTH: Obama probably knew Ayers was a leftist, but he didn't care. Obama believes in the notion of a free society, where you work with people you disagree with.
LIE: "Even today, Ayers appears to hold the same radical political beliefs he did in the Weather Underground, and Obama had to know that was also the case when he first met Ayers in 1995."(Jerome Corsi, p. 147)
TRUTH: Corsi doesn't explain how Obama "had to know" Ayers' views on politics when he first met him. Telepathy? Mind-reading?
LIE: David Freddoso calls Obama's distant connection with Bill Ayers "a remarkable relationship for a presidential nominee to have."(p. 122)
TRUTH: It reality, it's not remarkable at all. The notion that people should resign from foundations and refuse to speak in public in order to avoid any connection to a former radical never convicted of a crime is absurd.
LIE: "The major media simply have not reported on Obama's two years at New York's Columbia University, where, among other things, he lived a mere quarter-mile from former terrorist Bill Ayers."(Tony Blankley, September 24, 2008)
TRUTH: Thousands upon thousands of people lived near Bill Ayers in Manhattan. Obama didn’t know Ayers.
LIE: Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval. (Stanley Kurtz, Wall Street Journal)
TRUTH: Kurtz has no evidence to support his claim. Ayers was one of several people involved in starting the group, and was not its guiding spirit. According to the New York Times reporting, Obama was recruited by other CAC leaders who knew him through the Joyce Foundation.
LIE: Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda. (Stanley Kurtz, Wall Street Journal)
TRUTH: Kurtz has no evidence that Obama and Ayers worked as a team. Ayers attended six meetings of the group along with Obama.
LIE: "Obama is hanging around with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. By the way, Bill Ayers advertised himself as being a communist with a small c just when he was beginning to
partner with Obama on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. (Stanley Kurtz, Hudson Institute, Washington DC, October 1, 2008)
TRUTH: Contrary to this McCarthyist attack, there's no evidence that Obama ever knew that Ayers supposedly called himself a communist, nor is that a good reason for Obama to end his work on school reform and charitable activities.
LIE: "who provided Obama with the only executive experience he has ever had in his young life? Bill Ayers, unrepentant domestic terrorist, communist revolutionary... (Joseph Farah, World Net Daily, October 2, 2008)
TRUTH: Ayers did not provide Obama with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge job. And Obama has also had executive experience in community organizing, running a voter registration drive, as well as running his campaigns. The New York Times reported, "In fact, according to several people involved, Mr. Ayers played no role in Mr. Obama's appointment. Instead, it was suggested by Deborah Leff, then president of the Joyce Foundation, a Chicago-based group whose board Mr. Obama, a young lawyer, had joined the previous year."(Scott Shane, New York Times, October 4, 2008)
LIE: "Barack Obama is friends with Ayers, defending him as quote 'respectable and mainstream.'"(American Issues Project ad, August 2008)
TRUTH: David Axelrod described them as "friendly," not friends. Obama didn't call Ayers respectable and mainstream (although Ayers now is); Obama's campaign on his website posted an op-ed in the press that described Ayers that way.
LIE: "I can't understand why somebody who wants to be president of the United States, I'll be perfectly honest with you, would want to associate or not condemn the actions of people in the past."(Paul Ragonese, April 27, 2008, Fox News' Hannity's America)
TRUTH: Obama has condemned the past actions of Bill Ayers and called him somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago. (April 16, 2008 debate)
LIE: "Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval."(Stanley Kurtz, Wall Street Journal)
TRUTH: Kurtz has no evidence to support his claim. Ayers was one of several people involved in starting the group, and was not its guiding spirit.
LIE: "Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda."(Stanley Kurtz, Wall Street Journal)
TRUTH: Kurtz has no evidence that Obama and Ayers worked as a team. Ayers attended six meetings of the group along with Obama.
LIE: About Bill Ayers, "Barack Obama really couldn't bring himself to say 'you know, I really don't like that guy.' That was too much for him to say. He had to talk about what a decent guy he is and what a good professor."(Jim Geraghty, "Hype: The Obama Effect")
TRUTH: There is no record of Obama during the campaign calling Ayers "decent" and "a good professor." In fact, Obama really did bring himself to criticize Ayers, denouncing him during a Democratic debate as "somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago."
LIE: "Obama was feted at a fundraising event" at Ayers' home.("Hype: The Obama Effect")
TRUTH: Obama never had a fundraising event at Ayers' home.
LIE: Barack Obama and Bill Ayers had a close working relationship...the two of them were running the foundation together. (Stanley Kurtz, Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, September 29, 2008)
TRUTH: Kurtz has no evidence of a “close working relationship” beyond attending a few meetings together. The notion that Obama and Ayers were the only ones running the Chicago Annenberg Challenge is absolutely false.
LIE: "The most important smoking gun is that Barack Obama was funding Bill Ayers' radical educational projects."(Stanley Kurtz, Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, September 29, 2008)
TRUTH: This is false. Obama was the president of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, not its dictator. There's no evidence that Obama made any funding decisions. Moreover, it would have been completely unprofessional for anyone, including Obama, to ban Bill Ayers from receiving funding for educational projects because of alleged radical activities decades earlier which Ayers was never convicted of. Kurtz has no evidence that projects were judged based on anything other than their merits. This is a pure smear by association.
LIE: Emails "give us strong evidence that there may have been a cover-up in Bill Ayers' role choosing Barack Obama."(Stanley Kurtz, Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, September 29, 2008)
TRUTH: This is a fabrication. The email Kurtz is referring to shows absolutely no kind of cover up. In fact, it shows exactly the opposite. In his blog, Kurtz quotes the entire email Ken Rolling wrote to CAC founders Warren Chapman and Anne Hallett and notes that Sam Dillon, Education Reporter for the New York Times, was working on an article. Rolling wrote about Dillon, He is trying to understand how Barack got ‘picked' for the CAC board, by whom, why, etc. – I have avoided that question head-on though I believe Barack was Debbie Leff's/Joyce nomination." This email reveals no kind of cover-up, and the New York Times article found several sources that said Obama was not picked by Ayers.
LIE: "There is a secret group in the Obama-Biden campaign tasked with shutting off any leaks from the record that links Barack Obama to his longtime adviser and mentor Bill Ayers, professor of education at the University of Illinois and unrepentant Weatherman terrorist and fugitive from the 1970s....There is a substantial independent report from a major Democratic source that confirms Diamond's suspicions. The source confirms the unit is led by Bill Ayers himself and likely includes Tom Hayden and other members of 'Progressives for Obama.' Most critically, the Democratic source says this unit has direct access to media adviser David Axelrod of the Obama-Biden campaign."(John Batchelor, Human Events, September 12, 2008)
TRUTH: There is no "secret group." Hayden reports, "I am not part of any effort, personal or organized, trying to protect Obama against any leaks." The notion that Ayers is leading the "unit" is laughable. According to the University of Illinois library, "all papers have been available since August 26" about the school reform group that Ayers and Obama worked on. Diamond, the source cited for the existence of the "unit," declares, "I have no evidence of such a unit." Diamond added, "I told Batchelor that I would not speak to Human Events yet he made up a quote from me and placed it in his article."
Crossposted at DailyKos and ObamaPolitics.