The Democratic Presidential Debate, April 16, 2008:
STEPHANOPOULOS: ...on this issue, general theme of patriotism, in your relationships. 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?
OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.
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, George.
The just-released Chicago Annenberg Challenge 1996 Annual Report (PDF):
Page 12: 7 directors including Barack Obama
Page 13: Leaders of the School Reform Collaborative: William Ayers
The just-released Chicago Annenberg Challenge 1999 Annual Report (PDF):
Page 15: 10 directors including Barack Obama
Page 16: Leaders of the School Reform Collaborative: William Ayers
Under the watch of Ayers and Obama, the CAC accepted grant requests from:
* Chicago Forum for School Change
* Metro Area Council of Black Churches
And during this time, the CAC declined grant requests from:
* Chicago Algebra Project
* Loyola University School of Education
* Argonne National Laboratory
Put simply, Ayers and Obama not only directed the operations of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge together, they utterly wasted between $110 and $160 million. Improved student achievement? Well, no. But...
The Challenge allowed Barack Obama and Bill Ayers to work together, no doubt closely, in the heat of political battle to help disburse more than $100 million to allies, particularly in the LSCs, in the Chicago School system.
Under the circumstances, it seems more than a bit disingenuous of Senator Obama to dismiss Bill Ayers as “some guy who lives in my neighborhood.”
That's putting it kindly. By any reasonable estimation, it's an outright lie.
Kind of like the Senator's initial attempt to convince folks that, although he sat in the pews for 18 years, he heard absolutely none of Jeremiah Wright's virulently racist sermons.
Hat tips: Steve Diamond's Global Labor Blog and Larwyn! Special thanks to: Stanley Kurtz. Linked by: The Astute Bloggers. Thanks!