When Barack Obama was just about eight years old, from October 8 to 11, 1969, the Weathermen held their "Days of Rage" riots in Chicago where dozens of their members were arrested and they smashed shop windows and the like in an attempt to "Bring the war home". That followed them bombing the Haymarket Police Statue.
Tomorrow, October 14, is the 38th anniversary of them bombing the Harvard Center for International Affairs.
The day after tomorrow is the 37th anniversary of them bombing someone's office at MIT.
And, October 20 will be the 27th anniversary of them robbing a Brinks armored car of $1 million, killing two policemen and one Brinks guard in the process.
Barack Obama was just around nineteen years old at that time.
Those and over thirty other Weatherman incidents are presented in this summary. Now, certainly, Bill Ayers wasn't directly involved in everything on that list.
Plus, he's just a guy who lives in Barack Obama's neighborhood and/or just some guy who serves on a couple boards with Barack Obama. And - rest assured - Barack Obama wasn't even aware of anything they'd done.
Everything's on the up and up.
UPDATE: BHO was actually only nineteen and not twenty when the three persons were murdered by the Weathermen.
It is also a bit of a canard for Obama to maintain that Ayers and Dohrn were engaged in terrorism only when he was 8 years old. In fact, their violent tactics began when he was 8 and continued until at least 1980, when he was already 19 and active politically at Occidental College in the anti-apartheid movement. Occidental was a member at the time of Campuses United Against Apartheid, which I was also a member of as an activist in Berkeley. And believe me everyone knew who the Weather Underground and SDS was. In 1981, in fact, an offshoot of Weather Underground took part in a murderous bank robbery where two police officers and one bank security guard were killed. This robbery was apparently only one of a string of robberies carried out by the group, according to the FBI. Bernardine Dohrn was suspected of assisting those involved by using identification cards obtained from customers in a store where Dohrn worked. She went to jail for six months rather than testify to a grand jury about the matter in 1982. Only because her lawyer was able to convince the judge that Dohrn's "fanaticism" meant she would never testify was she released.
And, Bob McCarthy wrote a letter to the editor attempting to support BHO, and in so doing saying more than he should have said (link):
From 1990 to 1997, I was a senior staff member of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University. In that capacity, I worked with the Chicago school system as a resource for the establishment of a grant to bring better education and a brighter future to the children of that city... During the Annenberg work in Chicago, the group was aware of Ayers's past and, like Obama, found the acts of the Weathermen 40 years ago reprehensible. However, our goal was to help Chicago's teachers and children, and Ayers, who has spent his adult life pursuing the same goal, was an important resource and collaborator. We should judge a person by his entire life's work, not convenient sections. McCain should know that.
UPDATE 2: Ayers goes underground... again! (link):
There was no one home when The Times visited Mr Ayers' house in a quiet street three blocks from Mr Obama's mansion in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The Education Department of the University of Illinois, where Mr Ayers works, said that he had gone on sabbatical. In response to an e-mail he stated: "I'm not available right now. Perhaps in the future. Best, Bill."
While the rest of that highlights some of the things that McCain might want to focus on instead of Ayers - such as BHO being a Machine man and not a reformer - it also has Martin Fletcher saying: "There is no evidence they are close." Compare David Axelrod: "There's no evidence that they're close." I'd prefer more than simply parroting BHO's chief strategist.
UPDATE 3: See also this footnoted summary of the Ayers-Obama connection.
[Eric Newhall, a professor of American studies and American literature at Occidental College] and others recall a strong speech Obama made at a campus rally urging South Africa divestment. Obama, in his book, considered that a big moment...
Politics · Mon, 10/13/2008 - 20:20 · Importance: 1