APRIL 18, 2008
Avoiding the topic like the plague for weeks, Barack Obama was finally forced to answer questions about his close ties to a domestic terrorist who planted bombs in the Capitol, Pentagon and other government buildings to protest U.S. policy.
During this week’s nationally televised debate in Pennsylvania, Obama was cornered into addressing his decades-long relationship with William Ayers, a Vietnam-era radical and former fugitive from U.S. justice who has proudly admitted setting the bombs in the 1970s.
Ayers, a professor at a public university in Chicago, was a member of the domestic terrorist group Weather Underground and he has publicly said that he doesn’t regret setting the bombs and that his violent group actually “didn’t do enough.” In fact, he still proudly sports a tattoo on his neck featuring the rainbow and lightning weatherman logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for the bombings.
Ayers and his wife, a fellow Weather Underground terrorist, have long supported and collaborated with Obama, donating money to his campaign and hosting fundraising events at their home. The Democratic presidential candidate and aging radical hang out in the same political and social circles, live in the same Chicago neighborhood and for years served on the board of a renowned Chicago nonprofit.
Not surprisingly, the Obama campaign has worked hard to distance him from Ayers although their longtime relationship has been well-documented and is tough to deny. Clearly, it doesn’t help his mission to become the nation’s next commander-in-chief. After all, the Weather Underground was formally labeled a “domestic terrorist group” by the FBI and Ayers was a fugitive from U.S. justice for a decade. He eventually surrendered in 1980 and avoided prison because the government evidently conducted improper surveillance.
Obama did make an interesting point while discussing Ayers in the debate, however. He reminded Americans that his rival for the Democratic nomination has her own radical skeletons in the closet because her husband, the former president pardoned two Weather Underground members—Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans—serving prison sentences for possession of dynamite and weapons.
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