I had a mild mannered friend once almost get into a fight at a disco with another guy who claimed he was a model. When he told our group what had happened, we were bewildered. ‘What!, who cares what he said,’ we informed him in graphic language. ‘He’s got acne scars,’ our friend pleaded in defense of his behavior.
Some lies we can ignore, some are offensive. Some lies which we initially ignore, become harder to do so and eventually become offensive. This is what I think is developing with Obama in regards to Ayers. Whether it ends up offensive or just an example of a tolerated lie is still to be decided.
The common sense interpretation of how the Obama / Ayers relationship developed is that Obama knew who Ayers was–former domestic terrorist, current activist–but was not so personally offended by those acts that he would have passed up a good professional opportunity. Politically, he knew that Ayers operated with Mayor Daley’s blessings in Chicago. In effect, if he was good enough for Hyde Park and Daley, he was good enough for Obama. So no big deal, just another good connection for the rising political star. Fast forward to presidential campaign.
The unknown candidate, having survived one radical association in his past, Rev Wright, decides that he cannot afford two. So he lies about what he knew and when he knew it. No one actually believes that Obama didn’t know who Ayers was or that he was just ‘a guy in the neighborhood.’ That’s important because there is no plausible middle ground here for partisans to hide behind.
Bill Clinton told that a lie about smoking pot and ‘not inhaling.’ That was a lie which people felt they could ignore, and eventually even ridicule. The Ayers lie was settling into the tolerated lie category. But the Obama campaign made a bad strategic mistake by going down the road of ‘he didn’t know Ayers was a terrorist.’ Obama would have had to be an idiot not to have know. Then today, it got personal. The son of one of Ayers’ intended victims issued a statement.
When I was 9 years-old the Weather Underground, the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama’s friend William Ayers, firebombed my house. Barack Obama has dismissed concerns about his relationship with Ayers by noting that he was only a child when Ayers was planting bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. But Ayers has never apologized for his crimes, he has reveled in them, expressing regret only for the fact that he didn’t do more.
While Barack Obama once downplayed his relationship with Ayers, today his campaign took that deceit one step further. Barack Obama now denies he was even aware of his friend’s violent past when, in 1995, Ayers hosted a party launching Obama’s political career. Given Ayers’ celebrity status among the left, it’s difficult to believe. The question remains: what did Obama know, and when did he know it? When did Obama learn the truth about his friend? Barack Obama helped Ayers promote his book in 1997, served on charitable boards with him through 2002, and regularly exchanged emails and phone calls with him through 2005. At what point did Barack Obama discover that his friend was an unrepentant terrorist? And if he is so repulsed by the acts of terror committed by William Ayers, why did the relationship continue? Any honest accounting by Barack Obama will necessarily cast further doubt on his judgment and his fitness to serve as commander in chief.
To prove my point about how indefensible his position is, watch an Obama spokesman, Robert Gibbs, squirm when asked the same question for 5 minutes; Is it OK to have a professional association with an unrepentant terrorist? He actually makes a mistake in stating that Obama is ‘not a judge.’ There is no need for Obama to have sullied his non-judgmental Hyde Park sensibilities, Ayers has freely confessed his terrorist activities.
On Hannity & Colmes, Gibbs had to resort to calling Hannity anti-Semitic, rather than answer the same question. Obama must either eventually answer that question, or appear so fearful of it, that he looks weak and guilty. If he chooses that option, the bunker approach, it means that if he tried to deny knowledge about Ayers, it is likely that evidence would surface to contradict him. This is going to be fun to watch.
Check out the Babaulu blog which has a number of useful links on this topic.
[Post-post 10/9] Peter Wehner from Commentary magazine, saw the same interview and draws the same conclusion, asking:
Team Obama’s evasive and clumsy response simply raises additional doubts about its candidate and his past. If there’s a simple explanation to Obama’s past associations, it would be helpful to hear what it is.
All articles referenced are copied in full at end of post.
McCain Release on Ayers
ARLINGTON, VA — Today, John M. Murtagh made the following statement on Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers:
“When I was 9 years-old the Weather Underground, the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama’s friend William Ayers, firebombed my house. Barack Obama has dismissed concerns about his relationship with Ayers by noting that he was only a child when Ayers was planting bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. But Ayers has never apologized for his crimes, he has reveled in them, expressing regret only for the fact that he didn’t do more.
“While Barack Obama once downplayed his relationship with Ayers, today his campaign took that deceit one step further. Barack Obama now denies he was even aware of his friend’s violent past when, in 1995, Ayers hosted a party launching Obama’s political career. Given Ayers’ celebrity status among the left, it’s difficult to believe. The question remains: what did Obama know, and when did he know it? When did Obama learn the truth about his friend? Barack Obama helped Ayers promote his book in 1997, served on charitable boards with him through 2002, and regularly exchanged emails and phone calls with him through 2005. At what point did Barack Obama discover that his friend was an unrepentant terrorist? And if he is so repulsed by the acts of terror committed by William Ayers, why did the relationship continue? Any honest accounting by Barack Obama will necessarily cast further doubt on his judgment and his fitness to serve as commander in chief.
“Barack Obama may have been a child when William Ayers was plotting attacks against U.S. targets — but I was one of those targets. Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family.”
In February 1970 John Murtagh’s father was a New York State Supreme Court justice presiding over the trial of the so-called “Panther 21,” members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at their home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. A few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. In late November that year, a letter to the Associated Press signed by Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’s wife, promised more bombings.
John Murtagh’s Account Of The Weather Underground’s Attack
This is a rush transcript from “Hannity & Colmes,” October 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: So with us now is Senator Obama’s communication director and senior spokesman, Robert Gibbs. I don’t even want — I know you think he won. So there’s not — not reason in asking you that.
All right. A lot of what came up tonight seem to be a rehash of what we discussed in the first debate. But going into the debate, the feeling was that, in light of recent comments by Governor Palin that we will be talking about William Ayers tonight.
Now let me ask you a question. How can you fight terrorism when you give speeches with, you sit on a board with, Axelrod says you’re friendly with, and you never speak out against William Ayers?
ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: You see — you had it (INAUDIBLE) until…
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HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait, he did blurbed his book, you know?
HANNITY: No, no. Barack Obama did blurb Ayers’s book.
GIBBS: Listen to this, do you think — so you think he’s guilty by association, right?
HANNITY: No, I would — I’m Sean Hannity, here’s my answer. Would never sit on a board with a guy that bombed our Pentagon or our capital. And I want to know…
GIBBS: Can I ask you…
HANNITY: No, wait, wait.
Why does Barack Obama sit on a board with — why did he stay — knowing his past, why would did he be friends with him?
GIBBS: What William Ayers did was deplorable. And when he did it, Barack Obama was 8. And Barack Obama said it was a deplorable act.
HANNITY: Then why would he sit on a…
GIBBS: That’s what he said…
HANNITY: Why would you sit on a board with — would you sit on a board that a guy that bombed the Pentagon and wasn’t sorry about it?
GIBBS: He sat on a charitable board and a board funded by a conservative Republican and a friend of Ronald Reagan.
HANNITY: Was that poor judgment?
GIBBS: That was Walter Annenberg, I say that was.
HANNITY: Was that poor judgment on Obama’s part?
GIBBS: I don’t think that’s poor judgment at all. I think what Barack Obama has done throughout his career is talk about the big issues that are important.
HANNITY: All right. You’re giving me a spin now. I’m asking you…
GIBBS: No, no. Let me ask you one question.
HANNITY: All right, you ask me a question.
GIBBS: OK. Are you anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Not at all.
GIBBS: OK. On your show on Sunday, you — the show that’s named after you, right? The show or the centerpiece of that show was a guy named Andy Martin, right?
HANNITY: I know you’re reading it your talking points…
GIBBS: No, no, no, no. I don’t have a talking point.
HANNITY: When I interviewed — hang on a second. I’ll answer your question.
GIBBS: Let me do this. Let me do this.
HANNITY: When I interviewed Malik Shabbazz, when I interviewed Al Sharpton…
HANNITY: When I interviewed all these controversial figures — you see on FOX we actually interviewed people of all points of view whether we agree or disagree.
HANNITY: I — the statement you’re about to read…
GIBBS: Yes. Andy Martin called a judge a crooked clammy dude who has…
HANNITY: I totally, completely…
GIBBS: … a history of lying and thieving coming…
HANNITY: His (INAUDIBLE) a few.
GIBBS: Martin went on to write that he understood better why the holocaust took place, given that Jew survivors are operating as a wolf pack of…
HANNITY: Here’s my answer to you, I find those comments despicable. But wait a minute.
GIBBS: But you put him on your show.
HANNITY: We put Malik Shabbazz on the show?
GIBBS: It’s the Hannity…
HANNITY: I put Khalid Mohammad on my show?
GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that you are anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: I put — let me…
GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that everybody who works for the network is anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Here’s the answer. Here’s…
GIBBS: Because Sean Hannity…
HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs. Mr. Gibbs…
GIBBS: … gave a platform to somebody who thinks that Jews are…
HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs, I’m a journalist who interviews people that I disagree with all the time that give their opinion. FOX has all points of view. We are allowing you on the program and I don’t agree with hardly anything Obama says.
HANNITY: So here’s my — no, I don’t need an answer. No, no, I’m going to answer.
GIBBS: I won’t — I really wish you wouldn’t give a platform to virulent anti-Semites…
HANNITY: Here’s – I will tell you this.
GIBBS: … who said…
HANNITY: I’ll make a deal with you. If Barack Obama admits that what he did by sitting on a board with, giving speeches with, having Ayers, going over to Ayers’s house…
GIBBS: You’ll admit you’re anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: No, no. I will admit to you that — I will tell you that Barack Obama wants to be president. It’s poor judgment, it is irresponsible…
HANNITY: … and it’s reckless to be — let me finish.
GIBBS: No, OK.
HANNITY: … to be friends with a guy that bombed our Pentagon, was at war with our country, whose motto was to kill our children and kill your parents.
GIBBS: I think it’s deplorable that you have put somebody on TV that’s anti-Semitic…
HANNITY: And it’s deplorable that your candidate for president has not been honest with the American people.
GIBBS: … and he calls the Jews slimy and understands the holocaust better…
HANNITY: I’m explain — let me finish first.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We’re on a short time here.
HANNITY: I’m explaining to you…
GIBBS: I can’t believe you would give a platform…
HANNITY: So you don’t want me to interview anyone I — only I can interview only people I agree with?
GIBBS: You put your whole show around him, Sean?
HANNITY: Barack Obama…
GIBBS: How am I to believe only that you agree with each and everything that Andy Martin said.
HANNITY: Barack Obama, the president sat in the pew of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years.
HANNITY: I have one last question. Did Barack Obama ever sit and meet with Louis Farrakhan? Has he ever met with Louis Farrakhan?
GIBBS: I don’t know the answer to that.
HANNITY: Will you give us an answer by tomorrow?
GIBBS: Will you get back to me on whether you’re anti -Semitic? Or whether you agree…
HANNITY: I’m not anti-Semitic?
COLMES: Now hold on.
HANNITY: The biggest supporter of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu blurred my thoughts.
GIBBS: Let me tell you…
COLMES: Hold on.
GIBBS: I don’t your Jewish viewers are going to take it very well…
HANNITY: Excuse me. Excuse me.
GIBBS: … if you put somebody like that on your show.
HANNITY: I am the biggest supporter of Israel.
GIBBS: I think it’s bad that you gave him a platform.
HANNITY: And I’ve got a 30-year history of — on the record of it.
GIBBS: Ask him (INAUDIBLE) friends about what Andy Martin said.
HANNITY: And listen, I’m not friend with a guy that bomb to the Pentagon. I’m not friends with the guy that bombed the capitol and New York…
COLMES: Let me jump in here for a second, Robert.
COLMES: Hold on, guys. Hold on.
HANNITY: Your candidate is friends with a terrorist.
COLMES: Hey, guys.
GIBBS: That’s not true.
HANNITY: He sits on a board with a terrorist.
COLMES: Guys, guys, stop it. First of all, he is not anti-Semitic. He’s not.
HANNITY: Thank you very much.
COLMES: He’s not anti-Semitic. This game of guilt by association, I disagree with on all fronts. I will defend Sean against anti-Semitism. He’s not anti-Semitic. But I also deplore this game of guilt by association.
COLMES: The people that sat on this board were also Republicans.
COLMES: On one of the boards it was a former president of Northwestern University. Walter Annenberg was a Reagan ambassador…
GIBBS: Friend of Ronald Reagan.
COLMES: … who gave his money.
COLMES: Who spent — you know so, I mean, this game of guilt by association is ridiculous. And by the way, the Republicans who want to keep putting this fourth — I’ll you a chance to respond in a second.
COLMES: It’s not working, because Barack Obama, the trend is towards Obama. It hasn’t worked. The stuff they flung at him, which is now the kitchen sink, is a desperation, desperate act by a desperate campaign.
GIBBS: Here’s what I think, Alan — here’s what — exactly. This campaign — the John McCain campaign has run out of ideas and they’re running out of time.
GIBBS: I think they realized — the reason they didn’t talk about that tonight is because they understand that after two or three days, that attack didn’t work.
GIBBS: People are concerned about the economy. They’re worried about keeping their job and keeping their home. They’d rather talk about these big issues.
COLMES: Yes. So what I don’t understand is, as a tactician, and you work as a tactician, to some regard in the Obama campaign, if you’re not winning and things aren’t going your way and the narrative you’re doing isn’t helping your wind, change the narrative.
This isn’t helping. Palin — and McCain is allowing Palin to do this. She started doing this.
GIBBS: Well, look, I read in the newspaper, on Monday, the McCain campaign said, every time we talked about the economy, we lose. They don’t want to talk about the economy.
GIBBS: But everyday Americans are losing their jobs and their homes and their health care. The American people deserve a debate that focuses on the big issues.
COLMES: Rick Davis of the — of the McCain campaign said this isn’t about the issue.
GIBBS: It’s not even about issues.
COLMES: The campaign is not about issues. They don’t want it to be about issues.
GIBBS: They never have and they never will.
COLMES: Thank you very much, Robert.
GIBBS: Thanks for having me.
COLMES: Appreciate your being here tonight.
GIBBS: Thank you.
HANNITY: Good to see you, Mr. Gibbs.
GIBBS: Thank you, Sean.