The Chicago Sun Times has a great summary of Bill Ayers and his connection (or lack thereof) to Barack Obama. You need to read it all and pass it on to those you know who are fanning the Ayers flame, but here are a few points I think are important.
3. Were they ever convicted of “terrorism” charges?
No. Ayers faced federal riot and bombing-conspiracy charges, but those charges were dropped because of illegal wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions by authorities. Dohrn served less than a year behind bars for non-bombing activities tied to the group.
4. How are Ayers and Dohrn viewed now?
At least before this campaign, they were mainly seen as respected college professors. After getting his doctorate in education at Columbia University, Ayers joined the University of Illinois, where he gained a national reputation pushing innovative — some say controversial — approaches to educating at-risk youth. Dohrn has a national reputation for pushing reforms of the juvenile justice system. Ayers has published 15 books. He sits on civic boards with Mayor Daley, who in 1997 awarded Ayers the city’s “Citizen of the Year” award. Ayers and Dohrn live in Hyde Park, not far from the Obamas.
5. So how well do Ayers and Obama know each other?
Ayers and Obama served on separate boards associated with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an education-reform group that Obama began chairing in March 1995 and continued to work with through 2000. Ayers served on the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, which made recommendations to the board on grant awards during those years. Ayers and Obama occasionally would see each other in those roles.
Also, Ayers served alongside Obama between December 1999 and December 2002 on the board of the not-for-profit Woods Fund of Chicago. That board met four times a year, and members would see each other at dinners the group hosted.
The RNC’s statement that “Obama’s first campaign was launched at a gathering at Mr. Ayers’ home” stems from a 1995 “meet-and-greet” coffee that Ayers and Dohrn held for Obama at their home when Obama was making his first run for the Illinois Senate. Obama’s presidential campaign has described the event as an opportunity for Ayers and Dohrn to introduce Obama to their neighbors.
In 2001, Ayers gave $200 to Obama’s campaign. A year ago, the two met walking through the neighborhood where they both live.
10. Are all former alleged terrorists/radicals shunned?
No. Former IRA bomber Gerry Adams is welcomed at the White House as a peacemaker. Former PLO leader Yasser Arafat was too. Former Students for a Democratic Society member and Ayers friend Tom Hayden was elected to the California State Assembly. Former Black Panther Bobby Rush is a congressman representing Chicago, as is former Puerto Rican independence activist Luis Gutierrez.
Thanks Cathleen for the tip to this article.