Desperation Is An Ugly Thing


Sarah Palin told a Colorado crowd today that Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists” and that “he is not a man who sees America like you and I see America.” The black man as outsider who is not truly American is a tried-and-true racialism (and, indeed, until the mid-1960s, black men and women did not have the full legal rights that other Americans have), but heaven forbid that anyone say that straight out.

As to the guilt by association thing, it’s utter horseshit:

Watch: Is Obama a terrorist’s pal?

Get the facts!

The Facts: In making the charge at a fund-raising event in Englewood, Colorado, and a rally in Carson, California, Palin was referring at least in part to William Ayers, a 1960s radical. In both appearances, Palin cited a front-page article in Saturday’s New York Times detailing the working relationship between Obama and Ayers.

In the 1960s, Ayers was a founding member of the radical Weather Underground group that carried out a string of bombings of federal buildings, including the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, in protest against the Vietnam War. The now-defunct group was labeled a “domestic terrorist group” by the FBI, and Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn — also a Weather Underground member — spent 10 years as fugitives in the 1970s. Federal charges against them were dropped due to FBI misconduct in gathering evidence against them, and they resurfaced in 1980. Both Ayers and Dohrn ultimately became university professors in Chicago, with Ayers, 63, now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Obama’s Chicago home is in the same neighborhood where Ayers and Dohrn live. Beginning in 1995, Ayers and Obama worked with the non-profit Chicago Annenberg Challenge on a huge school improvement project. The Annenberg Challenge was for cities to compete for $50 million grants to improve public education. Ayers fought to bring the grant to Chicago, and Obama was recruited onto the board. Also from 1999 through 2001 both were board members on the Woods Fund, a charitable foundation that gave money to various causes, including the Trinity United Church that Obama attended and Northwestern University Law Schools’ Children and Family Justice Center, where Dohrn worked.

CNN’s review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told CNN that after meeting Obama through the Annenberg project, Ayers hosted a campaign event for him that same year when then-Illinois state Sen. Alice Palmer, who planned to run for Congress, introduced the young community organizer as her chosen successor. LaBolt also said the two have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Obama came to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they encountered each other on the street in their Hyde Park neighborhood.

The extent of Obama’s relationship with Ayers came up during the Democratic presidential primaries earlier this year, and Obama explained it by saying, “This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood … 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.”

The New York Times article cited by Palin concluded that “the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers.” Other publications, including the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, The New Yorker and The New Republic, have said that their reporting doesn’t support the idea that Obama and Ayers had a close relationship.

The McCain campaign did not respond Saturday to a request for elaboration on Palin’s use of the plural “terrorists.”

Verdict: False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now “palling around,” or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are.

I bolded the statement, above, that Obama has never expressed sympathy for any of Ayers’ 1960s activities, because the same cannot be said for Sarah Palin and her husband Todd’s support for the Alaska Independence Party:

Sarah Palin attacked Obama’s patriotism today over his association with former Weatherman Bill Ayers — a move that makes it perfectly legitimate to raise questions about the Palins’ associations with a group founded by an Alaska secessionist who once professed his “hatred for the American government” and cursed our “damn flag.”

In Colorado today, Palin seized on the big front-page New York Times story about Ayers and Obama, which concludes that the two men “do not appear to have been close,” to launch her most vicious attack yet on the Illinois Senator — a harbinger of what’s to come.

“This is not a man who sees America as you and I do — as the greatest force for good in the world,” Palin said. “This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”

If Palin is going to say this, it is now perfectly legitimate to point out that she repeatedly courted a secessionist group founded by someone who openly professed hatred of the American government, cursed our flag, and wanted to secede from the Union. Sarah’s husband, Todd Palin, was a member of this group, which continues to venerate that founder to this day, for years.

Via Oxdown Gazette.

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