Barack Obama’s supporters have trivialized his connections to former Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood," Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on April 16. Campaign strategist David Axelrod told CNN Monday that Obama "certainly didn’t know the history" of these two barbarians when they hosted a reception for him when he launched his political career.
Obama might not have heard of Ayers and Dohrn’s brutality from the ’60s through the ’80s had they merely tossed a rock or two in anger. But these two went much, much farther.
In 1970, Ayers encapsulated the Weathermen’s worldview: "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents." In his 2001 memoir, "Fugitive Days," Ayers brags that he helped blast NYPD headquarters in 1970, the U.S. Capitol in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972.
Dohrn was an equally stalwart subversive. In July 1969, while John McCain languished in the Hanoi Hilton, Dohrn and five other Weathermen flew to Cuba to conspire with the National Liberation Front, America’s North Vietnamese enemies. Dohrn was on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called her "the most dangerous woman in America."
Throughout the 1970s, under Ayers and Dohrn’s leadership, the Weathermen blasted the State Department, Gulf Oil’s Pittsburgh headquarters, and New York’s Queens Courthouse, among at least 16 targets.
Thankfully, one particular bomb detonated early. Three Weathermen fatally blew themselves up in March 1970 while building it in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The Weathermen wanted the nail-filled device to explode at New Jersey’s Fort Dix Army base during a non-commissioned officers’ dance. Soldiers, their spouses, and dates would have been maimed and likely killed. As Ayers said, the bomb would have ripped "through windows and walls and, yes, people too."
No wonder Obama has been so evasive about his ties to Ayers and Dohrn. His relationship with these extreme Leftists goes far beyond waving at some folks who live nearby. It defies belief that Obama never learned that Ayers and Dohrn hated the USA and loved TNT.
Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Ayers inaugurated. They jointly attended at least seven of that charity’s top-level oversight meetings between March 1995 and September 1997. They jointly met a dozen times as board members of Chicago’s Woods Fund between December 1999 and December 2002. They appeared together on two academic panels in 1997 and 2002. Obama concisely reviewed one of Ayers’ books in the Chicago Tribune.
Ayers and Dohrn invited Windy City liberals into their living room to meet Obama when he began his 1995 State Senate run. Ayers donated $200 to re-elect Obama in 2001.
These considerable ties might be irrelevant if Ayers and Dohrn regretted their actions. But they are far from remorseful.
"I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough," Ayers said in an interview published September 11, 2001 — while Obama knew Ayers. That August, Ayers posed for a Chicago Magazine photo in which he stomped on an American flag crumpled in the dirt. Headline: "No regrets."
"We’d do it again," Dohrn told ABC in 1998. "I wish that we had done more. I wish we had been more militant."
If these facts are news to Obama, he must be the most oblivious man on Chicago’s South Side. But if he knew about Ayers and Dohrn’s background, he is being untruthful about it. At the very least, Obama showed dreadful judgment by closely and repeatedly associating with these violent traitors.
Obama today calls Ayers’ behavior "detestable acts." But what did Ayers and Dohrn see in Obama? What inspired these unrepentant, hard-Left bomb throwers to hand the chairmanship of Ayers’ foundation and then share their home and friends with the charismatic then-35-year-old whose current 95.5 percent Left-wing vote record made him The National Journal’s "Most Liberal Senator In 2007?"
(Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock(at)gmail.com)