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Michelle Obama, Bernardine Dohrn, and Sidley & Austin



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A quick follow-up to Andy McCarthy’s intriguing and provocative essay exploring when and how Barack Obama and Bill Ayers really first met:

Michelle Obama joined Sidley & Austin as an associate in the fall of 1988.  She had previously been a summer associate at Sidley & Austin—evidently in the summer of 1987.

According to Wikipedia, Bernardine Dohrn worked for Sidley & Austin from 1984 to 1988, while she unsuccessfully sought admission to the New York and Illinois bars.  (According to Sidley’s managing partner, Dohrn didn’t get admitted to the bar because “She wouldn’t say she’s sorry” for her acts of domestic terrorism.)  It appears that Dohrn first worked in Sidley’s New York office, and then in its Chicago office.

Did Michelle Obama and Bernardine Dohrn work together?  Did they know each other at Sidley?  When and how did they come to know each other?

I don’t mean to suggest by these questions that there’s any reason to conclude that Barack Obama and Bill Ayers met through their wives.  As Andy suggests, it’s quite possible that they met earlier in New York.  Another alternative, as Steve Diamond speculates, is that Obama and Ayers may have worked together during a battle over reform of Chicago’s public schools in 1987 and 1988 (before Barack met Michelle).



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