The Campaign Spot

CNN: ‘Bill Ayers has never hidden the fact that he was part of the Weather Underground, part of this radical group.’

During CNN’s discussion of William Ayers from earlier today, their correspondent Drew Griffen noted, “Bill Ayers has never hidden the fact that he was part of the Weather Underground, part of this radical group.”

That’s not going to help with the “I didn’t know he was a terrorist” excuse coming from Team Obama.

Their full discussion:

PHILLIPS: Well if you didn’t know the election was less than a month away, the latest ads and attacks might be a tipoff. Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin hitting Barack Obama over his past associations with a former member of the Weather Underground. That was a band of violent left wing radicals from the 1970s, when Obama was a child. Former Underground member Bill Ayers is now a university professor who worked with the same nonprofit group that Obama did to raise money for school improvements and charity. Palin accuses Obama of — quote — “palling around with terrorists.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama says that Ayers was just someone in the neighborhood. But that’s less than truthful. His own top adviser said that they were — quote — “certainly friendly.” In fact, Obama held one of his first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers’ living room. And they’ve worked together on various projects in Chicago and these are the same guys who think that patriotism is paying higher taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Now for his part, Obama is drudging up John McCain’s role in the savings and loan collapse of the 1980s. McCain was one of the so-called Keating Five senators who intervened with regulators on behalf of an S&L owner who went to prison for fraud. Obama dismisses the Underground attacks as guilt by association.
So in a debate earlier this year, Obama described Bill Ayers as a guy who lives in my neighborhood, and with whom he served on a board. CNN investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, has been looking into the ties between the two men.
What did you find?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Surprisingly, everybody fudging the truth.
PHILLIPS: Imagine that.
GRIFFIN: I know that shocks you.
PHILLIPS: Just 29 days before the election and people fudging the truth. GRIFFIN: Yes, I think there’s a lot — I think it says a lot about the Obama campaign (INAUDIBLE) about what’s not forthcoming. Because Bill Ayers and Barack Obama worked on actually two foundations — two boards — together, both with very good ideas: improve education, send money to charities and groups working with the poor. But they both did involve Bill Ayers and Barack Obama, and that has become somewhat of a political liability.

#more#

There is Bill Ayers. Now he is not talking to anybody — anyone in the media, and hasn’t since his name came up in this campaign. But he is the person who is credited, along with a few other people, of bringing this challenge grant (ph) to Chicago and then recruiting — he was one of the people, I guess, who recruited Barack Obama as the chairman. And Barack Obama served as the chairman of that group for seven years while Bill Ayers was benefiting from the money from this foundation and while Bill Ayers was also advising the council as part of the advisory council to the (INAUDIBLE) board.
Also found out that he also did work on the Woods foundation. The Woods Foundation another charitable group that sent money to — Bill Ayers wife worked at a national justice center, sent money there, sent money to Trinity Youth Unity Church.
PHILLIPS: So you hear the word terrorist and Obama associating with terrorists. And that of course gets everybody up on — the nerves up. So is that an unfair — or untrue, should I say, statement to make?
GRIFFIN: Well Bill Ayers certainly was a domestic terrorist, according to the FBI. It was also when Barack Obama was a child. But his past is well known. And in as latest 2001, in an interview the “New York Times,” he fully admits it, he was not repentive about it. And he said he wished he could do more to stop the Vietnam War, which is what the Weather Underground was trying to do. But here’s what the Barack Obama campaign said about this, trying to link Barack Obama with Bill Ayers and anything more than a casual relationship. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANITA DUNN, SENIOR OBAMA ADVISER: What they are arguing is that somehow the fact these two people, who severed both educational reformers in Chicago, both of whom did have their paths cross professionally, as well as neighbors occasionally, that somehow this association is a problem for Barack Obama because of Bill Ayers’ past and things that happened in the 1960s when Barack Obama was 7 years old. And that’s just wrong and frankly it’s quite unfair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: That’s the spin from the Obama campaign, that what happened in the past is the past and what happened present day has nothing to do with terrorism for Bill Ayers.
PHILLIPS: OK. Point made. But when you look at his past, can Bill Ayers be linked to murder, bombings, death, destruction? GRIFFIN: Bombings for sure. The Weather Underground, of which Bill Ayers was a founding member, bombed many government buildings. Murder? That would be a stretch. He was on the run for 10 years, from 1970 to 1980. He reemerges in 1980, along with his wife. They turned themselves in and lo and behold, the case is thrown out because the FBI screwed up on gathering the intelligence. That is how he got off — quote, unquote of this — of the charges against him with that Weather Underground. So definitely.
And the other thing is, Bill Ayers has never hidden the fact that he was part of the Weather Underground, part of this radical group. In some ways it has made him somewhat famous in the South Side, Hyde Park, Chicago neighborhood where he lives.
PHILLIPS: Drew Griffin, appreciate it.

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