For ABC's World News on Wednesday and Thursday, Charles Gibson conducted interviews with Barack Obama and John McCain aboard the ABC News bus, but on McCain's “line of attack” against Obama he shared Obama's annoyance (“Are you going to have to address that again?”) while he pushed McCain to justify the criticism: “You're comfortable that this should be a focus in the last days of the campaign?”
With Obama in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Gibson noted how “John McCain has unloaded on you in the last 72, 96 hours, as has Sarah Palin” about how “we don't know who Barack Obama is,” but “were you surprised that he didn't bring it up last night at the debate and use that line of attack?” Gibson next cued up Obama, as if it's an unfair burden for Obama to “again” have to address Ayers: “Sarah Palin has come at you because of the Bill Ayers connection. Are you going to have to address that again?”
Talking to McCain on Thursday in Milwaukee, Gibson raised the obvious (“Does this almost monolithic focus on the economy, in the news, and in people's minds in recent weeks, hurt your campaign?”) before then treating McCain's efforts to change the subject as odd: “Why...have you focused so in what you've had to say on Senator Obama's character?” When McCain brought up Obama's level of “knowledge and judgment,” a befuddled Gibson pressed: “You don't think he's been thoroughly vetted, having gone through all the primaries he did, all the campaigning, running for President as long as you have -- two years?” As for Ayers, Gibson pushed McCain to show his own better judgment, posing the question cited above about being “comfortable” with making Obama's character an issue.
While the networks and much of the mainstream media channeled their outrage at Sarah Palin for daring to mention Barack Obama’s ties to terrorist Bill Ayers, the October 9 "Fox and Friends" featured a victim of Mr. Ayers, John Murtagh, whose home was bombed at the age of nine. Murtagh explained that the Obama-Ayers relationship goes back to the 1980's, when they met at a law firm.
Further elaborating on the activities of a Weather Underground splinter group when Obama was attending college in New York City, Murtagh editorialized "for Barack Obama to attend Columbia shortly after these events, being in New York at that time and not know who the Weather Underground was, frankly, makes him the dumbest man that ever graduated from Columbia and Harvard Law School." When Brian Kilmeade replied "we know he’s not," Murtagh agreed.
Liberal Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn argued today that while Bill Ayers violent past must be condemned, it is improper to label him as a domestic terrorist (emphases mine):
My view is that one can unequivocally condemn the campaign of destruction and bomb-setting waged by the Weather Underground and still ask whether "terrorism" is or was the right word to describe that form of violent guerrilla protest.
To me, a terrorist is one who attempts to create malleable fear in a population through random acts of mayhem; someone who uses his own amoral unpredictability to magnify the power he is attempting to exert in an effort to create change.
As noted here earlier, Joe Biden agreed with Ann Curry this morning that mentioning Obama's connections with Rev. Wright and William Ayers constituted an "ugly" tactic. Biden raised the stakes during his Early Show appearance, telling Harry Smith that daring to breathe Ayers's last name, or using Obama's middle one, is "mildly dangerous" and an "incitement."
Biden also managed work in the boast that he would be the go-to guy in an Obama administration.
You're an MSM anchor. For the last couple days, Obama spokesmen have been out there denying their candidate knew of William Ayers's terrorist past when Obama launched his political career in the Ayers living room. You now have the opportunity to interview Obama's VP running-mate. So naturally, you ask him to confirm or deny the campaign's assertion of Obama's ignorance, right?
Trick question. I did say "you're an MSM anchor." No, when Ann Curry had Joe Biden on Today this morning, she couldn't even bring herself to mention Ayers by name. Far from challenging Biden as to the truth of the campaign's denial, she teed up the notion that Sarah Palin is using "ugly" tactics by daring to raise the Obama-Ayers and Obama-Wright connections.
For the second time on Monday, ABC reporter David Wright continued to spin and justify Barack Obama's relationship with former terrorist bomber William Ayers. On the October 6 edition of "Nightline," he compared the McCain campaign's comments about the ex-domestic terrorist with the Obama team's new ads centering on the Arizona senator and the Keating 5 scandal. Wright (see file photo at right) wondered, "Which is worse, a radical terrorist who wanted to blow up the Pentagon 40 years ago or a crooked banker whose failed savings and loan had to be bailed out by the taxpayers 20 years ago?"
While discussing Ayers, a member of a violent '60s radical group that participated in 30 bombings, including the Pentagon, Wright made sure to point out: "Ayers was an early supporter of Obama's, but Obama has never condoned Ayers' politics." He even closed the segment by referring to the man, who said after 9/11 that he didn't do enough bombings, as "A former domestic terrorist who's now a respected professor." When discussing the Keating 5 savings and loan scandal, in which five senators were accused of intervening on behalf of businessman Charles Keating, Wright left out the fact that McCain was exonerated by the Senate Ethics Committee.
During a report on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin presented many of the missing details about the relationship between Barack Obama and left-wing terrorist William Ayers that two earlier "Truth Squad" reports on the network on Sunday and Monday omitted. Griffin stated that despite the spin of the Obama campaign and their mainstream media supporters, "...the relationship between Obama and Ayers went much deeper, ran much longer, and was much more political than Obama said."
Host Anderson Cooper introduced Griffin’s report, which began 19 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, as one of the CNN program’s "Keeping Them Honest" features. Oddly, a on-screen graphic that read "The Dow Plunges," which had nothing to do with the subject of the segment, ran during its entirety. The correspondent began by repeating Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn’s background in the Weather Underground, "an anti-Vietnam War group that bombed federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon." He then gave Obama’s early characterization of his relationship with the 1960's radical, that the Democrat "confirmed... that he knew Ayers, and, when pressed, said they served on a charitable foundation board together, and Obama condemned Ayers' support of violence."
What may possibly be a peek into why the mainstream media has been less than enthusiastic in investigating Barack Obama’s background and associations, Barbara Walters, on the October 7 "View," called on all to "stop slinging mud around" with Obama’s ties and also John McCain’s past ties to Charles Keating. A noticeably distressed Elisabeth Hasselbeck, possibly out of exhaustion from taking on three or four opposing voices on her own every day, exclaimed that past judgment is important and raised concern that "he says he didn’t know these people."
When Elisabeth labeled Reverend Wright a "hatemonger," Whoopi scolded Elisabeth stating "you need to stop saying he’s a hatemonger." Following Whoopi’s line, Sherri Shepherd shouted to Elisabeth’s face about some of John McCain’s past infidelities.
At the end of the segment after Barbara Walters continually harped on the lack of focus on the economy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck placed the blame on much of the financial crisis on Democrats, notably Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Joy Behar dismissed such a concern to "listening to Sean Hannity too much." Or maybe Elisabeth was listening to Alec Baldwin.
Update | Hail Halperin: See incredible video at foot. Pressed by Mark Halperin, Robert Gibbs admits Obama continued to associate with Ayers after learning his past.
H/t Melody N. An Obama spokesman adamantly insists that in 1995 Barack Obama was the most clueless man in Chicago. Andrea Mitchell thinks talk of Barack Obama's ties to an unrepentant terrorist is a "distraction." Rudy Giuliani doesn't. Mitchell is happy to take the New York Times's word for the fact that Obama and William Ayers weren't close. Rudy, not so much.
After the former NYC mayor made the case on today's Morning Joe as to why Ayers matters, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs came on, called Giuliani a liar, and flatly denied that—when beginning his political career in his living room—Obama knew Ayers was a terrorist.
In a rapid fire display of flip-flopping that would make even the staunchest of liberals proud, Newsweek's Howard Fineman manages to change his opinion on the justification of an Obama-Lincoln connection three times in just under 900 words.
The random logic is hard to see through all the gooeyness behind the concept of such a ridiculous comparison in the first place, but once you wipe the screen, you'll be able to spot it clear as day.
Fineman starts by asking himself a few questions:
Is there any reason, other than the lean frame and knack for giving good speeches, to compare the two men? Is there any reason to see in Obama a Lincoln-like ability to unite a "house divided" in our perilous times? Is that even a fair question to ask or comparison to make?
While most of us would scoff at the notion, Fineman concludes otherwise:
In a segment headlined, "The Politics of Distraction," Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," dismissed the McCain/Palin campaign's linking of Bill Ayers to Barack Obama. Matthews conjured a scenario where the GOP was trying to use Obama's tie to Ayers, his middle name of "Hussein," and his donor list to turn Obama into "a man of dangerous mystery."
I see an attempt, over the last seven days, to tie three points together in the thinking of older voters, especially, so that they can have a mystery about Barack Obama they hadn't had last week. One, this question of Bill Ayers, the Weathermen, back 10 years or so in Chicago politics or Chicago organizing politics. Two, his middle name Hussein. And three, the question of who his donor list includes? I think they're putting this together by demanding that donor list. They're trying to build the case that he's a man of mystery. That, not that he's a street corner guy from the ghetto but that he's somehow maybe connected to terrorism because of this past association with a terrorist. With his middle name being Hussein, which I predicted last week, everybody it's, everybody I talked to, it was coming out. And third this donor list game. They are trying to make him a man of dangerous mystery because they can't beat him on the standard issues of this election.
CNN’s so-called Truth Squad, in two reports on Sunday and Monday by two different correspondents, labeled Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "false" for stating that Barack Obama "sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country." The Squad, in their "fact-checking" of the Alaska governor, who was making a reference to left-wing terrorist William Ayers, obfuscated Obama’s past connections to the former leader of the Weather Underground. The Squad’s reports, which aired on CNN’s Sunday Morning program and on Monday’s American Morning, also left out key details about the Democratic presidential candidate’s past with Ayers.
The network first made an attempt at "fact-checking" Palin’s statement, which she made at a campaign rally in Carson, California, near the beginning of the 7 am hour of their Sunday Morning program. Anchor T.J. Holmes, after a report by Don Lemon on the Alaska governor’s claim, gave a brief look at the Obama/Ayers connection. "Well, nobody's exactly sure how well Bill Ayers and Barack Obama know each other. The New York Times, CNN, other news organizations have looked into this, found that they apparently did not have a very close relationship, it appears." Well, that’s about as clear as Mississippi River mud, and one might guess that Holmes was asking his audience to take the word of two liberal media outlets.
With the McCain campaign’s new offensive on Barack Obama and his ties with William Ayers, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg, on the October 6 edition, suggested McCain is playing this card out of desperation and using the same failed tactics of Hillary Clinton.
Discussing Ayers, Whoopi "assume[d] that he rehabilitated himself." When Elisabeth Hasselbeck, outnumbered three to one, reminded that panel that Ayers expressed regret in 2001 that he had not done more, Sherri Shepherd wagged her finger in Elisabeth’s face lecturing "no you don’t Elisabeth." Shepherd retorted that Ayers’ remarks were not about September 11, something already known, but do they make Ayers’ lack of remorse any more defensible?
Barbara Walters, for her part, called such campaign tactics "smears" even as Elisabeth asserted that they are not smears, but true. Walters, also added that attacks on McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal was a smear as well and such attacks distract us for the many challenges the United States faces.
ABC reporter David Wright continued his sympathetic spinning for Senator Barack Obama on Monday's "Good Morning America" and assailed Governor Sarah Palin. He complained, "Last night in Omaha, Sarah Palin not only questioned Obama's patriotism...she accused him of consorting with terrorists." And while Wright explained briefly Palin's observation that Obama has been associated with William Ayers, a former member of the violent Weather Underground, he downplayed the connection.
After describing Palin's comment as accusing Obama of "consorting with terrorists," Wright later described the remarks as "guilt by association." The journalist then quoted a McCain representative, "...They say, Barack Obama has been fundamentally dishonest about his work with an unrepentant terrorist. That's the quote from the McCain campaign." However, it'sWright who was being misleading in treating the McCain/Palin statements as an accusation. It's a simple fact: William Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist. In 2001, speaking of his 30 bombings, including attacks on the Pentagon, he said, "I feel we didn't do enough." And yet, in a follow-up segment, Wright described Palin's speech as "sticking in the knife" He closed the first piece by solemnly intoning, "The mud is really starting to fly here and whoever can make the mud stick, well, that person may be the winner a month from now."
Now that Sarah Palin has made Barack Obama's history with William Ayers front and center in the campaign the mainstream media is doing their best to ignore some of the more explosive aspects of Ayers' past. On Monday's "Today" show NBC's Andrea Mitchell merely identified Ayers as a "sixties radical" and cited the New York Times as dismissing the Obama connection as, "the two men do not appear to have been close."
As the following excerpt shows, Mitchell conveniently forgot to mention the reason Palin and others regard Ayers as a terrorist, the fact the he, as a part of the Weather Underground, actually bombed police stations and the Pentagon.
Palin was referring to William Ayers, a sixties radical, now a Chicago education professor. In 1995 Ayers hosted a coffee for Obama, then a state senate candidate. The New York Times reported this weekend that, "the two men do not appear to have been close." And the Obama campaign says they have not spoken since Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Good thing Nancy Pfotenhauer wasn't in the same studio with Harry Smith this morning. The Early Show anchor might have broken out his hickory stick. Like a hectoring school marm, Smith scolded McCain adviser Pfotenhauer for what he deemed her insufficient citation of a New York Times article tracing Barack Obama's affiliation with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers.
Wagging a stern finger at Pfotenhauer across the airwaves, Smith repeatedly interrupted her, demanding "what was the conclusion, what was the conclusion?"
The Associated Press has long been a bastion of liberal bias. But has it now sunk to the level of a left-wing blog in the throes of Palin Derangement Syndrome? Yes, suggests the Morning Joe folks. In a rare bit of unanimity, the panel condemned and ridiculed AP for its "analysis" item, "Palin's words carry racial tinge." According to Douglass K. Daniel, the item's author, Palin's criticism of Barack Obama for his association with Ayers somehow carries "a racially tinged subtext." See Warner Todd Huston's earlier discussion here.
Mika Brzezinski questioned the strategic wisdom of the McCain campaign's playing of the Ayers card, but even she joined in the excoriation of the AP.
The mainstream media is going through another one of their meltdown moments as they rush to defend Barack Obama from his relationship with American terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. (plural)
John Stephenson of Newsbusters detailed CNN's supposed fact check that came in response to a speech that Sarah Palin gave. In that speech Palin did the job the mainstream media refuses to do by mentioning the words terrorists, relationships and Barack Obama in a single sentence while referring to the former Weather Underground leaders.
In rushing to Barack Obama's defense CNN slipped the following into the end of their fact check:
The McCain campaign did not respond Saturday to a request for elaboration on Palin's use of the plural "terrorists."
Well excuse me, but why should they? If CNN doesn't know that Bernardine Dohrn was a leader of the Weather Underground while they were bombing federal buildings and police stations why should the McCain campaign give CNN the legitimacy of a real news organization by providing a response?
Obama’s unbreakable friendship with the unrepentant, America hating terrorist William Ayers of the Weather Underground is probably one of the most important things America needs to know about Barack before voting day. The media have done well in pretending this is not an issue, and acting as if this does not bring serious questions about Obama’s judgement. The media want this controversial relationship to be swept under the rug.
Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, finally played the Ayers card. CNN were quick to the defense in what they had the gall to call a “fact check”.
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.
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” because of an old association with a former ’60s radical, stepping up an effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters. [...] Palin’s reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the Vietnam War era. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, served on a charity board with Ayers several years ago and has denounced his radical views and activities. [...] The Republican campaign, falling behind Obama in polls, plans to make attacks on Obama’s character a centerpiece of candidate John McCain’s message in the final weeks of the presidential race.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos clearly had John McCain's houses on his mind Sunday, for during the latest installment of "This Week," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's real estate holdings were discussed with every guest.
What Stephanopoulos may not have expected was Time's Mark Halperin claiming that "this is going to end up being one of the worst moments in the entire campaign for one of the candidates, but it's Barack Obama."
Adding delicious insult to injury, much to Democrat strategist Donna Brazile's dismay, Halperin saw the Obama campaign's attack on McCain not knowing how many houses he owns as opening the door for the Arizona senator to bring up the Illinois senator's connections to Tony Rezko, Reverend Wright, and William Ayers (video embedded right, partial transcript follows):
John McCain has many, many, many faults -chief among them that he is at best a lukewarm conservative- but whatever his shortcomings the Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war is not in the habit of clinking champagne glasses over brie with living, breathing, remorseless terrorist traitors who continue to seethe with hatred for the United States.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, doesn't have a problem with such people until he gets nailed on it. In fact, Obama has a close personal relationship with a man who did everything in his power to hurt John McCain and other U.S. personnel serving in Vietnam.
Reporter Jake Tapper provided some refreshing balance to ABC's "Nightline" on Wednesday with a snarky, sarcastic look at the people least likely to be chosen as vice president by Barack Obama. He presented a top ten list that included many controversial figures that Democrats would rather ignore. (One such person was Tony Rezko, whose corruption conviction was only mentioned in passing on the show.) Tongue firmly planted in cheek, he speculated, "Number ten would logically be Reverend Wright who would bring energy to the ticket and would be great in a traditional vice presidential role as attack dog. But just who would he attack?" Tapper then cut to a clip of the reverend damning America.
After mentioning Chicago professor William Ayers and how he could be a comfortable VP choice, someone that Obama knows well, Tapper sarcastically noted, "On the minus side, Ayers used to be a fugitive as a member of the domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground, so he might not pass the vetting process." Highlighting Congressman William Jefferson and Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as "Obama's indicted super delegates," the ABC journalist mused, " By waiting until the last minute to announce their support for Obama, they showed their loyalty, which is a pro. On the con side, they could soon be cons."
There is a huge blogswarm going on about this photo, from Chicago Magazine, of Obama's unrepentant terrorist associate, Bill Ayers stomping on the American flag. The photo was taken in 2001, the same time Barack Obama served on the Woods Fund Board with Ayers. This was also the same time that Ayers donated to Obama's campaign.
Marathon Pundit has similar photo, and many political bloggers are saying it long past due for Obama to disown his association with this controversial radical.
The question that remains is, will the media pick this up or will they write it off as old news? Its worthy of recycling this to further probe into Obama's judgement, the one thing he says he should be measured by.
NBC's "Today" show invited on "Newsweek International" editor Fareed Zakaria to promote his book "The Post-American World," on Monday's show and during his segment the author depicted the United States as a nation in decline as he declared the "era" of "'American exceptionalism' is over."
As examples of America's declining standing in the world the "Newsweek" editor cited such facts as China now having the "Largest ferris wheel in the world," Minneapolis' "Mall of America" no longer being the largest in the world and Macau having surpassed Las Vegas in the size of their casinos.
The following is the full interview as conducted by co-host Meredith Vieira, as it occurred on the May 5, "Today" show:
Appearing on the April 29 edition of "The View," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proved his intellectual superiority to Joy Behar punching holes in her very shallow debate points. Also, in discussing the ongoing Reverend Wright controversy, Whoopi Goldberg placed Billy Graham in league with Wright and Louis Farrakhan. [audio version of embedded video available here]
In challenging Newt Gingrich’s assertion that there’s a sympathy on the far left for America haters such as William Ayers, Behar inquired, "there’s no romance going on between the hard right of this country and Saudi Arabia let’s say?" Gingrich swiftly answered "the hard right in this country deeply dislikes Saudi Arabia as the source of Wahabbist funding."
Bill Ayers, a former radical leader turned academic and school reformer, has never been hesitant to speak his mind.
Although there has been no public response from him since his ties to Barack Obama — the two neighbors served on a charity board together for three years — were brought up during last week's Democratic debate, Ayers said Wednesday that he has a good reason for his silence.
Weather Underground leader turned-academic William Ayers is now so docile that it never really "bothered anyone in Chicago," that Sen. Barack Obama had any connection to him, wrote Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet in the April 18 paper. Along those same lines the Washington Post's Peter Slevin argued that the '60s radical was now "considered so mainstream" in Chicago "that [Mayor Richard] Daley issued a statement on Thursday praising him as a 'distinguished professor of education' and a 'valued member of the Chicago community.'"
But while he may have forsaken violence long ago, as his blog attests, Ayers's politics are far from mainstream, and go far beyond the standard Democratic arguments to withdraw from Iraq. For example, Ayers wants to pay reparations in Iraq AND Afghanistan and practically withdraw the U.S. military from the entirety of the Middle East, even in countries that have longstanding security arrangements with the U.S.
Taken from an April 13 blog post titled originally enough, "End the War" (emphasis mine):