Friday, February 29, 2008

Correspondence with Greg Sargent of The Horse's Mouth

I responded in an email to Greg Sargent of The Horse's Mouth after he inquired in his rich blog with regard the sources and thinking behind my minutes on Fox News Channel last Wednesday, February 27, when I summarized the four main political associations of Senator Barack Obama's recent political career.  Mr. Sargent was most concerned about the relationship between Mr. Obama and Professor Bill Ayers of the University of Illinois, the notorious and not unironic Weatherman of the 1970s.

I wrote in an email on February 28:


1. My TV remarks were based upon reporting available from several sources. In 1995, Ayers and his wife the also famous radical figure Bernardine Dohrn held a meet-the-candidate event at their home in Hyde Park, attended by candidate Barack Obama, Alice Palmer the outgoing 13th District senator, and several other prominent citizens.

2. Also, Ayers and Obama served on the Chicago based sixty-seven year old philanthropy Woods Fund together as directors from 1999 until Obama left the board December 11, 2002. Together they voted on several key awards to others linked to supporting Obama's campaigns, such as Rashid and Mona Khalidi, founders of Arab American Action Network. Also voted money for a project at Northwestern where Mrs Ayers works.

3. Also, Ayers and Obama appeared at several forums together over the years, associated with Chicago thought. All documented. One significant at the University of Chicago in 1997, another at the University of Illinois in 2002. Worthy and substantial.

4. Also, Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod has characterized the relationship carefully. Mentioned convivial interchange. Check the remark: "Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school. They're certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together."

(There is a wide age gap between Obama's children and Ayers' children, but this is the record.)

5. Also, Ayers is quoted in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, saying among other things, "eloquence to bombs." The full piece is deeply ironic, and it is sobering to read it and consider that this very newsprint was buried in the building. I understand that Ayers is not to be faulted for the irony, but there it is.

6. Ayers is 62. Obama is 46. This is a large enough age difference to describe the relationship as senior to junior. And while Ayers is a distinguished professor of Education at the University of Illinois, and widely known as a figure form the 1960 and 70s, at the time of their association in Chicago, Barack Obama was a Lecturer at the University of Chicago and a popular neighborhood senator who was not yet nationally successful or established.

7. Definition of mentor: 1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. 2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.

8. Here is a link to one of the pieces I have published on the recent associations of Barack Obama in Chicago politics:

8. Your observations are appreciated. And thanks for the Youtube clip. Always happy to correct the record, the language and the inquiry to suit new information and new perceptions; in this instance I am satisfied my remarks accurately represented the record so far. Living history needs many eyes.


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