What's the Straight Dope on Obama and Ayers?

Is this WSJ article accurate?

Obama makes much of having been a community organiser, but if he was a terrorist proxy that casts him in a whole new light. I’ve had a look at the Wikipedia article and am none the wiser. I know the author is a conservative, but that doesn’t necessarily make him wrong.

To answer your question, No, that article is not accurate. If you are truly interested in finding out about the relationship between Obama and Ayers, spending just a few minutes with Google will provide a plethora of information.

You can also find out a lot about Kurtz with a simple Google search.

Which of the factual assertions of the article do you believe are untrue?

Are you asserting [ul][li]That the CAC was not founded by Ayers? []That Obama was never chairman of the board? []That Ayers was never an ex officio member of the board that Obama chaired?Etc.?[/ul]If you are merely asserting that one should not draw any conclusions from what has been discovered about Obama’s background, that is one thing. If you are disputing the facts as asserted, that is another.[/li]

Kurtz’s Obama-Ayers Fishing Expedition Comes Up Empty

Not an “article”. An opinion piece, that’s why it appears on the “opinion” page. The rules for veracity, as well as the rules for slander and libel, are much different. And, my, he does love that one word, “radical”, doesn’t he? Radical Ayers, radical agendas, radical schools, radical ducks, radical trees… Enough to make you clutch your pearls and faint dead away!

You don’t need a Weatherman to know how much this blows.

When Obama was in Chicago there were over 700 murders committed. He was there at that time. That is an undeniable connection. Don’t ignore that fact.
The Rush/Hannity/Foxnews/Shodan logic is alive and well.

I think far too much has been made of Ayers by many of my political allies. That being the case, though, Obama hasn’t been upfront about his relationship with him - he minimizes his relationship in debates as that of a neighbor and doesn’t bring up at all their long working relationship in nonprofits.

I think a case could be made for swallowing your pride and working with Ayers if you have to - he’s something of a fixture. But it doesn’t seem like Obama had to swallow that pride at the time. And as I’ve said before, it is interesting that an unrepentant former bomber can be accepted by educational and liberal political circles in Chicago. If Ayers had been a clinic bomber instead, he’d be persona non grata to everyone.

Anyone denying that this is a legitimate political issue is kidding themselves - they should have known when it came up in Democratic debates that Obama had to deal with it.

Well, thanks for the cite to a blog, but I was asking about any of the factual assertions made in the article in the OP. Now (I guess) we have established that Ayers was one of the group that appointed Obama to the board. Fine - it was never in any serious dispute.

Okay, so at least one of the assertions of the article has been established. Are any of the others in dispute, or can we accept that leander’s assertion is wrong?


No. OTOH, appearing on the WSJ editorials page usually does.

Okay, then which of the factual assertions in the article are wrong?


Not an “article”. An opinion piece. Very different.

Reading that column, I think that Kurtz must know how Geraldo Rivera felt.

“Well, we have some bottles. And an old coal shovel. And… a button.”

Maybe just the part where the implication, without much fact, that a National Program that emphasized creative local solutions to education programs was somehow some subversive radical anarchist cell.

Well, we radical lefties are not fools, we did not rise to a position of absolute power by leaving evidence of our foul schemes just lying around! Today, we seize control of the Chicago school system, tomorrow, we come for your guns, and your daughters! Bwaaa-ha-ha-ha!

Damn! Shouldn’t have told you all of this. Would you mind all killing yourselves, save me a lot of trouble with the Central Committee. Thanks!

The headline:

And the concluding paragraph, if you can call that “factual assertions”:

Here, BTW, is the Obama campaign’s response (not to the editorial, but to a TV ad with substantially the same message).

OMG! They served on the same board? Get a rope! :rolleyes:

I saw Obama do a terrorist fist bump, and you can’t prove otherwise.

They Ayer’s “connection” might likewise convince the already convinced, but won’t have much traction otherwise.

So apparently you all have no issues with any of the factual assertions, but you don’t like the conclusions drawn from them. That’s fair enough - I just wanted to establish that “not accurate” meant what it usually does.


Are you suggesting that Obama, or anyone else associated with his campaign, ever denied any of the above? What is your point?

My point is that leander made the bare assertion that the article was not accurate. What we seem to have discovered is that, for those parts capable of being established as fact, it is completely accurate. You just don’t like the conclusions.