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Bill Ayers

Along with his wife
 Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers was a 1960s leader of the homegrown terrorist group Weatherman, a Communist-driven splinter faction of Students for a Democratic Society. Characterizing Weatherman as "an American Red Army," Ayers summed up the organization's ideology as follows: "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents." In his 2001 screed Fugitive Days, Ayers boasts that he "participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972." All told, Ayers and Weatherman were responsible for some 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the United States. "I don't regret setting bombs, said Ayers in 2001, "I feel we didn't do enough." In Fugitive Days, Ayers reflects on whether or not he might use bombs against the U.S. in the future: "I can't imagine entirely dismissing the possibility," he writes.

Today Ayers is a professor of education and a Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois.

In the mid-1990s, Ayers and Dohrn hosted meetings at their Chicago home to introduce Barack Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois Senate. Ayers also contributed money to Obama’s 1996 Senate campaign.

In 1995 
Obama was appointed as the first Chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), a “school reform organization” founded by Ayers, who would later write, in his book Teaching Toward Freedom, that his educational objective was to “teach against oppression” as embodied in “America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.”

When National Review Online writer Stanley Kurtz in 2008 asked the Obama presidential campaign about the nature of its candidate's connection to Ayers, the campaign issued a statement claiming that Ayers had not been involved in the “recruitment” of Obama to the CAC board in 1995. But when Kurtz 
reviewed the CAC archives at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he found that Ayers in fact had been one of five members of a working group that assembled the initial CAC board which hired Obama.

“Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit,” Kurtz 
wrote in September 2008. “No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.” According to Kurtz, the CAC archives show that Obama and Ayers worked as a team to advance the foundation's agenda -- with Obama responsible for fiscal matters while Ayers focused on shaping educational policy. The archived documents further reveal that Ayers served as an ex-officio member of the board that Obama chaired through CAC's first year; that Ayers served with Obama on the CAC governance committee; and that Ayers worked with Obama to write CAC’s bylaws.

A September 2008 WorldNetDaily report 
offers still more details: “Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama's board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative … According to the documents, the CAC granted money to far-leftist causes, such as the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which …has done work on behalf of Obama's presidential campaign.”

WorldNetDaily reported further that “while Obama chaired the board of the CAC, more than $600,000 was granted to an organization founded by Ayers and run by Mike Klonsky, a former top communist activist. Klonsky was leader of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, which was effectively recognized by China as the all-but-official U.S. Maoist party.”

In 1999 Ayers joined the Woods Fund of Chicago, where he served as a director alongside Barack Obama until the latter left the Woods board in December 2002. In 2002 (while Obama was still on the board), the Woods Fund made a grant to Northwestern University Law School's Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was employed.

At a 2007 reunion of former members of the Weather Underground and Students for a Democratic Society, Ayerscomplained about “a kind of rising incipient American form of fascism,” and about America’s “jingoistic patriotism, unprecedented and unapologetic military expansion, white supremacy … attacks on women and girls, violent attacks, growing surveillance in every sphere of our lives … the targeting of gay and lesbian people …”

In 2008 the Obama campaign produced a “fact sheet” pronouncing Ayers and Dohrn to be "respectable" members of the "mainstream" community.

To view a comprehensive profile and numerous supplemental resources about Bill Ayers, click here.


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