Tag Archives: Bill Ayers

Ayers Airs

Crain’s is reporting that Bill Ayers will appear live on Good Morning America on Friday.


Ayers Speaks

“Ayers has avoided reporters since he became an election talking-point, scratch-pole, and general sensation,” Lynn Sweet reports. “But now he answered the door of his three-story rowhouse, and I came to join the discussion.

“Ayers is sixty-four and has earrings in both ears. He wore jeans and Riley t-shirt – Riley the kid from Doonesbury. The day was fall-bright and 50th Street was filled with fallen gold leaves.Ayers waved to neighbors and kids as they went by on the sidewalk. He was, for the first time in a long time, in an expansive mood, making clear that in all the months his name has been at the forefront of the campaign, he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn – ex-leaders of the Weather Underground and longtime educators and activists in the community – have been watching a lot of cable television, not least Fox.”

Mystery Presidential Debate Theater #3

Once again, our Mystery Debate Theater team of Tim Willette, Sir Andrew Kingsford, and Steve Rhodes got together to talk back to the TV with the outrage and insight that you’ve grown to love. Andrew brought a Connie’s cheese pizza and a six-pack Tyskie premium lager while Tim reported in via e-mail from his Wicker Park bunker, where he was nursing a knee injury and writing new death metal songs. Julia Gray, Jake Siska and Brian Rhodes contributed from our satellite offices out amongst “the people.” As always, this transcript is edited for clarity, length, comedy and sanity.


STEVE: This one is likely to be a snooze even if John McCain is desperate and needs a “game-changer.” What can he do, call Bill Ayers on his cell right there on the stage?

BRIAN: I keep hearing McCain needs a “game-changer” in tonight’s debate. Do you think he will choose the thimble instead of the race car?


TIM: SCHIEFFER: From Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, I am proud to welcome everyone to the third and final presidential debate of 2008. The first two debates covered foreign policy and domestic policy, respectively. Tonight, both candidates have agreed that they will focus entirely on character attacks and slander.


TIM: SCHIEFFER: Tonight we present the 49th and final presidential debate. I will divide the next hour and a half into nine minute segments, after which I intend to kill myself. You heard that right: I’m going to blow my brains out.


STEVE: Hofstra was founded by a lumber magnate. I’m not making that up. He was a magnate of lumber.


SCHIEFFER: Good evening. And welcome to the third and last presidential debate of 2008, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. I’m Bob Schieffer of CBS News.

By now, we’ve heard all the talking points, so let’s try to tell the people tonight some things that they haven’t heard.

STEVE: Like how Obama’s a Muslim.

SCHIEFFER: Let’s get to it.

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The Ayers Association

The New York Times on Sunday plumbed Barack Obama’s association with Bill Ayers in a front-page story that largely seemed to get it right: There is nothing unusual or particularly alarming about their relationship or the way their paths have crossed over the years. Republicans are barking up the wrong tree on this one. It might be an effective – if vile – way to scare voters, but it’s also a distraction (!) from Obama’s real pernicious relationships with the likes of Tony Rezko and Emil Jones. But you already know that.

In Chicago, Ayers remains a bit of an enigma mostly due to the fact that he’s never really apologized or denounced the violence he participated in with the Weather Underground. He was never really brought to justice, either; charges against him were thrown out due to prosecutorial misconduct.

But as the Times reports, Ayers “has largely been rehabilitated” here.

“This is 2008,” Mayor Daley told the Times. “People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life.”

Daley, as the paper explains, has long consulted Ayers on education issues, where he makes his bones now.

The contrarian voice in the article comes from Tribune columnist Steve Chapman.

“I don’t think there’s a statute of limitations on terrorist bombings,” Chapman says.

True or not, it’s a stretch to call out Obama for daring to serve on civic boards with Ayers.

“If John McCain had a long association with a guy who’d bombed abortion clinics, I don’t think people would say, ‘That’s ancient history’.”

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Mystery Convention Theater

Once again, Steve and Tim talk back to the TV.


TIM: “This year’s election is one of the most critical in our history.”

Has any politician ever said otherwise? “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for some straight talk: this election won’t make any difference. I’m not even voting, and I’m running for president!” Maybe during that string of pre-Lincoln nobodies in the mid-19th C. (Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan).

STEVE: What’s funny is the election that didn’t figure to be “critical” turned out to be the most critical of all: 2000. Everything today flows from that one.


TIM: [Re: Daschle] “I recently was fortunate to meet with Pres. Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. He couldn’t pay his staff’s salaries. He couldn’t even pay to keep the lights on. No, he didn’t have much money. He barely had enough to survive. But when he came out on stage and he was ready to play, people came alive.”


TIM: “Chain of Fools:” Inspired choice, but I think I heard the original. “Five” (vs. “for eight long years / I thought you were my man”).

STEVE: I think they thought they were hearing “Change, Change, Change . . . “


TIM: “I’m Bill Clinton, and I am reporting for boo-tay!”

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Obama’s Associates

* Should Barack Obama’s association with Bill Ayers reflect poorly on him? That’s something I’ve been trying to puzzle out ever since Obama was asked about it in the Pennsylvania debate. At first I dismissed the question as hogwash. Bill Ayers? Please. I’d much rather have had that question be about Tony Rezko – who also bothers me about a thousand times more than Jeremiah Wright.

But this piece by Tribune news researcher Brenda Kilianski in the Sunday Trib is challenging and persuasive – to us all.

* At the same time, I’m far more outraged at the lack of attention given to Obama’s far closer relationship with his self-described political mentor, State Senate President Emil Jones, a real hack’s hack who is a walking piece of one-man gridlock and antithetical to everything Obama says he stands for.

The Tribune editorial page has now embarked on a campaign against what it calls The Rod Blagojevich Protection Society, Emil Jones Chapter. It’s beyond me why Obama isn’t asked more about the crucial relationships with the hopeless and change-averse Machine that propelled his rise.

Pundit Patrol

Mark Brown: “Fresh from defending the use of town firefighters to demolish his pool house, a south suburban mayor has some more explaining to do about his home rehab project.

“The State Board of Elections is questioning about $40,000 in campaign expenditures by Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch, most of which Welch originally reported spending to remodel his campaign headquarters.

“It turns out the headquarters in question is inside Welch’s three-car garage, which he is in the process of expanding and equipping with a new kitchen and bathroom to better serve as a party and meeting room.”

John Kass: “The saga of King Rudolph the Great and his quest to build an 8-foot stone wall surrounding his gigantic castle traveled to Chicago’s City Hall on Friday.

“Chicago was once a land of bungalows. But now, more castles are cropping up, and King Rudolph’s is a doozy.”

Steve Chapman: “It’s hard to imagine he would be so indulgent if we learned that John McCain had a long association with a former Klansman who used to terrorize African-Americans. Obama’s conduct exposes a moral blind spot about these onetime terrorists, who get a pass because they a) fall on the left end of the spectrum and b) haven’t planted any bombs lately.”

Dale’s Mailbag: (near bottom) “The larger issue is the loss of faith in the system . . . We will return to documenting Gov. Blagojevich’s attack on Illinois’s outdoors in coming Sundays.”