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Author Topic: the truth behind Obama’s meteoric ascent  (Read 1520 times)
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Monkey All Star Jr.
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« on: October 13, 2008, 09:15:54 PM »

the foreign press investigates...

October 14, 2008

Before he was famous: the truth behind Obama’s meteoric ascent

Three decades after abandoning his life as a fugitive, Bill Ayers has gone underground again.

The co-founder of the Weathermen, the anti-Vietnam War group that bombed the Pentagon and US Capitol in the 1970s, has vanished as John McCain seeks to make his links to Barack Obama a central issue in the last weeks of the presidential campaign.

There was no one home when The Times visited Mr Ayers' house in a quiet street three blocks from Mr Obama's mansion in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The Education Department of the University of Illinois, where Mr Ayers works, said that he had gone on sabbatical. In response to an e-mail he stated: “I'm not available right now. Perhaps in the future. Best, Bill.” What The Times did find in Chicago, however, was widespread bemusement that Mr McCain should be putting so much emphasis on Mr Obama's tenuous links with Mr Ayers to revive his campaign.

Mr Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, another Weathermen leader, emerged from hiding in 1980 and the charges against them were dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct.


“This is Red-baiting like we haven't seen since McCarthy in the Fifties,” declared Nan Freund, Mr Ayers' neighbour for 25 years. “He's done a lot of good for education and for kids. They are wonderful neighbours. It's a ploy and it's going to get dirtier and dirtier as [the Republicans] fall farther behind.” “If you're new in politics and someone agrees to host a 'coffee' in their house so the candidate can meet people, get some volunteers and maybe some money it's very rare you'd refuse,” said Toni Preckwinkle, a black Democratic alderman [city councillor] for Hyde Park, who in other respects is quite critical of her party's nominee.

A more promising avenue for Republican investigators might be Mr Obama's eight-year career as a state politician that began with that “coffee” in Mr Ayers' house. Mr Obama seldom talks about that period, perhaps because it sits awkwardly with his image as a political reformer.

Critics say that the ambitious young senator became an astute practitioner of old-style politics and that, far from opposing Chicago's political machine, notorious for corruption and patronage, he embraced it. “I have seen no proof in Barack Obama's past that he's an agent of change or that he's a reformer,” said Delmarie Cobb, a Democratic political strategist from Chicago.


Nobody accuses Mr Obama of acting illegally or — with the possible exception of his house purchase — even improperly during his Illinois years. His defenders argue, with justification, that he did what was required of any aspiring young politician with few connections in Chicago to succeed. Some Chicagoans, however, find his present efforts to portray himself as a champion of political change a little rich. “If you fail to speak out on issues that affect people here in Chicago, what would make me feel you're going to speak out for the American people on issues of substance when you become president?”, asked Ms Cobb, the strategist. “He's a very pragmatic person,” Ms Preckwinkle said, choosing her words with care.

read the rest here -

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