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Barack Obama and Bill Ayers—Two Chicago Well-Knowns

The latest thump in the revelations about Barack Obama's past associations is his connection to Bill Ayers, a well-known Chicago domestic terrorist. Obama worked with Ayers several years ago in 1995 at the beginning of his career as he was being introduced to neighborhood politics. In the circles Obama was running in, being accepted into what was known as Chicago's "radical chic" was definitely on the checklist.  The “radical chic” was a circle of wealthy anarchists opposed to the establishment in every way. In the case of Bill Ayers, organizer of the 1960’s “Weather Underground,” scion of an affluent Chicago family, we are not talking about an obscure figure. Ayers was as infamous in Chicago as Patty Hearst was in San Francisco. His wife, Bernardine Dohrn, had achieved similar notoriety in the city. The Ayers way was urban terrorism from rampaging down Chicago streets breaking car windows to plotting bombings of Army bases.

For Obama to say he was unaware that the neighbor throwing a political coffee for him was the well-known domestic terrorist whose group had helped cripple the sheriff of Cook County, and who openly and unrepentantly espoused what we would today call Al Qaeda-style bombings is most disingenuous.

Chicago is as political a town as exists anywhere in the United States. This is a city where the corpses in cemeteries are registered to vote and have been known to swing elections. Every door is a decision. Of course Obama knew who Ayers was. Of course he knew who Tony Rezko was. Of course Obama knew what Jeremiah Wright was saying. Of course Obama knew what the gangs of Chicago's south side were doing. 

It is time for Obama to come clean with himself and the American public about his long list of scandalous associations from Bill Ayers to Pastor Wright.

If Barack Obama cannot be judged on his political record, since he has a scant political record, perhaps we can judge him on his real record. And since the chief item on his record is "community organizer," something he reminds us of continuously, exactly who in the community Obama was organizing and who was organizing Obama should certainly be a dominant question in this campaign. 


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