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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On Character Assassination

This from Daily Kos
Tue Oct 07, 2008 at 10:11:20 AM PDT

Uh-oh...Ayers won't work anymore (There goes the kitchen sink, I guess here comes the table)...Some republicans from Chicago are saying what most of us knew all along. Bill Ayers was a commonly acceptable figure in Chicago by everyone--Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans. Are they all America hating, terrorist loving traitors to America?!

Yesterday, NPR did a short piece on Obama and Ayers. In fact, this NPR piece speaks to the Republican funded cause that Obama and Ayers worked on together. And that:

"It was never a concern by any of us in the Chicago school reform movement that he had led a fugitive life years earlier," said former Illinois state Republican Rep. Diana Nelson, who worked with both Obama and Ayers over the years. "It's ridiculous. There is no reason at all to smear Barack Obama with this association."

First, Obama began working with Ayers and others (Republicans, Independents, and Democrats) at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Well, what is the Annenberg Challenge? Who is Annenberg? Well according to NPR,

"The Obama campaign says he first met Ayers in 1995, when Obama became chair of the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million fund that awarded grants to groups trying to implement new programs to improve inner city education in Chicago.

Walter Annenberg, a lifelong Republican and former ambassador who was appointed by Presidents Nixon and Reagan, funded an ambitious program to reform urban education in many cities in the mid 1990s. Ayers was an important member of the group that developed and wrote the grant proposal to the Annenberg Foundation."

Second, there were people of all political persuasions working on this effort with this "terrorist" Ayers and who saw him as acceptable and Obama was no closer than any of the others.

"...no one on the board or on the Annenberg Challenge staff remembers Obama being any closer to Ayers than to any other member of the board. The Annenberg board also included several civic, business and education leaders, many of them Republicans..."

In fact one person close to the issue states:

"I don't remember ever hearing anyone raise concerns or questions or concerns about [Ayers'] background," says Anne Hallett, who has worked closely with Ayers on the Annenberg Challenge grant and with Obama on education and other community and legislative matters. "And that included everybody I was engaged with," including prominent Republicans, and corporate and civic leaders in Chicago, Hallett adds.

Oh, really?!

And finally, the author notes:

Hallett calls this attack on Obama's association with Ayers and the Annenberg Challenge by further association, "a smear campaign. It's a political diatribe that has no basis in fact. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was an extremely positive initiative. It was well-vetted, thorough, and the fact that it is now is being used for political purposes is, in my opinion, outrageous."

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