You are hereBlogs / John Martin's blog / William Ayers: Funded by Republicans

William Ayers: Funded by Republicans

By John Martin - Posted on 09 October 2008

The more the McCain campaign tries to tie Barack to William Ayers, the more ridiculous they look.  But hey-- at least the economy is doing well!

After his stupid, youthful days with the Weather Underground organization, William Ayers became a normal, productive member of society.  After receiving his PhD in the 1980's, he became a professor of education at the University of Illinois, wrote 15 books, and served as an advisor to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.  As Daley told the New York Times recently, "He's done a lot of good things in this city and nationally...  This is 2008.  People make mistakes.  You judge a person by his whole life."

In 1995, Bill Ayers was part of a team that helped create the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an education reform project that worked with half of Chicago's public schools.  Barack Obama, then working as an attorney and law school professor, was elected chairman of the eight-member board of the CAC.  The board included individuals of diverse political backgrounds, including Ray Romero, the President of Ameritech; Stanley Ikenberry, the former President of the University of Illinois; and Republican Arnold Weber, who had served in the Nixon White House.

Arnold Weber

Arnold Weber-- Republican.  Donated to John McCain.  Worked with William Ayers 

In their best efforts to portray Barack as out of the mainstream, some on the right have tried characterizing the Chicago Annenberg Challenge as a dangerous fringe organization.  What they do not discuss is the fact that the CAC was funded by a foundation belonging to Walter Annenberg, the billionaire Republican philanthropist who served as Richard M. Nixon's ambassador to the U.K.  Annenberg and his wife, Leonore, gave the CAC $50 million in the 90's.


The Annenbergs-- Republicans.  Bankrolled William Ayers with $50 million 

But Walter and Leonore weren't just giving money to educational foundations started by William Ayers.  They were also giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican National Committee and various other Republican groups, as well as to a whole host of Republican candidates, including the following:

  • George W. Bush       $4000
  • Mitt Romney       $5000
  • Strom Thurmond       $1000
  • Fred Thompson       $500
  • Rick Santorum       $3000


Rick Santorum-- former Republican Senator.  Received $3000 from Ayers' backers.

Why would billionaire Republican philanthropists give millions of dollars to a program that was working with William Ayers?  Why would George W., Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and all those other Republicans accept money from the people who were funding this William Ayers-associated group?  Why won't McCain discuss these connections between the Republican Party and Ayers?

Here's the icing on the cake: just yesterday, the McCain campaign put out a press release bragging about the fact that Leonore Annenberg has endorsed him for president.  Yes, you heard it-- a McCain backer bankrolled William Ayers with millions of dollars.

More icing: You know that Republican Arnold Weber I mentioned earlier?  The one that served on the board of the CAC with Barack?  Not only did he work with William Ayers in the 90's, he has also donated at least $1000 to the McCain campaign.  That's right-- McCain is accepting money from associates of William Ayers, and so far has not given the money back.

I'm feeling a little cheated.  Months ago I was promised an October surprise.  It's already October 9th, and all I've heard is that Barack knows a guy who's been working with McCain supporters and Republicans since the mid 90's.

It irritates me to no end that as far as I've seen only Keith Olbermann has picked up on this, especially since I just heard that McCain/Palin today launched another web attack about it.
I look forward to Keith kicking asses and calling names.
Michelle Obama talked about this last night for a split second on Larry King. That was so dumb on their part to bring this up, but I guess as long as the asses at their rallies believe what they are saying their purpose is fulfilled.

And guess what????The widow endorsed McCain yesterday.  Maybe she did that on purpose too to remind people who the Annenberg were and their relationship with the Republican party.

I will not throw the first punch, but I will certainly throw the last...BHO

Please, John, get this out to MSMs!


Couldn't have don't it without you, W.  It's been passed on to a few places.


Talk about going around the barn to tie McCain to Mr.  Ayers!  You're as bad as the Republicans.  Let's all chill over this Ayers thing can we?  Don't pop a button over this.  Listen, the 60's (for anybody who lived through it) were turbulent and heady times.  Ayers was a cult hero to many of us, because the establishment wasn't listening.  He did what he could to bring the wrongs of the military/industrial establishment out from the dark shadows of political back rooms and expose it for what it was.  As far as I'm concerned the best thing for Senator Obama to do is stop the "duck and cover" with this Ayers thing.  I'm sure he knew about Ayer's associations long before he lets on, but so what.  There's not a young liberal among us who, particularly afther the Kent State shooting, did not view the Weather Underground and their tactics as legitimate considering the temperment of the times.  For once and for all stop trying to hide from him and embrace him.  His ideals are the same that fuel Senator Obama and many of us in his campaign.

Wrong. I was a fervent anti-Vietnam War protestor, took part in several marches and protests, even yelled "pig" when I saw a cop beating on a young man just sitting on the grass at the University of Minnesota in 1972.  I never, ever believed in violence or denigrating the service of people in the military. Although opposed to the war I thought Jane Fonda's actions in Hanoi were treasonous.  You cannot lump all young liberals as supporting violence at that time!

Dear Minngirl:

Shouting "pig," marching in protest and even being from Minnesota (thanks for Garrison Keillor though) doesn't make you a liberal.  You might have been young but not to fret, I doubt I'd ever classify you anywhere near the L word, because you have missed the whole point of my commentary.  We're likely on the same page, however, in terms of our support for Senator Obama so let's just leave it at that.

John, I believe this post is wonderful fact-foder for a new Obama Ad.

We might just see "Lipstick on McCain" yet! ;)  


I, for one, don't think domestic terrorists are to be applauded or lionized. I just think that Ayers being associated with Republicans who support McCain/Palin is a different issue. It's the pot calling the kettle black.


I agree with you, wcolin - that is exactly the point! 


It's a stretch - it's a huuuge stretch.  My point is who cares.  The only people who will feed off of this will be the Republicans who intend to vote for McCain anyways.  By the way, when the Ohio National Guard shot at students who were peacefully protesting wounding several and killing four, you better believe that many of us thought our democracy was in peril, and just like the militias who took up arms against the British, some felt that taking up arms was the only way to get our democracy back on track.  What Mr. Ayers did was wrong but understand the times before you dismiss it and label it as domestic terrorism.  We are not talking about a racially fueled Timothy McVeigh here.  We're talking about people who loved their country enough to sacrifice the status quo.  It was our era's "fierce urgency of now."

"We are not talking about a racially fueled Timothy McVeigh here.  We're talking about people who loved their country enough to sacrifice the status quo.  It was our era's "fierce urgency of now."

TR, I am not a liberal.  I'm a moderate Republican (soon-to-be Independent) who is disgusted that my party has been taken over by a bunch of nutjobs.  However, I do agree with your point regarding Timothy McVeigh (a TRUE terrorist against our country) versus Bill Ayers and how they are very different. 

I was born in in Ohio in 1965 and was only 4 years old when Bill Ayers and Co. were partaking in their radical behavior - but it was a crazy time.   I actually remember the Kent State incident, it was THAT big of a deal (and I was very, very young.)  It was discussed A LOT at the time.  I can see how some people might have seen that incident as frightening and fascist. 

I was 30 years old when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building... his motive, if I remember, was that he disagreed with how the government handled Ruby Ridge and Waco... if I'm not mistaken, he was fueled by the propaganda of the right-wing militias. 

I do think this is an important point for those who think Obama's association with Bill Ayers is "shady" and "telling" of who the Senator "really is."  

The fact is, he was simply involved in making Chicago's public education system a better place for the children who didn't have a choice in where they attended school.  I find that admirable and is one of the reasons I'm voting for him.

Welcome to RFO, btw. :)

Total genius - - More than excellent research John. 

Obama/Biden 2008

Great research, John! 


RFO Outreach Coordinator

The enemy of "the best" is not "the worst." The enemy of "the best" is "good enough."

While I don't like dredging up the guilty-by-association stuff, the McCain campaign decided to go there.  Turnabout is fair play, as they say.

In addition to the Annenberg to Ayers to McCain connection, there's another, more direct connection that no one seems to be talking about: McCain's connection to G. Gordon Liddy.  McCain adores Liddy and has appeared on his radio show as recently as May of this year, and Liddy has donated thousands of dollars to McCain's campaigns over the years.

For those who aren't familiar with G. Gordon's fun times, here's a taste:

  • Convicted in Watergate break-in
  • Convicted of break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsburg's psychiatrist (Ellsburg was the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers)
  • Stated he was willing to kill someone during that break-in
  • Liddy plotted to murder journalist Jack Anderson but was overruled
  • Plotted to firebomb the Brookings Institute
  • Advocated the murder of ATF agents during the Branch Davidian seige 

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.


Stop it!!! I feel like I'm logged into Youtube.  Liddy was a putz.  So McCain likes a putz - big deal.  You people are getting out of sorts over nothing.  Take the high road here.  There's not an Obama supporter out there who cares about this!

If it causes causes Obama to lose the election they do.

Welcome to RFO, btw.  Part of what we do here is point out Republican hypocrisy.  So far, the "worst" thing McCain has said about Barack is that he has worked with Bill Ayers.  Unfortunately, there are millions of voters who have been led to believe that Barack is dangerous because he's been associated with this guy.

I personally hate that we have to call the McCain campaign out for trying to fool Americans.  I started this post by making a joke to point out how we weren't paying attention to the sinking economy because of this nonsense.

How are you going to feel if Barack loses a close race, and part of the reason is because the McCain campaign is successful in tricking enough people into thinking that Bill Ayers is still someone to be suspicious of?

Excuse me for being so blunt, but you seem to suffer from the same confusion that Democrats always suffer from.  They lost the presidency in '88 and in '04 because they let the Republicans define them.  In both cases, the Democratic candidate said "oh, the American people don't care about these false Republican attacks."  I think you realize what happened in both instances.

I am with John here. We can't afford to let a liar like McCain define Obama as something that he is obviously not. Lets just tone it down, and concentrate on getting Barack elected.

By the way. Welcome to you TR.


TR -- I appreciate your P.O.V., and I actually agree with you about Ayers and the motives behind his actions.  In fact (dare I say it?): if the Bush trend continues, and the Supreme Court ends up deciding this electionand peaceful protestors are arrested, and nothing about today actually CHANGES... then some might be feel forced to take actions similar to Ayers.  That would be a pity for our country. I like to think that we can change things without violence, but I would understand the motives completely if activists took action.

The frustration over the Ayers thing -- for me, anyway -- is not Ayers himself, but McCain's/Palin's use of fearmongering to work their crowds into frenzies.  Those people scare me.  My tirade about the putz Liddy is born out of the anger (based in fear) over the hypocrisy.

But your points are well-taken. 

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.

Hi TR, I want to welcome you to RFO.  But I know one Obama supporter who cares....ME!  Taking the high road got Kerry where???  (Maybe because we are Republicans we see things differently. ;-)  Why should we stand silently by and allow McCain to throw his version of molotov cocktails at our camp, and not do what we can to put out the fire?  If it takes throwing thier fiery bombs right back at them, so be it.

Hey Suzi:

Not sure I understand the logic, and forgive me if I seem obtuse about this.  I just believe Senator Obama's ideals and purpose have strength enough to stay above the fray and in doing so add credence to the movement whose appeal was in a call to unite.  His campaign was strong enough on substance and organized enough to overcome a finely oiled Clinton machine that threw everything at him.  Do we really think the same elements that worked in his favor to defeat Senator Clinton can not overcome a less formidable opponent in Senator McCain?

Actually, I'm going to have to agree with Suzi on this.  Sometimes even the best and most honorable fighters need to kneecap their opponents.  But I don't know that I believe that calling someone out on their hypocrisy is actually playing dirty.  If anything, I think it is just playing smart poker.  "I see your BS, and I raise you the truth."

Wow! You certainly have earned your Republican stripes!!  I'm sorry to see that this type of divisiveness among Obama supporters.  All it serves to do is alienate the people who we are trying to attract.  People look to Senator Obama as an alternative to "politics as usual."  If they see it's not being lived up to here, where are they to go.  When the dust settles and Barack Obama is our next president, just remember that the opposite side of the coin is still the same coin.

Whatever with you.  Here's a funny... I'm not a Republican.  I'm not a Democrat.  I am an independent voter.  I can think what I want when I want and how I want.  I don't need you or anyone else to agree with me or tell me what to think.

Here is a newsflash:  just because someone disagrees with your opinion, it does not by definition mean that you are right or wrong or that the other person is right or wrong.  We just simply have different opinions.

Here is a second newsflash:  no matter what you think, I think, what Suzi thinks, or what any of us post on a random board on the internet, it isn't going to matter to what the Obama campaign decides to do.  I'm pretty positive that they don't check every post that you or I write on an internet board and take our advice on how to manage the campaign.

And concerning your point about divisiveness among Obama supporters:  do you really think that we are a totally homogenous group who agree on everything all the time?  We are adults enough to each have our own points of view even if you do not think that we should.

Your naivete is kind of cute, though.

It's like the old political proverb

"If you don't stop lying about us, we won't tell the truth about you."

I think in the next debate Obama needs to say to McCain, "Look me straight in the eye, and tell me what it is you want to say, my friend."

THAT would be a moment, indeed!  (From your lips to Obama's ears... ;)

TR...we're all on the same side.  We are working hard to elect Barack Obama.  Most of us here work phone banks, registration drives, donate etc.   But we are all individuals, with our own thought processes and our own opinions.  Yours obviously differs, and that's fine.  But as we are all Obama supporters, I am having difficulty understanding why you find it necessary to come in and criticize each of our thoughts.  My guess is that is it your liberal partisanship that has difficulty accepting anything Republican or conservative.  That is another thing Obama wants us to rise above.  Your methods could serve to alienate others too.  As Republicans, we are the ones that are stepping up and flipping that coin.


Whoa, let's back up here.  Not once, in any of my posts, have I thrown anybody's ideals under the bus.  Yes I've given dissenting viewpoints but overall, I am simply trying to state the importance of holding fast to Senator Obama's original calls for unity.  Yes, you can pin the liberal label on me; it's well deserved.  But after years of scraping against the conservative agenda, it was Senator Obama's appeals to end the partisanship and "politics as usual" that attracted me to his campaign.   I'm an old soul - an "Eisenhouer Republican," and I was attracted to this site because I was intrigued by his appeal to Republicans of today, and I endeavored to find more rational discussion outside the the rabble of youtubesque thought.    I had guessed that Senator Obama's appeal to Republicans might lie along the lines of the dismantling of old political divisive lines.  For Me, either you buy into Senator Obama's vision of unity or you don't.  Senator Obama has the strength of character to carry this "center" of harmony into policy.  He has been true to his creed thus far, and that's what will get him elected.  The bickering, dirty pool and party politicking of old end with his election.  In the end, no matter, whether you have or have not bought into this central theme yet, we'll all be clinging to it when he is elected.  My apologies to anyone who may have received my commentaries as criticism, because it was the opposite that was intended.  I guess my exuberance over the impending presidency of a man who will bring this country together again got the best of me, and I failed to see how my comments might be interpreted.  From an old liberal who just wants us all to "get along" (in my lifetime):  Best wishes to all, and we'll see you all along the campaign trail.


It is just obvious that McCain knows his campaign is in danger and he is grasping at straws....


I respectfully disagree with you on this.  This republican "guilt by association" garbage has to end now with THIS candidate, Senator Barack Obama, who in 2004 rose above the fetid propoganda of both parties to declare the importance for all Americans (red & blue states) to unite in one visison.  It has to end with him because it's his creed, his calling card and within his unique grasp to succeed.  Man, the only people this ill-advised tactic will fool are the ones who still want to insist he is Muslim or that he was sworn in to office on a Koran.  I also vaguely recall that these same "guilt by association" tactics were levied at President Clinton (and all it did was get him elected -- twice).  The 88 and 04 elections bare no comparison here.  Dukakis and Kerry (like Mondale in 84) were simply old establishment candidates who along with the party believed it was their turn.  All I'm saying is let it go.  The only way it gains substance is if it looks like it bothers the Obama campaign - then people start to think there's more to it.  I think we all need to go back to the genesis of Senator Obama's inspirational journey - his 2004 convention speech - and remember why we are here.  Nobody will be convinced to vote for Senator Obama based upon how much mud we can sling back at Senator McCain.  They might, however, be convinced of our resolve if we turn the other cheek, grab our idealogical opposites by the hand and embrace the "fierce urgency of now" with or without them.

i don't know what to think.  it's turning out Obama has suspicious assocations with dangerous republicans who shoot themselves in the foot!   Sneaky guy!  :)

That's a good one.  Short but sweet!

Obama/Biden 2008

In 2001 William Ayers said that perhaps he did not do enough with the bombings,  who is a big part of Obamas start and financial assistor ..Mr.Ayers, if asked today what corner he is in Obama or Mccains I wonder who he chooses?

Mr. Ayers, my savings and retirement are in the $hitter and I'm about to lose my house because I have to pay for the medical bills my insurance wouldn't pay after my kid's debilitating illiness - could you please tell me, again, why I care that you and Senator Obama served on the same education committee in Chicago?  It might help me...

Please, Blake, go cry this crap to the flesh-eating Zombies in our party who believe this is actually an issue... we have more important things to worry about.


McCain supporters-let me let you in on a little secret...NOBODY CARES ABOUT THIS STUFF!! DID YOU HEAR ANYONE AT THE DEBATE ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THIS? MOST OF US ARE WORRIED ABOUT OUR POCKETBOOKS, OUR CHILDREN. This was brought up by Hillary and never had legs. Personally, I hope you all keep bringing it up because it seems to be increasing Obama's poll numbers. He's even up in West Virginia-doesn't that tell you something? If McCain had spent half his energy trying to come up with a decent plan for the economy rather than this nonsense, he might be closer in the polls. The damage is done-I don't think he can even turn back now.


Well Done John,          

A nice piece of work that is well constructed and informative. I hope it would not be an infringement to forward this to my daughter. She is a professor at TCU and an avid Obama supporter. I am hoping she will circulate it through her network of contacts.



I don't think Obama would or should downplay what Ayers did and stood/stands for.  Obama doesn't support what Ayers did and that is obvious to anyone with any shred of objectivity.

I also think it would be a mistake for the Obama campaign to get into these types of "associations" attacks.  He should continue to call McCain/Palin out on these types of typical McCain attacks, but he doesn't need to counter McCain's distortions with his own.  In the end, Obama has so far been successful at proving McCain has the only association that really matters right now - Bush. 

Don't get me wrong, Obama supporters can feel free to make these arguments, but I hope Obama and his campaign continues to focus on policy differences.  Everyone, with the exception of the die hards, already know McCain's assertions are false. 

In the end all McCain's attacks do is solidify a growing recognition that further links him to Bush - McCain will use fear and paranoia to further his own objectives.  I believe most Americans recognize this.  Americans recognize the implications in his attack - that we all need to do background checks of everyone we come in contact with; That we must always fear our past and that it is not possible to learn from it;  That Americans are not worthy unless we submit to his values, no matter how contradictary they are.  These ideals should not be the foundation of the Republican Party, but sadly that is where this "base" is leading it.


I agree with you that Obama should take the high road, and for the most part he has. Here in Ohio 100% of the McCain adds have been negative while two thirds of Obama's adds have been positive.

However, I disagree with your contention that "Everyone, with the exception of the die hards, already know McCain's assertions are false".

My opinion is based on conversations I've had with my conservative friends where they feel they cannot trust Obama. However, when pressed for more information they don't offer any specifics or they digress into party talking points. That is why the false accusations by McCain need to be contradicted.

On a personal level, I find it peculiar that, the way McCain was railroaded out of the primary of 2000, was a major reason for me to question the direction that the Republican party was headed in. And, while considering all that has passed in the last 8 years, I must admit that it is McCain's current campaign, with it's unbridled support from the "base", that has solidified my conclusion, which is that the Republican party has little room (or need) for moderates.     



Yes I totally agree with you, I was talking to my uncle and he buys Faux News hook, line and sinker.
I think these are great points.  If we can get the media to report these facts, it will probably do a lot to neutralize McCain's attacks.  Then McCain will be forced to focus on real issues.
While getting the press to report these facts might diffuse these attacks, McCain already knows he can't win on issues, so Faux network will have to make up some new lies to spread out of the manure spreader.
Tonight Chris Matthews was letting Pat Buchanan have it about McCain's latest ploys.  I didn't catch all of it, but during the part I saw, I did not hear Chris bring any of this up, and I don't understand why the MSM doesn't.  It's so hypocritical for Palin & Co. to spout this nonsense and not even have the media return the other side.  Where's the disconnect?  I know they have to know about it, and IMO ideally that's where the rebuttal should be coming from - the media, showing the whole story.

now I'm curious...

Given all you have written, and everyone's reactions (both sides), and all the facts that are coming out:

If Ayers presented Obama with a check TODAY, if front of all the news cameras, WOULD he (and should he) accept it?




RE:  "Everyone, with the exception of the die hards, already know McCain's assertions are wrong." 

IMHO, change "hard" to "bold" and you'd be just a LITTLE closer to the truth.  But that's just an opinion, you understand.  I don't keep proofs.  I just keep facts.  And its a fact that what you immorally use to bolster your side of the argument today will be used against you tomorrow.  Power does tend to corrupt, but it is certain that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

IMHO, McCain/Palin is an absolutist ticket.  Obama-Biden is not.  So Obama-Biden may tend to be corrupted over the four year haul, but they won't be absolutely corrupted.  McCain/Palin would be.  That's the difference.
As the American economy will continue to go into the crapper--because we are not even remotely beginning to work on a sustainable economy versus our current one based on continual economic growth (which the planet cannot support)--the difference between McCain and Obama for us will be:  When we hit the streets, as we will, McCain will put us into those shiny new Halliburton detention camps; Obama will put us back to work rebuilding the infrastructure of this greed-savaged country.
LMAO!!!  "... shiny new .... "
Because we were "enemy combatints" voting for the other side.

Follow RFO:

TwitterCafe PressFacebook




RFO Gear

Subscribe to General RFO Newsletter

General news and announcements for We will never share or sell your email address.