What Did Barack Obama Know, and When Did He Know It?

Sarah Palin’s calling out of Barack Obama over the Bill Ayers connection has finally caused some mainstream outlets to report the story (albeit generally in misleading fashion) and has compelled the Obama campaign to respond. That response is surprising, to say the least: Obama now claims that he didn’t know about Bill Ayers’ terrorist past through all the years when he worked with Ayers in Chicago!

Ed Morrissey has a report. Here is Obama campaign manager David Axelrod explaining Obama’s association with Ayers on CNN:

JIM ACOSTA: Now a college professor in Chicago, Ayers and Obama served together several years on a nonprofit board. And in 1995 Ayers hosted a coffee for Obama when the young community organizer was making his first run for the State Senate. At this point looking back, should he not have done that?

DAVID AXELROD: Well I mean, when he went, he certainly — he didn’t know the history.

ACOSTA: The Democratic nominee’s chief strategist David Axelrod maintains Obama at that time had no idea about Ayers’ violent past.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs seconded Axelrod, but seemingly without much conviction:

Look, if that’s what David said, that is true.

This strikes me as a rather stunning development. Obama appears to be admitting that if he knew about Ayers’ terrorist history, and the fact that he still takes pride in that history and despises America, it would be an error in judgment to form a close association with him.

But it is inconceivable that Barack Obama knew Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn well enough to kick off his first political campaign in their living room, but didn’t know that Ayers and Dohrn were Communists who led the Weatherman faction of SDS, urged young people to “kill your parents,” carried out approximately 30 bombings, including New York City’s police headquarters, the Capitol and the Pentagon, celebrated the Charles Manson murders, spent years living underground to avoid criminal prosecution, and continued to express their lifelong hatred for the United States in books, magazine articles, and public speeches. This is rather like a person claiming that he had worked closely with Arnold Schwarzenegger for years, but had no idea that he was once a bodybuilder and movie actor. Ayers’ and Dohrn’s radical past is their only claim to fame.

There must be a great many people who can attest that Obama was well aware of Ayers’ and Dohrn’s history. It will be interesting to see whether any of them are willing to blow the whistle on Obama’s latest evasion.

PAUL adds: A defense that Obama didn’t knew in the 1990s that Ayers was unrepentant would be plausible. However, the campaign must have concluded that this defense isn’t good enough. A defense that Obama didn’t know about any of the underlying terrorism is preposterous.

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