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Barack Obama finds himself haunted by the '60s

Will the taint of the late 1960s and early '70s -- at least as it affects mainstream politics -- ever fade?

Barack Obama, who was grade-school age during the peak of the counter culture, could be excused for muttering that question to himself after Wednesday night's debate in Philadelphia on ABC-TV.

Throughout much of its first half, the faceoff with Hillary Clinton must have seemed like a root canal for him -- and no more so than when his links (however tenuous) to an extremist from the days when radicalism was often the norm on college campuses was explored.

William Ayers a onetime leader of the Weather Underground was the subject of a debate question directed at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama As we noted in a running blog on the debate, questioners Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were in a no-win situation. After a period when it seemed there was a debate every other day, almost two months had passed since the last one.

Gibson and Stephanopoulos could have ignored the various furors that have flared -- and been thoroughly covered -- over that time. But they would have been widely scorned had they done so.

So they raised the expected topics (and, as a result, have been widely scorned anyway): Rev. Jeremiah Wright's rants; the non-existent sniping in Bosnia; "bittergate."

The unexpected came when Stephanopoulos, under what he termed "the general theme of patriotism," asked Obama about "a gentleman named William Ayers (pictured above and, as a young man, below). He was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He's never apologized for that."

Ayers and his even more notorious wife, Bernadine Dohrn, were on the lam ...

from authorities for about 10 years. After various charges against them were either dropped or reduced, they became established parts of the progressive political scene in Chicago (both are college professors).

And they reside in Obama's neighborhood. Stephanopoulos noted that "an early organizing meeting for your state Senate campaign was held" at their house "and your campaign has said you are 'friendly.' "

He asked Obama to "explain that relationship for the voters and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?"

Obama, who a moment before had complained about "manufactured" issues, responded: "George ... this is an example of what I've been talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

"And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable mug shot for William Ayers a leader of the Weather Underground acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George."

Obama had made his point and probably would have been well-advised to stop there. Instead, he struck a blow against bipartisanship by mentioning that he is friends with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who he termed "one of the most conservative Republicans" in the Senate and a politician who "once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions."

Continued Obama: "Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those, either.

"So this kind of game in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, that somehow their ideas could be attributed to me, I think the American people are smarter than that. They're not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn't."

Clinton, seeing an opening, went through it, noting that Obama had served with Ayers on the board of a philanthropic education foundation in Chicago. And she mentioned that an article about Ayers, in which he said he did not regret setting off bombs, happened to run in the New York Times on 9/11.

Her blow landed, she added: "I know Sen. Obama's a good man and I respect him greatly, but I think that this is an issue that certainly the Republicans will be raising."

Well, yes ... and now with her imprimatur.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credits: Associated Press; Chicago Historical Society 

 
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Obama worked with Ayers in the 1990's. The press has all the right in the world to question Obama in the BitterGate and now that Obama worked for terrorist William Ayers. He said he was 8 when Ayers bombed New York. Nice try. But he was 30something when he served on a board with Mr. Ayers in the 1990’s, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid, underlined PAID directorship position. They worked together, attended fundraisers together, Ayers held fundraisers and was a contributor to Obama’s Chicago’s campaign, plus they are neighbors and visited each other quite often. Enough said. This relationship deserves being vetted. As an adult Obama made the decision to work with a terrorist. This is a legitimate issue, the judgment and associations of the possible nominee. Its goes straight to the reason why democrats have lost the last two elections. It is fair to argue Obama’s condescension to the small town folk because it goes directly to issues like religion, xenophobia, gun ownership and culture. And his associations with Farrahkan, Wright, Ayers and Refko should be fully vetted.

Hillary Clinton use to work with the "Black Panthers"...why didnt they ask her about that?

It's an interesting thing that when Sen. Obama FINALLY gets asked tough questions bad journalism is decried. I agree that the debate should have been more about issues. However, Sen. Obama has some serious association problems that the public has a right to know about. Do you think Sen. Clinton could get away with having a campaign party at Ayers' house??? I don't think so. Just because Ayers lives in Obama's neighborhood doesn't mean that they automaticaly have to associate. Why doesn't he choose his associates more carefully? We have a right to know about this.

OBAMA WAS AWFUL IN THE DEBATE, we cannot risk our country on him! OUR TIME HAS COME FOR DEMOCRATS TO FULLY SUPPORT SENATOR CLINTON TO WIN IN NOV.
Hillary dominates Philadelphia we now know who won the debate according to our focus group. Senator Clinton is the debate winner, 23% believe Senator Obama won while 50% believed Senator Clinton won. Debate Analysis, 4/16/08
ABC News Political Radar Rick Klein – Clinton is back to the strong presence we saw early in the cycle.
MSNBC News Chuck Todd – Obama ‘did not have a good night. Obama’s answer on Ayers and the flag were simply weak. He seemed unprepared, Kinda surprising because questions seemed to stump him each time.
Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder – Theres no way Obama could have fared worse.
Washington Post’ Chris Cillizza— Obama struggled quite a bit when asked about Rev. Wright his pastor.
New York Times’ Katharine Seeyle: Hillarys in her element as she goes into details. Shes becoming expansive, seemingly in her element as she goes into details; Mr. Obama does not look as thrilled to be still standing there.
Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall – Hillary ‘certainly seems more self-assured.'She certainly seems more self-assured on the Iran question than Obama did we could clearly see he was on delicate territory.
Philadelphia Inquirer –Obama is again less certain and rambles again. When asked about the Washington D.C. gun ban. Gibson asks him to deny that he has ever advocated a complete ban on hand guns in 1996. Obama says no. But whatever the truth, no other answer is possible
NBC News’ Matthew Berger – Obama tried to have it both ways with Israel. Obama's answer on an Iranian attack on Israel tried to seem to have it both ways: highlight his support for Israel but not lock him into treating an attack on Israel like an attack on the U.S. But it may have looked more like a no because it wasn't a firm yes. Clintons answers were direct.

It is always telling when a blogger does not tell the entire story. Left out was the fact that Bill pardoned two convicted members of the same organization. If you are not going to tell the entire story why should anyone read your blog. People with less education tell much better stories.

Barack's glass jaw is beginning to crack...

I think the Bill Ayers flap is a fabricated non-issue. One of your other comments says: "As an adult Obama made the decision to work with a terrorist." I couldn't disagree with this mischaracterization more and am really put off by seeing someone throw the word "terrorist" around like that. Using such mischaraterizations one could call Tom Hayden a "terrorist" because he was a member of the Chicago Seven and a protester during the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. Yet he went on to be both a member of the California State Assembly and then the California State Senate. ...He's been supporting Barack Obama. I suppose this makes Obama guilty of starting the 1968 Chicago riots. After all, Sen. Obama is from Chicago.
The point is that the 60s were the 60s and we're hoping that most people will notice that we are now in a new century. People aren't who they were forty years ago.
I was sickened by the sheer abuse of the public airwaves that ABC indulged in last night. By far the worst "debate" that I've ever seen. The only "debate" to it is in whether we should even call that a "debate."

This wasn't a debate; this was an ambush however Barack held his own. Shame on Charlie Gibson for gutter politics..expected of George S..but Charlie Gibson. It's amazing how Billary supporters can say she was calm; of course she was..all she had to do was add to the attacks by George and Charlie..

"I was not in church when Rev. Wright said those things."

"I didn't word that well."

"I didn't know he said those things."

"I mis-spoke."

Politicians are all the same, their quest for fame and not concern for our country is killing the country.

They will say and do anything for more campaign contributions and votes....some don't care if the votes come from lawbreakers from another Country!

Last gasp deserperation of the Clintons. It has backfired on them seriously. Maybe she thinks if she can help John McCain defeat him, she can run again in four years at the age of 65. I will not be surprised if she turncoats it like Lieberman.
This will only strengthen Obama. It will backfire on Hillary and she will be even more hated then Nadar

All the snobamaians are crying, up all night too, that their guy got asked difficult questions and he failed miserably. I guess George didn't get the memo, be nice to snobama.
snobama looked like a deer caught in the headlights, wish we would have had this debate months ago and we wouldn't be in this position with not enough delegates to win the election.
Snobama couldn't even answer truthfully about his gun position on a questionaire.

It is foolishness to call this a debate. George S. joined up with his old boss to talk about a non-issue. The question about Ayers was formulated by Sean Hannity. Not that is bad, but the conservatives and the Fox News crowd need to run again Hillary in November, cause they will devastate her, and Bill Clinton.

Why Obama stayed with Rev. Wright? Well, ask Hillary why she stayed with Bill Clinton who was impeached for lying, and who was having sex downstairs in the White House, while Hillary was upstairs.

As for lapel pins, no one was wearing them. Look around and wonder why this is even a question.

Gibson and Stephanopoulous were disgraceful. No substance whatsoever in the first half of the debate, just "gotcha" games. Then when they did get into "serious" issues, it was Charlie pressing about capital gains tax cuts that he must find so dear, but most of us don't spend much time worrying about.

The Ayers question was the lowlight... it is now known that George got that from Hannity.

I'm sure we'll hear the usual BS about Obama needing to "answer the tough questions" (translation: they think they have a license to throw crap at him until it sticks) or needing more "vetting" (he's probably been "vetted" more than any candidate in history at this point - if you have to rely on guilt-by-association gotcha questions). And I'm sure most of you in the press will continue to withhold criticism of ABC out of "professional courtesy" (or in this case, unprofessional courtesy) but I think people are seeing through it.

How much is Charlie Gibson geting paid by the Clinton camp, I think the fix was in, but it did;nt work Obama won anyway even with all the hard balls pithched his way and the soft ones going to clinton ! (yes Obama can in 08)

Tom Hayden was a member of SDS, one of the "Chicago Seven". He chose to help lead an organization that explicitly advocated for the use of violence to achieve societal change. Whether he went on to serve within the system doesn't negate the fact that at one point he took part in a violent organization. Wouldn't this be a helpful piece of information in seeing the whole man? In contrast, Martin Luther King, Jr. took a very different route, leading for change via nonviolence as a young adult. Would we say that that involvement had nothing to do with his development and evolution into the leader he became? Of course not.

Tom Hayden did not plant Bombs. William Ayers did. We are all capable of drawing the distinction between the two.

Barak H. Obama has shown he will embrace the support of radical groups, and those that are violently anti-american.

Now he is free to associate with anyone, as they are free to speak out against American hegemony. Neither will ever be prosecuted, for what they say, or the fact that they are freinds.

However, simply because an association is not criminal, does not mean that we want the leader of the United States of America to associate with such people.

That is politics, and it is appropriate that Barak Obama, pay a political price for his liberal ethical standards when choosing with whom to work, campaign, and govern.

What we are seeing revealed finally, is that Senator Obama has all of his adult life choosen to work, write, and worship, with people on the far left of American politics.

He knows, that he will have a hard time winning a majority in the general election if we all believe (correctly) that his personal politics are radically leftist.

This is good journalism; to discover what the candidate wants to conceal, so we know truly what manner of man we are electing.

Let's get a grip here. Bill Ayers was never a terrorist though he arguably associated with some--as did many others. These facts are also pertinent:

--Ayers turned himself in and was never charged with anything related to terror
--He thorough renounced his previous radicalism
--He is today a distinguished professor of education at UC-Illinois.
--He set up an effective anti-poverty foundation in Chicago, which is how Obama knows him.

In other words, the Clinton camp (and I include Bill Clinton's former aide Stephanopolous in this), is charging Obama with knowing a guy who forty years ago knew another group of people. Can the media sink much further? I think if we are going to have debates it should be on policy issues only and moderated by the Leagu of Women Voters.

Quent
Michigan

I think Charles Gibson did a wonderful job moderating. He was fair and even handed. Geroge S. he seemed to stick it to both candidates as well. I don't think anyone can say either got treated with kid gloves.

Obama seemed off his game and he needs to be able to stand up to all the mini controversies that he would like to be above. It's the nature of the beast. If you think Hillary is bad, wait until the Republicans get their chance to tear into him. There is so much she can't say that Republicans won't hesitate to say.

Now Clinton has been associated with "The Family" since 1993. This is a conservative prayer group that has ties to dictators like Suharto. I am sure that she did not know this, just like Obama did not know about Wrights offensive statements. Just like Obama was 8 when the Weather Underground was operating. And what about HIllary's "Screw them" comment in 1995 when she was talking about working class white men who voted Republican in 1994 causing Bill to lose Congress? Hillary has a lot of baggage that will come out with the GOP. It was shameful of Charlie and George of ABC not to raise all her issues as well. Just start with NAFTA and Colombia and Khazakstan. What about how Bill praised the dictator of Khazakstan a few years back just to help his Canadian friend?

Dear America

Senator Obama's words regarding a portion of America as being “bitter" is accurate.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that hate groups have grown by forty eight percent (48%) between the years 2000 to 2007. This is a sign of increased bitterness in our nation. There are twenty six (26) recognized hate groups in New York State alone. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are the tip of this bitterness that continues to grow as people lose faith in their government.

The vigilante actions by many on our borders with Mexico with guns in hand against workers trying to find work in America. These actions are being taken by citizens who have lost faith in their government's ability to secure the border. This is the anti-immigrant attitude that Senator Obama describes. The various local municipal ordinances being passed against undocumented workers are occurring mostly in small American communities not in the big cities.

The border was secure until President William Jefferson Clinton signed NAFTA and subsequently PNTR with China. These trade bills destroyed good union jobs with health benefits and pensions here in America. The North American Free Trade Agreement destroyed Mexican jobs and forced this mass migration north.

The New York Times reported that during the Carey Bush election of 2004, working class people were knowingly voting against their economic interests because of their religious beliefs. The “Hot Button” item at that time was Gay marriage.

The media has given a pass to Senator Clinton regarding her lying about her arrival in Bosnia. You do not forget being shot at and certainly not when you are being shot at with an AK-47 with your only child in tow. This is not a little white lie or the result of sleep deprivation. Her statement is a bold and clear lie. Like her husband before her, she is against trade bills until elected. Your key strategist is working to get a trade bill passed while you are opposed to said bill. Why is the journalist community giving her a pass while continuing to attack Barack Obama for what other people have said or done?

It is important to note that after the Million Man March, crime has gone down significantly. Minister Louis Farrakhan was seated at the White House with Ronald Reagan and recognized for using his influence in the Muslim world to secure the release of Lt. Robert O. Goodman on January 4, 1984. He was invited to Philadelphia by then Mayor Rendell to speak and help heal the racial divide; holding hands, singing and lavishing praise on April 15, 1997. On May 5, 2005, former President Bill Clinton praised Minister Farrakhan and the Millions More Movement describing it as a positive idea.

The media has become bottom feeders and have not helped to elevate the dialogue between the candidates. The American peoples’ issues: Jobs, healthcare, social security, education and the war are more important than the mistakes made while speaking since all must admit to doing that.

F. Christophe Silvera, Secretary – Treasurer, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local #808 22-43 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
Tel: 917-297-2241, email: fitzverity@aol.com

the so-called blogger, don frederick, calls ayers an extremist. Hell,,I am an extremist, in that I am for the total beheading and or waterboarding of all liberals. Frederick, ayers was a terrorist, and the fact that you cannot say as much reveals your far left bias. of course it is fitting that you are published in the la times, but you better hurry, it is sinking like a stone.

You left out what happened next. That Obama reminded Hillary Clinton that her husband pardoned and commuted the sentence of two other members of the Weather Underground during the last days of his presidency.

Now if only YOU could be accused of merely 'bad journalism'.

Here we go again. Why don't you focus on the real story from last night's "debate"?

Of the 12,700 comments left on ABC New's web site -- about 1000 to 1 are against them for the way the debates were conducted and of the moderators (Gibson and Stephanopolous) insistence on asking questions Americans DON'T CARE ABOUT! The debate was another example of the incompetent, slanted, trash talking tabloid purveyors, that passes for mainstream journalism nowadays.

Last night's “debate” was a new low in TV broadcasting. Everyone involved in that sham should be sent back to junior college for a remedial course in broadcast journalism. The only thing I came away with after sitting through the first 45 minutes of that tripe was the confirmation of my decision to not get my "news" from mainstream outlets (unfortunately, may now include the L.A. Times -- thank you Zell and Mickey!). Did you not hear the boos from the studio audience at the end?

Broadcast news should stick to doing stories about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Anything bigger is out of their league.

Americans, and L.A.Times readers deserve far better than this.

Clinton didn't land a blow. Get real. Obama pointed out that Bill pardoned two members of the Weather underground. Clintons colusion with George Stephanopolous backfired. Did you forget that George was Bill Clintons top adviser while he was President? Clintojn thinks we are stupid just like Don Fredrick does.

Geeezzzz...
what a waste... more Grove politics.
Like does anyone really think that Obama is a 'bad' man??!
Hillary should just join the Republicans already - at least then she can join more closely with the right wing news media that's killed the countries intelligence (ABC = BS) . Also, give me a break... how much dirt could one bring up about Billary???!! Ha!
tommy

The questioner is certainly free to ask any question they want and the cadidate is free to answer any way they want. I thought Sen. Obama responded beautifully and it was a slap in the face of the muckraking journalists. The posters above who are trying to insinuate that Obama is a terrorist should apply for a job at ABC. Kudos to Mr. Obama for slapping down the fear-mongerers.

Gibson and Stephanopoulos were in a "no win" situation? They would have been "scorned" for not raising what has been discussed endlessly and ad nauseoum? Surely you jest.

They had the opportunity to discuss w/ 2 of the 3 Presidential candidates vital ISSUES in some depth...to discuss them at greater length than the lightening round they reserved at the end of the "debate." Issues and positions are what the public hungers for and needs.

But you, Mr. Frederick, are merely justifying the kind of journalistic sensationalism that increasingly characterizes the mainstream print and broadcast news media.

The near universal revulsion to Gibson's and Stephanopoulos' performance indicates that a tabloid approach to electing the most powerful leader in the world is no a "no win" with the politically interested public.

I dont care about Bill Ayers or Bosnia snipers or Rev. Wright or someone making $100 million. I want to know what each of these candidates will do to help America once again look like a leader to the world and what they plan to do with health care, the economy and America's deteriorating infrastructure. I am sick and tired of having to read and see these stupid stories that have nothing to do with how these people will run office. No one is perfect. We are looking for a president, not Mr. or Mrs Congeniality!

By the way, after watching these two candidates over the last year, its safe to say that Hillary is much better at debates than Barack and Barack is much better at perfecting speches than Hillary.

The conduct of the press and it's petty focus on non-issues does not create "debate". What is does create is considerable and deepening bitterness aboout the lack of responsibility of the media to do real journalism.

There are live ticking time bomb issues - the environment, the economy, the war - and yet the candidates sound like 6-year olds bickering about "he said this" or “his preacher said that” and I'm gonna run to the "press" and tell on you. This is frustrating.

A lot of us are far more capable than the perceived "idiocracy" that America is being called in European based news articles. It is my hope that politics along with the press start catching up - sooner rather than later - or we will all go bitterly over the cliff.

Bottom line this blogger did just that---blog. The only true newsworthy station left in the US is the the News Hour. I am disappointed in some of Stephanopoulos' questions. I expected more in depth questions that didn't relate to who knows who and when. Who cares? The Bushes are best friends with the Saudi's and allowed Bin-ladins out of this county during 9-11 when not one American was allowed to fly! Who cares? Everyone in US politics is in bed with someone and remotely connected to individuals who are questionable. This debate and situation is a good test for Obama. To see if he can handle the criticism and change the storylines back to what really matters---depth and substance. If he can, he'll be that much more electable.

Also left out was the fact that Mark Penn and Bill Clinton are/were working with the Colombian's to get the same trade deal through that Hillary supposedly opposes. Also left out was the fact that Hillary has in the past supported NAFTA. Hillary's negatives are getting higher and higher. She blatantly lies and then laughs about it and people say, oh, that's alright. It's ridiculous.

If this was not so sad, it would be hilarious. This kind of crap is what Obama has been talking about his entire campaign. For those who are "sucked in" to this kind of politics, get a life. It is no secret that Hannety has been trying to raise this issue for weeks to attack Obama, he finally persuaded an old Clinton employee to bring it up at a "debate". Living in the same neighborhood, serving on a charity board, and accepting 200 friggin bucks is a reason to not vote for this man? Nice try. Sad that we cannot focus on what really matters in this race. Obama WILL be our next President...and THANK GOD...not a MINUTE too soon.

Apparently, some of the Obama supporters (who are dismissing Ayers and the Weather Underground) do not have a clue to who they are. They "bombed" the Pentagon and other public buildings.

Obama KNEW who the history of these people (they in fact told him so directly)... and coupled with his ongoing disingenuous denial of being previously unaware of Wright's fiery sermons (he found out about them from an article in Rolling Stone) ... Well, it does not look good.

Especially, after Obama threw his so-called friend Senator Coburn under the bus (and it is getting pretty crowded there with his Grandma, Jesse Jackson, and more) in defending the Ayers association. Last I knew, Coburn never committed a violent act... Ayers did.

I appreciate that these questions were asked... because the GOP blogs and news have already been discussing the Ayers issue... and it will be general election fodder.

Ayers is still a radical in his beliefs. Wright is also radical. How many radicals can Obama associate with before it hurts him?

P.S. Clinton pardoned a couple of Weatherman... who regretted their actions... whereas Ayers and his wife have never done so and continues to justify and promote their anarchist ideas.

Note also... albeit both became known for violence...one cannot equate the Black Panthers (civil rights and self defense) with terrorist bombings of the Weatherman (revolutionary overthrow of the Government of the United States). Read some history.

Hey! Another NON-issue we all get to suck on. Ayers is a teacher in Chicago. Period. Whatever he did 40 years ago has obviously lost the interest of law enforcement. The guy is "legal", and like it was said earlier, "The 60's were the 60's...". Back then, our government was engaged in a idiotic war, TENS of thousands of young men were being sent to die or be maimed for life, Nixon was violating the Constitution left and right. So some Americans acted. And rightfully so. Fighting for "democracy" and the "American Way" begins at home. If Americans weren't so fat and complacent and greedy, they'd notice guy like Ayers were quite right to fight against a government which is increasingly neglecting the People.


i've read the full transcript of the hillary-barack debate, since it wasn't on philippine cable the time it was on air on abc in philadelphia.

moderators charlie gibson & george stephanopolous (whew, what a tongue-twister this former press secretary' name is, really greek to me) came aboard throughly prepared, & were clearly well-informed. kudos to the two competent journalists.

though you say the two were damned for asking the controvesial issues (especially against obama), yet they handled it well. better that, or they would have been accused of incompetence, if not of being part of a grand conspiracy to cover up some things for the democrats.

it was, to the duo's credit, one fine, one great moment for journalists.

hillary was her usual brilliant self, & more so that day, having obviously done her homework. but of course, you can't fault her for seizing the moment in zeroing in on obama's weak points, his achilles heels, as, subtly though, she went for the jugular.

this debate (with obama shown for the most part being on the defensive) showed how vulnerable the illinois senator will be at the hands of mccain (particularly after obama's 'bitter' remarks & due to a number of negative issues thrown his way).

ergo, the democrats should not make the mistake of delivering barack into the hands of the executioner mccain. only hillary can serve as the democrats' very able equalizer, who can wallop the "vietnam war veteran" in the polls this november, not only with gusto, but with enough power as to beat the lights out of the pleistocene-era creature (intellect-wise & in terms of a sound program of government).

but to be fair to obama, he held his own quite well, acquitting himself remarkably well in this philadelphia debate.

be that as it may, yet examine, though, their positions, hillary's & obama's, & we can see fairly common grounds on many policy issues. the major bone of contention, then, is electability--& obviously, now that's obama is being thoroughly vetted, he comes across as an easy target for mccain. hillary will be, no, not mccain's match (the fight between her & mccain in november will be a mismatch, with maccain eating hillary's dust), hillary will be mccain's superior, in all respects.

proof? i must say that hillary showed in that pa debate that she is still the better candidate & the more brilliant nominee, with a program of government that would put the american people at ease & in comfort for the next four years; & a welstanschauung that would make the world a better place to live in.

another forum where hillary showed her panoramic knowledge of politics & good governance, as well as her complete grasp of the powers & range of influence of the office of the u.s. president was at the meeting hosted by the associated press days before the pa debate. (i had also read the full transcript of hillary's speech there at ap.)

in that ap speech, which was like an impromptu hillary lecture on the office of the american executive, hillary expostulated on the nature & powers of the u.s. president, & how it can make a great difference on the lives of the american people & other peoples of the world, if those powers were properly & briliantly wielded by the office holder.

to the great misfortune, however, of the long suffering american people (fooled twice over by george bush), hillary pointed out that the current tenant at the oval office has chosen instead to pervert those very same powers in the fashion that a deluded imperial moron in history past did, insulating the presidency away from the american people, & treating it as if it were his own self-made fiats.

(as an aside: & it dawned upon this fellow that, couldn't hillary be speaking of the de facto philippine president, gloria macapagal arroyo, who has done exactly what bush is doing? that is to say, perverting the powers of the philippine president solely for her, her biological family, & her equally corrupt surrogates' benefits & aggrandizement? hillary's dig at what she intends to do with the presidential power to use "executive privilege" --which she said bush has thoroughly abused--was a prescription that arroyo should heed, & the philippine supreme court--or gloria's fawning lapdogs there masquearding as justices--should follow, by clipping gloria's use of it. yes, indeed, it is blogs like these, commentaries like these in american press that has made arroyo behave well lately, for these have put her on the spot . see her crackdown on various criminal syndicates the past days. hope it's not lip service.)

& then, hillary showed how she will change all that, including all the calamitous policies & monstrous decisions that george bush the younger has wrought for 8 long years, that had led to the virtual degeneration of america & the pauperization, as it were, of the great masses of the american people.

in comparison, barack's speech at the same ap meeting (whose transcript i also have read thoroughly), but days later, was shallow, as he delved, again for the most part, on the ramifications of his "bitter" san francisco remarks against smalltown people in pennsylvania, then suddenly transporting his parallelism to national issues on loss of jobs, healthc care, etc.

i could sense here that obama was at great pains as he was doing this houdini act, as he tried to wiggle out of the mess he has created with his "bitter" remarks.

yet, by all intelligent reckoning, in summation, let me do a cuomo. i say that a HILLARY-FOR-PRESIDENT-&-BARACK-FOR-VICE PRESIDENT TANDEM will be the BEST TICKET that the DEMOCRATIC PARTY can & should come up with this november. it will not only be a marquee ticket, it will be the BRILLIANT TEAM to beat.

obama can, thus, have a first-hand, ringside view of, & training on, real power politics that will prepare him fully when his time comes. Godspeed!

Quent,

You should do your homework better-

William Ayers was a founding member of the Weather Underground - The group was a violent anti war organization who's charter was the overthrow of the United States government. They bombed the Pentagon, the US Capitol and a number of NY City police stations.

William Ayers own girlfriend and 2 other members of the group were killed by a bomb they were building to use against military recruiters at Fort Dix. The group also killed 2 police officers and a security guard during a botched bank robbery-the purpose of which was to gain funds to further their terrorist activities.

William Ayers has never renounced his actions and to this day defends them and laments that the group had not done more. Look it up.

Obama knew exactly who this man was and yet chose to nurture a personal and professional relationship with him. I'm sorry Quent my friend, but someone aspiring to the Presidency of the US does not do that.

As for Obama comparison of his relationship to Ayers and Bill Clinton's pardoning of two of the groups members - it is absurd to equate the two - the two women pardoned served nearly 2 decades in prison, renounced their past activities and swore an allegiance to the US to gain their pardons - a far cry from what Ayers has done.

I actually enjoyed the debate. Barrack has had no hard questions from the media all year and now that the ABC crew actually asked pointed questions and didn't let him off the hook easily, his supporters are up in arms. The negative vitriol aimed at ABC on the Internet is so over the top when they were simply asking questions that a large segment of the country wanted to hear. I already know Hillary's shortcomings but Barrack has had a free ride. His friendships/associations are issues -- birds of a feather flock together! They are telling of a man's character and judgment, Beyond this area, HIllary & Barrack don't differ much on the other issues.

The Obama detractors are now in full blind failing punches mode. It's funny. One day he's "elitist" and the next day he's guilty of having too many associations with too many different types of people.

Why yes Kay Rain Lay, Obama was indeed 8 when bombings occured. That's a valid point. What was hillary up to at that time given she was much older? I've worked with a lot of people whose backgrounds I have no clue on and I've also worked with people who have done time in prison. Do I have an obligation to act like an elitist asshat and refuse to work with someone based on something they did 30 years prior? Are we forbidden to grow and to let others grow up out of the mistakes of their youth?

The country is teetering on the brink of catastrophic financial meltdown right now, thanks in large part to the "leadership" provided by those in Mrs. Clinton's age range. Very few are asking any tough questions about that. Instead we are once against looking 40 years back in time and trying to make an issue out of the counter culture of the 60s. Meanwhile, the rest of us who live in the now continue to care how history is going to view things like the Iraq War and the economic deciscions that are being put in place because we will indeed be alive to reap the fruits of both things good and bad. We have to continue to weather the storm of what to us, are increasingly old crustified political hacks who can't let high school rivalries die and do what's best for the country as a whole.

People say there's no reason to believe Obama will bring change, but I totally disagree. Obama wasn't part of the infighting of the 60s generation and that alone is reason to believe he can bring change. It's the economy and war stupids, who the hell cares about the 60s?

This country makes me laugh. I laugh when soldiers die in Iraq. I laugh when when we are attacked abroad. Why do I laugh? Because when it comes to electing our leaders this is what we care about. So, please fat, lazy ignorant Americans.. please, please, please have more debates like this. It's the greatest form of entertainment anywhere!

The Hillary Clinton/Sean Hannity smear-by-association campaign against Barack Obama is reaching truly McCarthyite proportions. Hillary bashes Obama for serving for a time on the board of a Chicago foundation alongside former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. That foundation happens to be one of the most respected "do-gooder" foundations in Chicago, the Woods Fund of Chicago (formerly the Woods Charitable Fund). It supports community organizing, the arts, and anti-poverty initiatives. It's been around since 1941, founded by prominent telephone company executive Frank Woods.

Other Woods Fund board members: Laura Washington, distinguished professor of humanities at DePaul University. Jesus Garcia, longtime political and civic leader in Chicago's Mexican-American community and Executive Director of the Little Village Community Development Corporation. Lee Bey, executive at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, a leading architecture firm. Doris Salomon Chagin, executive at BP (the global oil company). Beth Richie, professor and head of the department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Patrick Sheahan, executive at UBC Investment Bank. Charles N. Wheatley, president of Sahara Enterprises (a coal mining company). These people are among the cream of Chicago's business, civic, and academic leaders.

Should we smear all of them, too, for "meeting" and "associating" with Bil Ayers by virtue of serving on the foundation board with him? What about the numerous community, arts, and civic organizations supported by the Woods Fund, who surely "met with" or "associated with" Ayers in securing their grants---are they, too, guilty by association? Is Barack Obama personally responsible for everything every one of these people has ever said or done, because he "met with" and "associated with" them while serving on the Woods Fund board? These charges would be truly laughable if they weren't so dangerous and . . . well, downright un-American.

We've been through all this before, in the McCarthy era when hundreds of decent and honest Americans were similarly smeared for similarly tenuous "associations" with communists and "communist sympathizers."

To paraphrase what Army lawyer Joseph Nye Welch famously said to Joe McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, Hillary, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

The Hillary Clinton/Sean Hannity smear-by-association campaign against Barack Obama is reaching truly McCarthyite proportions. Hillary bashes Obama for serving for a time on the board of a Chicago foundation alongside former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. That foundation happens to be one of the most respected "do-gooder" foundations in Chicago, the Woods Fund of Chicago (formerly the Woods Charitable Fund). It supports community organizing, the arts, and anti-poverty initiatives. It's been around since 1941, founded by prominent telephone company executive Frank Woods.

Other Woods Fund board members: Laura Washington, distinguished professor of humanities at DePaul University. Jesus Garcia, longtime political and civic leader in Chicago's Mexican-American community and Executive Director of the Little Village Community Development Corporation. Lee Bey, executive at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, a leading architecture firm. Doris Salomon Chagin, executive at BP (the global oil company). Beth Richie, professor and head of the department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Patrick Sheahan, executive at UBC Investment Bank. Charles N. Wheatley, president of Sahara Enterprises (a coal mining company). These people are among the cream of Chicago's business, civic, and academic leaders.

Should we smear all of them, too, for "meeting" and "associating" with Bil Ayers by virtue of serving on the foundation board with him? What about the numerous community, arts, and civic organizations supported by the Woods Fund, who surely "met with" or "associated with" Ayers in securing their grants---are they, too, guilty by association? Is Barack Obama personally responsible for everything every one of these people has ever said or done, because he "met with" and "associated with" them while serving on the Woods Fund board? These charges would be truly laughable if they weren't so dangerous and . . . well, downright un-American.

We've been through all this before, in the McCarthy era when hundreds of decent and honest Americans were similarly smeared for similarly tenuous "associations" with communists and "communist sympathizers."

To paraphrase what Army lawyer Joseph Nye Welch famously said to Joe McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, Hillary, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

In the Philadelphia debate, both Hillary and Obama regurgitated their familiar mantra that they would veto the falsely maligned Bush taxcuts which resuscitated the U.S. economy from the inherited Clinton recession; but, which Hillary and Obama say favor only the rich. That tired old populist ploy of "soak the rich". However , a brief review of IRS statistics related to post-Bush tax cut revenues reveals exactly the opposite. Specifically, the share of individual income taxes paid by the bottom 40% of American taxpayers, as a result of expanded child tax credits and earner income tax credits, was reduced from 0% to a -4%; and, took another ten million low income Americans completely off of the tax roles. That is, a very significant four(4) % decrease. On the other end of the scale, the tax burden on the top 20% of income earners, the so-called rich, increased to a full 85% of the total tax burden. For examples on the lower end of the scale, a Single Individual making 30K paid $8400 in taxes under Clinton; under Bush $4500. A married couple making 60K: under Clinton $16,800, under Bush $9000. So Hillary/Obamaspeak, an economic strategy that left our Nation in a RECESSION on the Clinton's departure from the White House, would damage the poor more then any other group. One can summarize this quite simply by noting that IF Hillary and Obama's Marxist philosophies of soaking the rich were valid, Communist societies throughout the world would be exorbitantly wealthy, in lieu of economic basket cases a' la Castro's Cuba. The same can be said of their forced plan for Socialized Medicine. A program which is failing miserably in such Nations as Canada and the United Kingdom. Canada, as just one example, is now experiencing a dramatic shortfall in physicians. Greg Neubeck



All politicians have a past. I am voting for the future of Hillary for President. Obama should get his ego in check, and if he really wants to serve this country, step down and be the VP.

FYI, He has run a very negative campaign too, attacking Hillary at every move. I am glad he is finally getting the questions he deserves.

Someone tell Obama this is Politics not poetics. It's not for the weak at heart.

I keep reading how McCain was the winner in last night's National Enquirer debate and I wonder what world the people who say this are living in. If the American people vote for a President based on a flag lapel pin, they we really do deserve to be a second rate nation owned in whole by Saudia Arabia and China.

I agree with the statements of others who believe that the performance by ABC's moderators during last night's so-called debate hit a new low in television journalism. Frankly, it was shocking.
Not all journalists are defending their bretheren, by the way. Tom Shales' excellent article in today's Washington Post accurately summarizes their dismal performance as television professionals.

Kay Lane Ray Rafko wrote the following:
"As an adult Obama made the decision to work with a terrorist. This is a legitimate issue, the judgment and associations of the possible nominee. . Its goes straight to the reason why democrats have lost the last two elections."

Odd, seeing how John McCain has recently posed to get his picture taken with, and received an endorsement from a terrorist of almost infinite magnitude greater than Ayers (George W. Bush) that the writer thinks the democrats have a problem winning elections because of judgement issues regarding the people they can be associated with.

By the way, the photograph of Cheney shaking hands with Saddam Hussein while shaking him down for some corporate cash didn't keep him from winning an election. Odd how your old buddies can turn on you when it is politically expedient, isn't it Saddam?

I think the guilt by association and judgement lapses don't matter for republicans because their propaganda machine is so much louder than the dem's.

The majority of US Voters are now getting sick and tired of all the negative campaigning and the mud slinging, theory seems to be throw as much as possible at Barack Obama and something has to stick, well like the TV Debate we now treat it as a JOKE! and just laugh at it.

It is Policy that matters more to the real people, we are the ones who are struggling to survive with the current economic problems, that is more important than what may or may not have happened ion the 60's, who wears a pin badge or what someone at a church may have said. These attacks are petty and no longer impress or concern!

when i was young my father always said to me "you are judged by the company that you keep"When my children were young I told them that same thing.BHO you are judged by the company that you keep.

re: Kay Lane Ray Rafko

Let me correct you, Senator Obama worked WITH and not FOR Ayers!!!

Makes all of the difference in the world.

Shirley said "when i was young my father always said to me "you are judged by the company that you keep"When my children were young I told them that same thing.BHO you are judged by the company that you keep."

I wasn't raised by my father Shirley, but by my grandfather, and when I was young and looking down on others, he would quote something interesting to me "Let you who are without sin throw the first stone". If I still remained stiff necked, he would say "The measure you use shall be measured unto you."

I say we measure Hillary by this measure applied to Obama here. She has not denounced the lying under oath done by her Husband. The primary responsibility of the Office of the President is to uphold and execute the laws of this land. Her husband not only failed in his duty, but brought disgrace to that office by violating the very laws he took an oath to uphold.

There's some guilt by association for you. But something tells me the hillary drones will quickly decry dirty politics all of a sudden, even while they sit there with their fists full of mud.

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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