Barack Obama and the exercise of free speech

posted at 7:55 am on August 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama did a double-twist on free speech yesterday in reaction to the ad produced by an outside political group regarding his association with William Ayers.  After his own campaign produced an ad that Factcheck called a “smear” tying Jack Abramoff to John McCain through Ralph Reed, American Issues produced an ad that pointed out Obama’s political ties to the unrepentant former domestic terrorist, William Ayers.  Instead of letting it drop, Obama’s campaign took two really stupid actions: they produced a response ad and then demanded that the Department of Justice investigate American Issues while pressuring television stations to reject the ad:

Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project,” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks.

Obama has also launched his own response ad, directly addressing Simmons’ attempt to link him to domestic terror.

The project is “a knowing and willful attempt to violate the strictures of federal election law,” Obama general counsel Bob Bauer wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Keeney last week in a letter provided to Politico. Bauer argued that by advocating Obama’s defeat, the ad should be subject to the contribution limits of federal campaign law, not the anything-goes regime of issue advocacy.

Bauer’s letter called on the Justice Department to open “an investigation of the American Issues Project; its officers and directors; and its anonymous donors, whoever they may be.”

“This is a sad ploy to circumvent the First Amendment by a campaign who has no arguments with the merits of our ad. It’s the classic maneuver: If you can’t win on the merits, file a lawsuit,” said a spokesman for the American Issues Project, Christian Pinkston, who said his group’s non-profit status allowed it to participate in elections as long as it does a majority of policy work, which it plans to do.

One has to wonder why the Obama campaign wants to stage a complete meltdown on the Ayers issue.  Team Obama has thrilled the netroots by saying they won’t be “Swiftboated”, but there isn’t anything factually inaccurate in the ads.  Obama’s own response boils down to this: “Ayers tossed bombs a long time ago, and who cares what he thinks now?”  Plenty of people care about Presidential candidates who feel comfortable with bomb-tossers as friends, and the more Obama keeps the story alive, the more the media will pay attention and more voters will discover this connection.

They have compounded it by demanding a criminal probe into a group that works for political advocacy.  The arcane regulations of political advertising will fly over most people’s heads, but bullying people through the Department of Justice as a candidate will cause reasonable people to wonder what will happen if Obama gets elected. Most Americans will see this as Obama trying to silence someone with an inconvenient political point of view, not as a defense of a campaign-finance system that’s already egregious enough as it is without this kind of precedent.

And again, it keeps the Ayers story alive and practically forces every media outlet to cover it — when they’ve managed to ignore it for the most part until now.

Obama should never have posted defenses of William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn on his campaign website in the first place.  He should have realized that these defenses would make him look as radical as they are, especially with both of them still talking about overthrowing the American system and their mistake in getting out of the underground terrorism business. If the only answer Obama has to counter this is to threaten people who talk about it with criminal prosecution, then he’s essentially confirming everything this ad has to say.


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If Obama is this bad now, think about what he’d do with the power that comes with the presidency. #shudder# His Civilian National Security Force would make sure nothing critical of him ever got out. I really hope the McCain folks make an ad showing this.

guitarplayer on August 26, 2008 at 8:00 AM

Obama: “If they bring a knife to a knife fight, we bring a bomb thrower”

ninjapirate on August 26, 2008 at 8:03 AM

Why did Fox decline? What’s happening to them?

And isn’t this similar to how he got elected to the Illinois senate in the first place, playing Chicago hardball in getting his opponents kicked off the ballot? Intimidation works, right?

Hope ‘n change.

Right.

Grantman on August 26, 2008 at 8:04 AM

KGB

winemkr on August 26, 2008 at 8:04 AM

It’s his Stasi-like force that worries me. This guy picutres himself as an African-style despot-dictator. I hope his tactics backfire big-time, as you predict, Ed.

mr.blacksheep on August 26, 2008 at 8:08 AM

Obama responded as he did for two reasons. First, he is incredibly thin-skinned. Second, he has a Messiah complex. As a result, criticism of his position is not simply dissent: it is a deep, personal insult that cannot be tolerated and cannot be allowed to stand.
-
The good news? McCain can keep him on the defensive, responding to attacks.

RJGatorEsq. on August 26, 2008 at 8:10 AM

Why did the Barry Bus produce the response ad? Because some upscale mom-n-dad’s basement dweller got his pocket-protector twisted in a knot.

Limerick on August 26, 2008 at 8:10 AM

Ayers is the gift that keeps on giving.But where in the hell is REV WRIGHT.Cant he get a little love here?We miss him in the spotlight.When are we gonna SWIFTBOAT osama with some of the lies about their association?And in passing. check out the pic of Michelle Bin Obama with her racist women buds , just click on Tammy Bruce.Well yall have a nice day, Im gonna go have some watermelon,chitlins and a big box of popeyes fried chicken.P.S. My noose making is coming along swimmingly.

Marines for Mccain on August 26, 2008 at 8:10 AM

American Issues should have its own rapid response videos ready for YouTube delivery (they’ll end up on TV that way). This is the best way to keep this issue alive, to have Obama fan the flames of it.

EMD on August 26, 2008 at 8:10 AM

B.O. has yet to produce one single bit of proof that he wasn’t as buddy-buddy with Bill “The Bomber” Ayers as the evidence is showing more and more that he had more than a casual acquaintance with Ayers and the Weathermen Underground. Until he does, that cloud of suspicion is going to hang over his head clear on up to Election Day.

pilamaye on August 26, 2008 at 8:12 AM

Obama’s best asset is also his most glaring weakness: his mouth.

Knowing when to keep it shut is just as, if not more, important than speaking.

Samhain on August 26, 2008 at 8:12 AM

No rules for me

and a thousand for thee.

Better than you.

hillbillyjim on August 26, 2008 at 8:13 AM

For a guy who has tried to wipe all of his footprints from the sands related to his past, he then drops a trail of bread crumbs right to his back door. He is unable to let go of these long standing relationships with Ayers, Rev Wright, and Rezko; they are with him even though he is no longer by their sides.

EyesOpen on August 26, 2008 at 8:13 AM

are you scared yet?
if you won’t vote MacCain i’ll never forgive you!

rebecca on August 26, 2008 at 8:14 AM

I read this at michellemalkin.com.

Is The One so afraid of the truth that he would go to this length.

You know who else is afraid of the Truth? Satan.

madmonkphotog on August 26, 2008 at 8:14 AM

sorry, McCain

rebecca on August 26, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Just a sneak peak at what the Dims will do to free speech…and to think we laughed at the Russians!

grapeknutz on August 26, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Barry said Ayers is ok
He was just a bit crazy one day
He’s all main stream now
So don’t have a cow
Bombers are funny that way

Limerick on August 26, 2008 at 8:16 AM

I’d like say to all the new posters: Racists! You are all racists! How dare you question Obama?

Unfortunately, the networks will completely ignore this, just like news of progress in Iraq. It doesn’t fit their agenda so it doesn’t exist. Ayers belongs in prison next to Eric Robert Rudolph. The fact that he’s walking free is a travesty. The fact that he has anything to do with a Presidential candidate full on bat guano crazy.

trubble on August 26, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Sounds like Al Gores,”No legal controlling
Authority” if I remember right!

canopfor on August 26, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Of course Barry and Co. would like to get any and every issue in front of the courts, where they know that there are legions of activist judges more than willing to overstep their legitimate authority as long as it serves their liberal cause.

Barry wants to strong-arm his way to victory, Chicago-style, it seems…

.any means necessary?? ring any bells??

hillbillyjim on August 26, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Knowing when to keep it shut is just as, if not more, important than speaking.

Samhain on August 26, 2008 at 8:12 AM

Spot on.

Must be related to that thin skin of his.

Marine_Bio on August 26, 2008 at 8:19 AM

If Barack HUSSEIN Obama learned anything from Bill Clinton, it should have been that you don’t deny something. If he had just said that, sure, he and Billy Ayers got along, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with him, that story most likely would have died right there.
By fighting it, he keeps it alive and makes people wonder what he’s hiding.

tre on August 26, 2008 at 8:19 AM

And on the Seventh Day of the Convention he looked down and said – “free speech is only for thine self”

EricPWJohnson on August 26, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Think I’ll head over to the American Issues Project website and donate a few bucks to the cause.

Rod on August 26, 2008 at 8:19 AM

You know who else is afraid of the Truth? Satan.

madmonkphotog on August 26, 2008 at 8:14 AM

You know who can’t take a joke?

“Satan, proud spirit, cannot be mocked.”
-Martin Luther.

Wethal on August 26, 2008 at 8:20 AM

I have read other blogs that state, “The radio stations and the American Issues Project should have nothing to fear if this ad is accurate.” How chilling the effect on your free speech if you had to pay for legal representaion every time a polititian didn’t like what you said. To defend yourself against the deep pockets of the federal government is always a losing proposition. No one I know could afford such a cost.

Remember when Henry VIII and Elizabeth I didn’t like a particular family’s political stance. They would just “visit” for a couple of months, and bankrupt their opponents.

I cannot imagine a more powerful technique for smothering my free speech than causing me to worry that the the DOJ would require me to bear this finantial burden.

And again, it keeps the Ayers story alive and practically forces every media outlet to cover it — when they’ve managed to ignore it for the most part until now.

I’ll belive this when I see it. I’m not holding my breath.

conservative educator on August 26, 2008 at 8:20 AM

Also note from Politico:

The Obama campaign plans to punish the stations that air the ad financially, an Obama aide said, organizing his supporters to target the stations that air it and their advertisers.

This is what John Kerry did when Sinclair stations wanted to run Stolen Honor, the Swift Boat Documentary. He targeted the little guys, like the local car dealerships who were advertising locally at stations (I recall Portland, ME specifically). They did manage to scare a lot of those local advertisers.

Bauer’s letter called on the Justice Department to open “an investigation of the American Issues Project; its officers and directors; and its anonymous donors, whoever they may be.”

Good luck with that Comrade Barry! Smacks a wee bit of McCarthyism, and it would open a lot of doors to go after George Soros and other groups.

Buy Danish on August 26, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Me thinks that actually,Obama might have a nickname,
Obama(Obomba)! Kidding of course!haha.

canopfor on August 26, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Grantman:

I’ll bet Fox declined to run the ad because it didn’t want to get its broadcast team tossed out of the DNCC. Give it a week; they’ll probably be happy to run it next week.

Obama Kool-Aid drinkers don’t see any problems with a guy like Ayers. Most normal people engage in so called guilt-by-association every day of the week. It goes by the expression “exercising sound judgment.” But beyond that, as Americans, we must defend the right of people such as Ayers to say whatever they want to say. At the same time, as Americans, we must reject and, if necessary, physically confront and defeat the evil reflected in Ayers’s actions.

One of the the truly scary things about Obama–in his relationships with Wright, Rezko, and Ayers–is his wholesale inability to look each of them in the eyes and discern that they are evil and to tell them to get the h*** of his life. Obama is a lightweight and a coward of the highest orders.

BuckeyeSam on August 26, 2008 at 8:23 AM

Imagine what Obama could do with people’s IRS returns. I expect he’ll order up a bunch of files, just like the Clintons did when they took over.

Wethal on August 26, 2008 at 8:24 AM

Quite the feint from Obama. Can’t attack the issue? File a lawsuit. I wonder if he’ll try filing paperwork on Russia as they work to topple democracies.

blankminde on August 26, 2008 at 8:24 AM

Our Obamasiah is only applying his own commandment:

‘Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.’

Don’t nobody EVER NEVER again say anything negative about Barry, for you shalt be condemned to eternal hell.

poxoma on August 26, 2008 at 8:25 AM

What does Obama and Osama have in common?

They both have terrorist friends who bombed the Pentagon.

rebecca on August 26, 2008 at 8:25 AM

One of the the truly scary things about Obama–in his relationships with Wright, Rezko, and Ayers–is his wholesale inability to look each of them in the eyes and discern that they are evil and to tell them to get the h*** of his life.

I think democrats call this “superior judgment” or something…

blankminde on August 26, 2008 at 8:26 AM

The Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago,” she said.

So whatever else, Michelle can’t use her husband’s line down the road, “This isn’t the Barack I knew.”

And whatever their excuse for “leaving” their black supremacist church, it has nothing to do with Barack changing.

Whatever CHANGE means, it does NOT apply to Barack. Michelle clarified that for the democrat mile high pie.

maverick muse on August 26, 2008 at 8:27 AM

It’s not just the association with Ayres that Obama is worred about in the Annenberg documents. Apparently some of the programs the Annenberg Challenge spent money on could embaress him. Wacky, leftist experiments in education, and possibly a “gang outreach” program in which they were giving money to Chicago street gangs. Not exactly Bill Clinton’s midnight basketball.

Wethal on August 26, 2008 at 8:28 AM

The man is a Marxist and he will go to any lengths to exercise rigid control over your thoughts and behavior. Somebody had better muster up the guts to define this radical activist accurately before it’s too late.

rplat on August 26, 2008 at 8:28 AM

Anyone look at the Wikipedia page for Barack Obama lately? No mention of William Ayers on the page itself.

The discussion page attached to the article is an interesting study in how liberally biased the admins are at Wikipedia. Whenever I challenge them to apply the same standards to a Republican’s bio, they all seem to bury their heads in the sand.

Keith Olbermann and Media Matters are considered reliable sources, and noteworthy enough that their criticisms remain on dozens and dozens of bios for conservatives…but let anyone cite a thousand mainstream news sources discussing Obama’s connection to Ayers and they whine that it is neither noteworthy nor reliable.

ynot4tony2 on August 26, 2008 at 8:29 AM

The barack hussein obama reaction to free speech should scare the hell out of everybody!

Does anyone in their right mind think that he won’t do the same for everything else in this country if he gets into power. The man is an unrepentent marxist and is showing his true colors gradually.

P.S. Ayers should not be in jail, he should be swinging from a rope alongside his terr “wife”

Colonel_prop on August 26, 2008 at 8:31 AM

It would be deferred justice if a maggot like Ayers would lead to the downfall of Oblammo.

Captain Hate on August 26, 2008 at 8:32 AM

Take it easy, Obama won’t sue these anonymous donors, he’ll just send them to re-education camps, whoever they may be.

Laura in Maryland on August 26, 2008 at 8:33 AM

For the Obama camp to have this strong a reaction leads one to believe that there is more ‘there’ there.

Still waiting for those library documents…Annenberg thingy, Woods Fund, and all that.

hillbillyjim on August 26, 2008 at 8:35 AM

Why did Fox decline? What’s happening to them?

Hope ‘n change.

Right.

Grantman on August 26, 2008 at 8:04 AM

The myth that Fox was ever some shining beacon of brave free speech and dissent is a funny one perpetuated by the leftbat noise machine.

Barry is gonna try to hone’n'change folks alright.

sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 8:35 AM

Hmmmm Ayers,Rezko,Wright,Farrakan,Ophrah,Jessie Jr,and Olberman.Sounds like a cabinet to me.

Marines for Mccain on August 26, 2008 at 8:35 AM

One has to wonder why the Obama campaign wants to stage a complete meltdown on the Ayers issue.

Exactly, and as Buy Danish points out above, Kerry made this same mistake back in 2004. It didn’t stop the ads, rather it refocused that line of attack and encouraged those who were running the ad. The Clintons also made this mistake when they tried to stop that T.V. movie about them from being shown. American’s don’t like it when politicians try to stop other Americans from saying what they want to say, regardless the circumstances. McCain should double down on the Ayers/radical angle.

Weight of Glory on August 26, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Are we sure that Obama isn’t a covert Republican agent sent to infiltrate the Democratic camp and create chaos?

No wait! I know! Obama is actually Rove in disguise right?

How else can you explain this?

Browncoatone on August 26, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Click on Tammy Bruce and check out the real Michelle Bin Obama.Aint she a sweetheart?

Marines for Mccain on August 26, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Ordering the Justice Department?!

What a long line of deceit and hate to drag into the White House to ruin what remains of the Justice Department as well as upcoming legislation.

BHO has YET to be officially nominated the DNC candidate for POTUS. He is as yet a lowly junior Senator with no distinctions other than the communist affiliations he has absorbed since childhood.

BHO makes the worst friends in the sense of “All American” vs. Anarchists who use communism to topple democracy. As a youth in Hawaii, Barack grounded himself with the old communist African American “poet” from Chicago who had relocated himself to “paradise” for old age and a safe distance from those he’d already pissed off. I’ll dig that research back up from the attorney who wrote a succinct Obama biography available online.

maverick muse on August 26, 2008 at 8:40 AM

P.S. Ayers should not be in jail, he should be swinging from a rope alongside his terr “wife”

I couldn’t agree more, Colonel! Why are these enemies of America free in the first place? I don’t get it.

Dariaanne on August 26, 2008 at 8:41 AM

Steve Diamond

I am a lawyer, a law professor and a political scientist on the faculty of Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. I teach courses on the global capital markets, the international economy, corporate governance and international labor and human rights. Prior to joining the faculty I was in private legal practice in New York and in Palo Alto. I also have an extensive background in the labor movement and advise a wide range of unions, workers and institutional investors on financial and legal issues. This website is an independent project and hence is my responsibility and it is not affiliated in any other way with the law school or Santa Clara University.

***
from his blogsite:

Global Labor and the Global Economy, Who “Sent” Obama dated Tues.Apri 22, 2008, updated May 3, 28, 24, 2008

***

maverick muse on August 26, 2008 at 8:46 AM

Hey, did you guys know that Barack was organizing communities before he ran for office? Cut him some slack.
Oh, and Michelle, she grew up on the south side of Chicago.
Biden, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
(+ his IQ is higher than yours)

Towash on August 26, 2008 at 8:47 AM

BHO has YET to be officially nominated the DNC candidate for POTUS. He is as yet a lowly junior Senator with no distinctions other than the communist affiliations he has absorbed since childhood.

But he is By God entitled, and for you or anyone else to suggest differently is just plain racist. He is the One we’ve been waiting for, damnit.

Who are we to question his past associations, as he can rewrite history at will to suit whichever Obama is being trotted out at any given moment. You’ve got to get with the program, man. He and Michelle are entitled and that’s the end of it.

</mini-rant

hillbillyjim on August 26, 2008 at 8:47 AM

does this sound familar?

Adams led the Federalists, conservatives who favored a strong central government, and Jefferson led the Republicans, egalitarians who felt the Federalists had betrayed the Revolution of 1776 and were backsliding toward monarchy. The campaign itself was a barroom brawl every bit as ruthless as any modern contest, with mud-slinging–Federalists called Jefferson “a howling atheist”–scare tactics, and backstabbing. The low point came when Alexander Hamilton printed a devastating attack on Adams, the head of his own party, in “fifty-four pages of unremitting vilification.”
The election ended in a stalemate in the Electoral College that dragged on for days and nights and through dozens of ballots. Tensions ran so high that the Republicans threatened civil war if the Federalists denied Jefferson the presidency. Finally a secret deal that changed a single vote gave Jefferson the White House. A devastated Adams left Washington before dawn on Inauguration Day, too embittered even to shake his rival’s hand. Jefferson’s election, John Ferling concludes, consummated the American Revolution, assuring the democratization of the United States and its true separation from Britain
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adams-Vs-Jefferson-Tumultuous-Election/dp/0195167716

Exchange the names and you have the last three elections.

unseen on August 26, 2008 at 8:54 AM

Typical hypocritical liberals. They’re always saying how they fight for Freedom of Speech and The Constitution. Yet, who are always the first ones trying to get you fired or boycotted because they don’t like what you say? Liberals.

SoulGlo on August 26, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Answer — Today the library opens the files and presumably the public gets to know what was really going on behind the curtain. This in turn dissolves the myth that Ayers was an “acquaintance”.

Little time to get out front.

tarpon on August 26, 2008 at 9:01 AM

For the Obama camp to have this strong a reaction leads one to believe that there is more ‘there’ there.

hillbillyjim on August 26, 2008 at 8:35 AM

A small child reacts strongly to the presence of a wee little creepy-crawly that fully grown man would ignore or squash without effort. That strong reaction doesn’t make me think that there is more substance to the allegation; it only encourages me to believe that they are shallow, self-centred and have poor judgment …

YiZhangZhe on August 26, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Team Obama has thrilled the netroots by saying they won’t be “Swiftboated”, but there isn’t anything factually inaccurate in the ads.

THey didn’t care when the truth came out about Kerry either.

The denizens of the left are totally bugfrickin crazy.

benrand on August 26, 2008 at 9:08 AM

small child reacts strongly to the presence of a wee little creepy-crawly that fully grown man would ignore or squash without effort. That strong reaction doesn’t make me think that there is more substance to the allegation; it only encourages me to believe that they are shallow, self-centred and have poor judgment …

YiZhangZhe on August 26, 2008 at 9:03 AM

But this doesn’t explain the rather ham-handed efforts to keep the UIC archives sheltered from scrutiny. If there is nothing of substance there, common sense would dictate a full, swift airing of all of it. If there is nothing to hide, then the efforts at concealment and diversion are the most boneheaded move the Obama camp could possibly make.

hillbillyjim on August 26, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Remember that annoying kid in school who always tried to get your attention, and then suddenly just 1 day he just flips out.

Yeah, that pretty much sums up Team Obama.

I say, lets throw out some more commercials, and watch as he tries to sue every last one of them. He needs to spend those billions he is getting from the poor, hard working middle class anyways. Funny, but isnt our economy in a bad state right now, yet this pleeb has the audacity of hope to rake in millions, all the while the little guy cant even afford to air up his own tires.

TheHat on August 26, 2008 at 9:10 AM

bullying people through the Department of Justice as a candidate will cause reasonable people to wonder what will happen if Obama gets elected

But Ed, this is the candidate of change.

IrishMcPundit on August 26, 2008 at 9:12 AM

The myth that Fox was ever some shining beacon of brave free speech and dissent is a funny one perpetuated by the leftbat noise machine.
sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 8:35 AM

Guys, guys. This is an example of how McCain-Feingold is hoisting McCain by his own petard.

After the Swiftboat Vets in 2004, the FEC ruled that 527 groups were not allowed to question a candidate’s character and fitness for elected office in advertising. Thus, were the American Issues people organized under 527, their ad might be violative of FEC rulings. (I’m not an election lawyer, so take my statement with a healthy dose of salt.) According to Obama’s lawyer’s letter, American Issues organized under 501(c)(4). Obama’s lawyer argues that the 501(c)(4) groups are also barred from expressly advocating the defeat or election of a particular candidate.

Again, not knowing the ins and outs of the rules here, I’m not 100% certain, but my guess is that Fox and CNN declined to air the ad over concerns it might violate the law. The individual state GOPs are going to have to run these types of ads, I think.

So, super bottom line: Hey, McCain! How does it feel being hoisted by your own petard?

Outlander on August 26, 2008 at 9:15 AM

I recently spent an annual weekend with old buds and as usual the talk around the campfire ended up on politics, world affairs, etc. Sadly, we are unanimous in the opinion that an Obama presidency would be a disaster for America. To quote the Hooter–”For the first time in my life I’m scared for my kids and all of our kids…”
What we find most ironic is the people we know who SEEM to be intelligent, and yet cannot provide a single cogent argument for why their messiah can lead us to Walden Pond or some such. Preferring to deal in banalities, ad hominem shots at conservatives, and a big dose of Bush/Cheney Derangement Syndrome.

stu.b.con on August 26, 2008 at 9:16 AM

So, super bottom line: Hey, McCain! How does it feel being hoisted by your own petard?

Outlander on August 26, 2008 at 9:15 AM

absolutely and part of the reason why had the DNC nominated a non-marxist I’d have voted Democrat for PotUS for the first time in my life.

McCain’s CFR is what allowed the donks to resurge back into parity. All this because he couldn’t resist Keating’s money. Like all corrupt people who deign to pretend they have principles he cannot imagine that America can do quite fine without him.

McCain/Feingold-the incumbent protection act.

sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 9:23 AM

Wait till he’s in charge of the DOJ & IRS.

Akzed on August 26, 2008 at 9:25 AM

Heh, it’s a typical reaction from a typical liberal Chicago politician.

Keith_Indy on August 26, 2008 at 9:31 AM

What’s the big deal? So he has some questionable connections?
Didn’t anyone see the speech last night? Michelle loves this country!

Towash on August 26, 2008 at 9:32 AM

What’s the big deal? So he has some questionable connections?
Didn’t anyone see the speech last night? Michelle loves this country!

Towash on August 26, 2008 at 9:32 AM

and the fox loves the hens….

sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 9:33 AM

and the fox loves the hens….

sven10077 on August 26, 2008 at 9:33 AM

+1

Towash on August 26, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Make an ad that looks compelling if you don’t listen to it…

Try to pressure media into only putting forward approved ads…

File a lawsuit to silence the source of the ads…

This is why I love Obama…Hope, Change and Rovian tactics at their finest. When is Bush gonna endorse this guy for doing everything he was accused of doing…BETTAH?!

its_a_trap on August 26, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Now that Obama has made the ad itself an issue, FOX and CNN will actually air it in their reporting of the story. So, even though they won’t run the ad, it will air as part of the stories about the ad. Nice work, Team Obama.

uncalheels on August 26, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Obama Mugabe. All the economic expertise with just a bit more subtlety on the oppression of political opponents front.

amkun on August 26, 2008 at 9:43 AM

HillbillyJim nailed it. The real story here might well be the reasons why Osama Obama is so concerned about this ad.

I suspect there’s far more to this story than meets the eye. And if it gets out — unlikely, given the leg-tinglers’ dominance of most forms of “news” reporting — The Messiah will be in serious trouble.

MrScribbler on August 26, 2008 at 9:44 AM

A NYT background story on Ayers, from a few years before Obama needed him to lay low:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F02E1DE1438F932A2575AC0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

RBMN on August 26, 2008 at 9:52 AM

I believe they are saving the Rev. Wright and Michelle clips for Oct. Who knows what else the GOP has uncovered for the Oct. surprise? Can’t wait!!!

Winebabe on August 26, 2008 at 10:08 AM

While I’m sure there are other things in the paperwork for him to worry about, I suspect that Obama might want to scrub from the Annenberg papers any references suggesing that he and Ayers may have been associated back in Obama’s Columbia days, with a more personal relationship than simply sitting on the same boards in Chicago.

texette on August 26, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Obama Mugabe. All the economic expertise with just a bit more subtlety on the oppression of political opponents front.

amkun on August 26, 2008 at 9:43 AM

+1

http://www.wewillnotbesilenced2008.com

funky chicken on August 26, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Whoa, Team Obama wrote a letter to the DOJ asking for a criminal investigation into the American Issues Project?
Team Obama did not write to the IRS? Team Obama did not write to the FEC? They went straight to the Department of Justice?

Why?

What’s the angle here? Is Team Obama trying to get the DOJ to reject their appeal in order to cut their next ad; “President Bush won’t investigate criminals…”

gabriel sutherland on August 26, 2008 at 10:23 AM

70,000 Germans can’t be wrong.

Flint Stone on August 26, 2008 at 10:28 AM

American’s don’t like it when politicians try to stop other Americans from saying what they want to say, regardless the circumstances. McCain should double down on the Ayers/radical angle.

Weight of Glory on August 26, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Another instance of the coverup becoming worse than the crime. The original ad by the independent group (not the McCain campaign) set the trap for Obama and he walked right into it.

Now the issue is on the table and petulant, whiny Barry O has run crying to his government Mommy. The original ad did not advocate McCain, it brought up questions about Obama; its creators could be voting for Bob Barr or Ralph Nader for all we can tell from that ad alone.

Obama is trying to avoid Kerry’s “swiftboat” mistakes by being all fighty-fight but he’s made a huge error with these knee-jerk responses. An effective counter would be an honest confrontation of the issue, something Team Barry looks increasingly desperate to avoid.

Gilda on August 26, 2008 at 10:32 AM

The arcane regulations of political advertising will fly over most people’s heads, but bullying people through the Department of Justice as a candidate will cause reasonable people to wonder what will happen if Obama gets elected. Most Americans will see this as Obama trying to silence someone with an inconvenient political point of view, not as a defense of a campaign-finance system that’s already egregious enough as it is without this kind of precedent.

Can we say Woodrow Wilson? Yes We Can!

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on August 26, 2008 at 10:49 AM

progressives hate free speech

eh on August 26, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Team Obama has thrilled the netroots by saying they won’t be “Swiftboated”, but there isn’t anything factually inaccurate in the ads.

Neither was there anything inaccurate in the ads produced by the Swift Boat Vets for Truth.

Still, this silencing of disent… isn’t that what our side is supposedly doing? Once again the Left projects its true agenda onto us.

crazy_legs on August 26, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Most Americans will see this as Obama trying to silence someone with an inconvenient political point of view

I mean, WTF, isn’t that what this is????

This can only get better, as the Chaicago Annenberg Challenge documents are released, and scrutinized by some members of the press. It will not only keep the Ayers/Dohrn names in the press for some time, but may expose some good ole, Chicago style, pork-a-licious, priceless patronage to boot!

Or dare I dream: At the same time that the Dali-bama is calling for the justice dept to silence his political opponents, it comes to light that CAC documents, previously listed on the “finders guide” Kurtz mentioned at NRO, ones that could be potentially damaging just by their descriptions, mysteriously disappear down the memory hole with the rest of the Obamateur’s Chicago paper trail…

A man can dream can’t he?

RocketmanBob on August 26, 2008 at 11:00 AM

The utopian left promotes dissent until they take over, but they obviously can’t abide any dissent after they’re in charge. Utopia requires conformism. Utopia, by definition, is perfect and without discord. By the way, diversity training is at 2:30 pm. You WILL attend.

RBMN on August 26, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Obama’s association with bill Ayers is longstanding and largely responsivble for Obama’s meteoric rise in the haute liberal circles of Chicago. I have argued elsewhere that the evidence is persuasive that Obama is actually a protege of Bill Ayers, and could not possibly be where he is today had Ayers not given him entree into the radical-left establishement of Chicago.

Clearly Bill Ayers saw something in the young Barack Obama that excited him and caused him to start promoting him. He had no discernible qualification to head up the Annenberg Challenge, yet Ayers installed him there.

And do not make the mistake of believing that Bill Ayers is some left-wing, aging-hippie crank; he is extremely influential in left-wing circles, especially in education policy and practice. He has influenced a generation of teachers and professors all over America and his radical ideas are given much weight in many academic and political circles.

rockmom on August 26, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Why ever would the DOJ investigate this? There has been no criminal act. It is just against FEC regulations and would require the attention of the FEC. But didn’t the Democrats fail to appoint enough members for the FEC to gather the quorum necessary to take any action. Just another day in Obama fantasy land.

snaggletoothie on August 26, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Neither was there anything inaccurate in the ads produced by the Swift Boat Vets for Truth.

Thank you! I am so sick of talking heads using “swiftboating” as verb denoting slander. Kerry’s own testimony, in which he accused American soldiers of the most despicable crimes, was a prominent feature in Swiftboat Veterans for Truth ads. The 2004 Democratic candidate damaged his own cause way back in 1971.

As for Obama, when you’ve based your entire campaign on your judgment, don’t be surprised when others point out your associations with terrorists. I’m glad he’s stupid enough to make this an issue — as one of the commenters above mentioned, news outlets covering the story are now going to have to show at least a portion of the ad in question.

Dariaanne on August 26, 2008 at 11:14 AM

At least some in the mainstream (legacy) media — mostly blogs, but that’s OK — are paying attention:

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign is prepping an ad linking Obama to his old fundraiser Tony Rezko. (The RNC has been pushing this link hard today in response to the Obama campaign’s offensive against McCain.)

As CBS News chief political consultant Marc Ambinder reports, a campaign official suggested that Obama “opened the door” to the ad.

The Obama campaign “attack Cindy,” the aide said, in its ad today on John McCain not knowing how many houses he owns. “She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits.”

Paul_in_NJ on August 26, 2008 at 11:24 AM

The Obama campaign “attack Cindy,” the aide said, in its ad today on John McCain not knowing how many houses he owns. “She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits.”

Whoops.

gabriel sutherland on August 26, 2008 at 11:28 AM

I suggest everyone call or e-mail CNN and Fox and complain about their weak-kneed response to Obama’s intimidation tactics.

Then visit the American Issues website and make a donation.

That’s what I’m going to do.

AZCoyote on August 26, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Barack Obama did a double-twist on free speech yesterday in reaction to the ad produced by an outside political group regarding his association with William Ayers. After his own campaign produced an ad that Factcheck called a “smear” tying Jack Abramoff to John McCain through Ralph Reed, American Issues produced an ad that pointed out Obama’s political ties to the unrepentant former domestic terrorist, William Ayers. Instead of letting it drop, Obama’s campaign took two really stupid actions: they produced a response ad and then demanded that the Department of Justice investigate American Issues while pressuring television stations to reject the ad:

That Networks Ran the Jack Abramoff Ad?

Obama should be skewered on this.

Chakra Hammer on August 26, 2008 at 2:06 PM

What Networks Ran the Jack Abramoff Ad?

Chakra Hammer on August 26, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Barack Obama and the exercise of free speech

In the ALL Oblahblah “Fairness Doctrine.
Maybe all of the alphabet networks should just pull the plug, and stay in the dark until after the election… /Sarcasm

Or, be a Western democracy and report the news!

byteshredder on August 26, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Can we say MOVEON.ORG!

flytier on August 26, 2008 at 3:37 PM

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