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« A Florida Obama Delegate---Live--from the Convention! Democratic Party PARTY | Main | Madonna Upsets McCain »

August 26, 2008



I knew Ayers & his then-girlfriend Diana Oughton back in Ann Arbor in early '69, when Mark Rudd stayed at my apartment during an SDS confab. Diana was a decent human being, but not a good bomb-maker, as she died in a Greenwich Village townhouse explosion making a bomb to kill US troops in Fort Dix, an action Ayers never repudiated.

Obama was stupid to respond to the ad, which will make it mainstream & viral. Methinks the "shifty and untrustworthy" [Jake Tapper's quote of a Hillary spokesperson yesterday] Obama's strange bio will be unpeeled layer by layer like an onion---the Ayers episode & the Wright decades-long dalliance with black racist undertones will begin to erode the Messianic Aura of this upstart.

If McCain chooses Lieberman or Condi Rice, he will certainly make Biden look like a plagiarizing hair-plug B-Lister.

Deb Cupples


I don't know whether doing a response ad was smart or not.

I haven't watched the smear ad, because I already suspect from reading descriptions of it that any innuendo linking Obama to terrorism is crap.

If Obama feels that he has technical grounds to sue the "American Issues Project" (or its members) for defamation, then he SHOULD try his luck in civil court.

If Obama has evidence that AIP has violated campaign-finance or electioneering laws, then he SHOULD complain to the FEC (as other candidates have done in similar situations).

Here's what unnerves me:

"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.'"

Unleashing federal prosecutors on loud-mouthed political enemies because they make nasty innuendos (or even false statements) about a public figure?

I’m going to email a First Amendment scholar and see what she thinks about the implications.

Frankly, I wonder if former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman will be (privately) plagued by a wicked case of dejas vu when he reads about a political candidate’s ASKING our nation’s top law-enforcement agency to intervene in a political mud-fest.


The ad makes very few assertions with respect to Obama himself, to wit he knew Ayers, defended him and worked with him on a board. The Obama campaign has not refuted any allegation made. I.e, the campaign is not arguig that OBama does not know Ayers. The ad question Obama's judgement. The facts are not in dispute.

Obama might be able to supress this one ad. He can supress the facts stated in the ad. I hope he tries.

Deb Cupples


I finally watched the ad -- then realized that I've already seen it.

If everything the ad SAYS is true, then Obama might not have a good defamation case. (I don't know all the facts and case law.)

I've done only a tiny bit of research since reading the Obama campaign's lawyer's letter to Justice, and my memory of the BCRA and of McConnell v. FEC is very foggy.

That and I'm not familiar with the federal regulations relevant to the Obama campaign's claims.

It seems (from my LIMITED) research that the question of legal violations by the AIP MAY turn on whether the ads were released within the 60 day period before the general election.

At this point, I think we're still outside that 60-day window, so the ads MIGHT NOT even be considered "electioneering communications."

Again, I've done only LIMITED research, as I have job-related work to do.

Anyway, my main point in the previous comment is that I find it troubling that ANY political candidate would even think about using federal prosecutors to stop political enemies from exercising First Amendment rights -- unless, of course, criminal laws really were broken.


This is just stupid. Why are you trying to associate a 1960's terrorist with Barack Obama who was 8 years old during the Weatherman time. Grow up!

Deb Cupples


I'm not sure what it is that you think is stupid.

Frankly, I don't think of Obama as a terrorist and don't care what his friends did 40 years ago -- but that's not the point.

The issue that Damozel brought up in her post is that Obama is hitting back over the false ads.

The issue that I brought up in my comments is whether it is appropriate to involve the Justice Department.

Are you actually responding to what we've written, or are you venting about something else?


I understand Deb's concern, but I think this case is distinguishable. Obama isn't the boss of Michael Mukasey.

Certainly the DoJ allegedly at one time went after Democrats with a certain zeal. If Obama believes a violation of federal law might have occurred, why may he not call it to the DoJ's attention? Unlike Bush Inc., Obama can't bring any pressure to bear on the DoJ or influence their policies.

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