Obama Threatening TV Stations For Airing Ayers Ad (UPDATE: AIP Responds)

With some success – both CNN and Fox News, (as I’ve previously noted) have declined to run this ad:

*Keep watching this, even if you’ve already seen it.

Unable to dispute the basic truth of the ad, the Obama camp has tried another tack. Sic the Department of Justice on the group, the “American Issues Project, who produced the ad, and aggressively pressure TV stations who plan to run 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 mobilized his minions:

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.

Why, Fox News would cave in to such pressure is anyone’s guess. It’s not like they are the first (or second, or third) choice for Obama supporters, anyway.

Not all stations are bowing to the pressure, however. It is still being aired widely:

Evan Tracey, who tracks campaign advertising at TNS Media Intelligence, said it has been broadcast 150 times in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan. Federal Election Commission reports indicate that Simmons has spent more than $2.8 million buying ads.

The Politico also reports:

Obama’s campaign has written a pair of letters to station managers carrying the ads.

The letter calls the ad’s attempt to link Obama to terrorism “an appalling lie, a disgraceful smear of the lowest kind on the senator’s patriotism and commitment to the rule of law.”

Well, the ad doesn’t ‘link Obama to terrorism’. It links him to an unrepentant former terrorist. Where’s the “appalling lie”? It’s becoming increasingly clear that Obama had more than a passing acquaintance with this unrepentant former terrorist.

But Obama doesn’t address the actual problematic linkage. Instead, as always with him, we get smoke and mirrors.

The Obama Camp produced its own weak response ad:

Why is McCain talking about the sixties?

First of all…that’s not even a McCain Ad. It was put on by an independent 527 group. Second of all, this ad mentions the sixties because that’s when Obama’s pal William Ayers was actively engaged in domestic terrorism. Obama’s age at the time isn’t relevant. The relevant question is, why is Obama friends with such a person?

And another thing… how did Ayers get his job at the University of Illinois-Chicago, with his terrorist background? Michael Barone answers that question:

And you might wonder how an unrepentant terrorist got a huge grant and cooperation from the Chicago public school system. You might wonder—if you don’t know Chicago. For this is a city with a civic culture in which politicians, in the words of a story often told by former congressman, federal judge, and Clinton White House counsel Abner Mikva, “don’t want nobody nobody sent.” That’s what Mikva remembers being told when he went to a Democratic ward headquarters to volunteer for Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s, and it rings true. And it’s a civic culture in which there’s nobody better to send you than your parents.

That’s how William Ayers got where he was. When he came out of hiding because the federal government was unable to prosecute him (because of government misconduct), he got a degree in education from Columbia and then moved to Chicago and got a job on the education faculty of the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle. How did he get that job? Well, it can’t have hurt that his father, Thomas Ayers, was chairman of Commonwealth Edison (now Exelon) and a charter member of the Chicago establishment. As Mayor Richard M. Daley said recently, in arguing that the Ayers association should not be held against Obama, “His father was a great friend of my father.”

That explains who sent Ayers. The question is, who sent Obama?


* Ace says (in his sidebar) to watch the video a few more times to drive it up the YouTube hot videos chart.

Good plan.

Also, Fox News says they love to hear your input:

“We Love to Hear From Our Viewers”!

Contact info here, in case you would like to let them know how you feel about their complete lack of spine on this issue.


Whoa, listen to Andrew McCarthy:

The only two cents I’d add is that a real story — and one that should alarm people — is that this is what Obama thinks the Justice Department is for. Here is a guy who fought the Patriot Act, fought surveillance reform, has spoken admiringly of Ayer’s radical views of the criminal justice system, and has a record as a Chicago legislator of being soft on violent crime. He is evidently ambivalent about going after terrorists and hardened criminals, but he wants to mobilize the Justice Department post haste to suppress political speech that he doesn’t like.

I regard that as more than a little disconcerting from a guy who wants to be president, pick the next attorney-general, and make U.S. law enforcement policy.

Excellent points.

Jonah Goldberg over at the Corner is AMAZED at the Obama camp’s obtuseness on this matter:

I am amazed, simply amazed, at the amazement of many liberals that Ayers and Dohrn should matter to anyone. I was one of the first to write about Ayers (for which Alan Colmes denounced me as some kind of McCarthyite, though not in so many words) and I’ve been getting email ever since for my mule-headedness. Apparently the groupthink is so thick that at the Obama campaign they actually think this rightwing or Republican obsession is a weakness. How else to explain the stupidity of their Ayers’ ad?

I think the Obama camp is in for a rude awakening when/if this story goes mainstream.

But that’s why I’m not sure people like jennifer Rubin at Commentary Magazine are right that Obama’s ad was a bad idea for him:

The conservative blogosphere is agog: what was Barack Obama thinking? He took a story largely confined to the internet, (only briefly raised in the primary) about Obama’s connection to former terrorist Bill Ayers, put it in his own ad, and then filed a claim trying to force the third-party 527 ad that first brought up the Obama-Ayers connection off the air. In the next 24 hours thousands if not millions of voters who never heard of or didn’t understand the extent of the Obama-Ayers relationship are going to get a full education.

I don’t know about that. Most people aren’t going to take the time to look up who William Ayers is. Obama could very well be successful in suppressing this story.

If late night comedians start making jokes about it, then I’ll feel better.

UPDATE (August 27):

More from Andrew McCarthy.


I’m hearing that Fox has changed its mind, and run the ad. I haven’t been able to confirm it, but that’s the word on the street.


The American Issues Project’s fights back with its own letters to the DOJ, here and here.

Via Michelle Malkin, I like how they turn the tables on the Obama thugs:

Re: Response to August 25, 2008 Letter to DOJ from Obama Presidential Campaign (“Second Letter”)

Dear Mr. Keeney:

Yet again, the Obama for America campaign has sent a letter to you and your office, demanding now that the Department of Justice prosecute one of the donors to American Issues Project, Inc., (“AIP), a non-profit organization which is presently sponsoring advertisements to which the Obama campaign objects.

As stated in my letter sent in response to the Obama campaign’s first letter, AIP has not violated the law, is not violating the law and is taking every possible precaution to assure that it does not violate the law in the future.

The Obama campaign dislikes the content of AIP’s advertising – but is unable to contradict the facts contained in the ad. That is precisely why the ad is presently being broadcast by numerous television stations. It is accurate, documented, and truthful.

The Obama Campaign has specifically called on the Department of Justice to prosecute a donor to AIP, whose contribution was disclosed publicly in accordance with federal law. See 11 C.F.R. §109.10.

Information contained in AIP’s FEC Form 5, filed on August 19, 2006 was attached to the Obama Campaign’s Second Letter to DOJ and information contained in the filing forms the basis for the Obama Campaign’s latest demands of you and the Department.

The Obama Campaign’s request gives rise to a significant legal and constitutional question: that is, whether the Department of Justice would seriously undertake the prosecution of a citizen under pressure from a prominent government official / political candidate, relying on information contained in truthful and accurate government filing, disclosed in accordance with federal law. There are serious Fifth Amendment self-incrimination issues involved in a situation whereby a criminal prosecution could be ordered at will by political pressure on your Department based solely on a timely and accurate federal government disclosure.

AIP has sought and received the voluntary after-tax contributions of donor(s) to support its policy objectives, which happen to differ from those of the Obama Campaign. Rather than addressing the facts contained in the AIP advertisement, it has instead set about to “deal” with AIP through your Department.

This is, however, only the latest in a series of brazen public statements and efforts by liberal Democratic operatives and agents of the Obama Campaign to silence their critics and organizations with whom they disagree, by initiating what they acknowledge is a concerted national effort announced in recent weeks to intimidate, harass and otherwise bully conservative donors.

An organization calling itself “Accountable America” announced two weeks ago its intent to obtain publicly filed disclosures to attempt to coerce donors to conservative causes to stop making contributions and essentially threatening potential donors into not making contributions to conservative groups. Like the Obama Campaign, this group of operatives is using information obtained from legally mandated public disclosures to identify and target for their attack donors to conservative causes.

Of course, should the Department decide to yield to the pressure from the Obama Campaign and undertake its requested ‘investigations’ of donors to politically related conservative causes, the Department would necessarily be required to do so in an even-handed, non partisan and non-ideological approach. In that regard, the Department would be required to review all donors to all causes and political / policy organizations, whose contributions exceed $5,000 per calendar year to any such causes, the vast majority of which are donors to liberal causes, not conservative ones.

Based on calculations from the Center for Responsive Politics (www.crp.org ) the following are leftwing donors whose substantial contributions to political causes in the last three election cycles have consistently landed each of them on the top donors list and surely each of these donors warrant the Department’s review, scrutiny and prosecution, if the Obama Campaign standard is to be applied evenly:

George Soros:

2004: $23,450,000

2006: $ 3,542,500

2008 (to date) $ 4,650,000

Steven Bing:

2004: $13,852,031

2008 (to date) $ 4,850,000

Peter Lewis:

2004: $22,997,220

2006: $ 1, 624,375

2008 (to date) $ 850,000

Herb and Marion Sandler:

2004: $13, 008, 459

Linda Pritzker:

2004: $3,300,000

2006: $2,101,000

John Hunting:

2006: $1,647,000

2008 (to date) $1,243,000

Alida Messinger

2004: $ 3,580,200

2006: $ 1,042,000

2008 (to date) $ 883,000

Pat Stryker:

2006: $ 1,331,293

2008 (to date): $ 300,000

Jon Stryker:

2006: $ 1,271,313

2008: $ 604,054

The list is quite lengthy and this is but a partial list of those the Department would be obligated to pursue if it bows to the demands of the Obama Campaign to undertake investigations of wealthy donors making large contributions to political causes. The Obama Campaign should be aware that most of the donors on the list are individuals who consistently support left-wing, liberal and Democratic causes. And most of the donors listed above have made public statements regarding their intent to use their wealth to impact the outcome of federal elections should the Department need further evidence of their activities.

The letters from the Obama Campaign to you and your Department are a gross misuse of the power and prestige of that organization. However, because of the environment in which we function, it is important that AIP respond to the ongoing baseless allegations in the letter war now being waged against it by the Obama Campaign.

AIP has violated no provision of law. The donor(s) to AIP have violated no provision of law. However, if the Department of Justice decides to initiate investigations of donors to AIP and other conservative political and policy organizations, as well as the activities of citizens groups such as AIP, we will be prepared to counter such efforts with our list of targets and entities with which we disagree politically and philosophically for the Department to also investigate and prosecute.

Please contact me if you have any questions.


Cleta Mitchell

Cleta Mitchell, Esq.

Counsel, American Issues Project

I guess Obama isn’t the only one who knows how to fight the “Chicago Way”


How Obama Fights.

UPDATE IV: (September 26):

Obama continues this tactic in an effort to get NRA ads off the air, and to silence critics in MO.

About these ads

23 Responses to “Obama Threatening TV Stations For Airing Ayers Ad (UPDATE: AIP Responds)”

  1. Fox Refuses To Air Anti-Obama/Ayers Ad « Nice Deb Says:

    […] Obama Threatening TV Stations For Airing Ayers Ad « Nice Deb Says: August, 26, 2008 at 2:14 pm […]


  2. Wickedpinto Says:

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  3. nicedeb Says:

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  4. Bruce Says:

    What we have here is a preview of the media under an Obamanation administration. For SURE the “Fairness Doctrine” (sic) will be reinstated, precisely because the leftards cannot stand free debate on their lack of principles and adherence to our Constitution AS WRITTEN by the Founders – not as interpreted by an unelected judiciary ruling by fiat. We will see the end of conservative talk radio and revert to the days when only newspapers and MSM stations were the only place to get “news” … slanted, of course. They are even talking about applying these standards to bloggers.


  5. nicedeb Says:

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  6. How Obama Fights « Nice Deb Says:

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