Bill Ayers: Right-wing media convinced leftists that Obama was a secret leftist

Leftists in the United States were mistaken to view President Barack Obama as one of their own, according to education activist and former revolutionary Bill Ayers.

During an appearance last Friday at D.C.'s legendary Politics and Prose bookstore, Ayers said he was well-acquainted with Obama. Both men were involved in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Woods Fund of Chicago. They also both taught at the University of Chicago and lived in Hyde Park.

"It's a small neighborhood," Ayers explained. "I was a guy around that neighborhood and so was he, and we would run into each other at the supermarket or the bookstore or the park. That's the kind of neighborhood it is."

Ayers never viewed Obama as a leftist like himself.

"He was a community organizer to his great credit, but all through the 2008 campaign Barack Obama said, whenever asked, he would say, 'I am a moderate, compromising, pragmatic, middle-of-the-road, politician."

"The right-wing looked at him and said, 'No, he is a secret socialist, palling around with terrorists and Palestinians, he has a fiery black nationalist minister, he is probably a black nationalist on top of everything else.' And the left-wing looked at him and said, 'He is winking in our direction, I feel it.'"

"Well, he wasn't winking," Ayers continued. "If you look at his record in Illinois, if you look at his record in the last six years, if you look at his record in the U.S. Senate, it is the record of a moderate, pragmatic politician."

He concluded that leftist spent too much time "gazing at the sights of power they have no access to" rather than engaging in grassroots activism. Lyndon Johnson wasn't part of the civil rights movement, Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn't part of the labor movement, and Abraham Lincoln wasn't part of the abolition movement, Ayers said.

"Those three names are linked with those three great accomplishments precisely because of fire from below," he remarked.

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