Barack Obama’s performance was so awful last night, I gave short shrift to his cringe-inducing comparison of
convicted terrorist Bill Ayers with GOP Sen. Tom Coburn. Let’s go back to the transcript to spell out just how botched this moment was:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you’ll have to — (applause) — (inaudible).
I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, 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. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”
An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?
SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I’m 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 acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.
The fact is, is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.
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, is somehow — 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.
If this is the kind of “friend” Obama is to principled pro-lifers, who needs enemies?
Is Obama really that marinated in moral equivalence that he gives no pause before likening a
convicted terrorist who belonged to a violent radical organization responsible for dozens of bombings to one of the most respected members of the US Senate–a life-affirming, life-giving obstetrician who has personally delivered more than 4,000 babies?
LifeNews.com editor Steven Erfelt reports on the comments Sen. Coburn made that Obama analogized to Ayers’ violent spree, and he notes that the pro-lifer-as-terrorist analogy is a staple of the Left:
Coburn, who is an Oklahoma senator, told AP in July 2004, “I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life.”
Later, Coburn expanded on the remarks and told The Oklahoman newspaper, “My contention for the death penalty is, if you intentionally take innocent life, you ought to be open to the death penalty.”
This isn’t the first time pro-life advocates have been accused of engaging in terrorism.
In August, CNN’s miniseries “God’s Warriors,” featured file footage of the bombing at a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic in 1998 by someone unaffiliated with the pro-life movement but who claimed to be against abortion. Christiane Amanpour said the attack was conducted by “radical opponents [who] had long waged their holy war against abortion clinics,” which also “terrified many women.”
In July 2006, Planned Parenthood’s web site labeled pro-life groups “terrorists and extremists.” The group including a heading, “Terrorists and Extremist Organizations” that included Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Feminists for Life of America and Focus on the Family.
Abortion activist Gloria Steinem came under fire in October 2004 when she called President Bush, because of his pro-life record on abortion, “more dangerous to this country’s citizens than terrorists” at a New Mexico NARAL fundraising breakfast. Asked to comment on Steinem’s remark, Chris Lalley, director of media relations for Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, used terrorism comparisons to describe the president. “We think President Bush is terrorizing women’s rights,” Lalley told LifeNews.com. Steinem’s offhanded remark was too much for Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, who told LifeNews.com, “Gloria Steinem demeans the victims of terrorism by equating opposition to her political agenda to acts of violence.”
I called Sen. Coburn’s office for comment; I’m sure they will show far more grace, tact, and friendship than Obama showed last night.
No need to guess how the Obama campaign will handle this latest stumble:
It’s a “distraction” from The Issues. Just another Washington “obsession” with Obama’s baffling thought process.
Oh, and don’t you dare compare him to McGovern or Dukakis. After all, he is a “pretty darned good politician,” if he says so himself.
Narcissism: It’s the opiate of the Obamas.
Ed Morrissey weighs in:
I doubt Senator Coburn will remain friendly with Obama after equating him to a terrorist because of a policy dispute. Coburn wanted to pass a law through legitimate democratic and political means; Ayers tried to terrorize people into policy changes by blowing up buildings, for which he remains unapologetic to this day. Does Obama really see no difference between the two? And if not, what does that say about Obama?
Related flashback: Sunday meditation: Obama and the punishment of unborn life