In 1995, Bill Ayers was part of a team that helped create the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an education reform project that worked with half of Chicago's public schools. Barack Obama, then working as an attorney and law school professor, was elected chairman of the eight-member board of the CAC. The board included individuals of diverse political backgrounds, including Ray Romero, the President of Ameritech; Stanley Ikenberry, the former President of the University of Illinois; and Republican Arnold Weber, who had served in the Nixon White House.
In their best efforts to portray Barack as out of the mainstream, some on the right have tried characterizing the Chicago Annenberg Challenge as a dangerous fringe organization. What they do not discuss is the fact that the CAC was funded by a foundation belonging to Walter Annenberg, the billionaire Republican philanthropist who served as Richard M. Nixon's ambassador to the U.K. Annenberg and his wife, Leonore, gave the CAC $50 million in the 90's. ..
Why would billionaire Republican philanthropists give millions of dollars to a program that was working with William Ayers? Why would George W., Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and all those other Republicans accept money from the people who were funding this William Ayers-associated group? Why won't McCain discuss these connections between the Republican Party and Ayers?
Here's the icing on the cake: just yesterday, the McCain campaign put out a press release bragging about the fact that Leonore Annenberg has endorsed him for president. Yes, you heard it-- a McCain backer bankrolled William Ayers with millions of dollars.
More icing: You know that Republican Arnold Weber I mentioned earlier? The one that served on the board of the CAC with Barack? Not only did he work with William Ayers in the 90's, he has also donated at least $1000 to the McCain campaign. That's right-- McCain is accepting money from associates of William Ayers, and so far has not given the money back.