The Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet criticized Sarah Palin here for discussing the Bill Ayers controversy in her new book yesterday. Sweet says Palin was wrong about the significance of the now infamous Fall, 1995, meet and greet hosted for Barack Obama by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in their Hyde Park home
But Sweet did not quite get the story right and has so far refused to post my comment on her blog explaining why so I am posting it here for my readers. (And I promise that if Sweet wants to reply I will post her comment!)
You are partly right about Palin’s take on Ayers.
It would have been more accurate to say that Ayers played a significant role in launching Obama’s career, and certainly the meet and greet with Alice Palmer and Obama in the Ayers/Dohrn living room was not the only thing that Ayers did for Obama.
There is, for example, Ayers’ appointment of Obama to the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge earlier that year and, if biographer Christopher Andersen is right, there is Ayers’ role in helping Obama finish his memoir Dreams of my father the year before.
However, it was, I believe, Quentin Young who said the purpose of the meet and greet was to introduce Obama to the Hyde Park/Kenwood left. That introduction was certainly a critical contribution to Obama’s success in the upcoming campaign in light of Palmer’s own pro-Soviet politics.