The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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McCain’s Own Ties to Annenberg and William Ayers

Posted by ALmod on October 13, 2008

Yes, you read the headline correctly.  Follow me for a minute, here.

God bless the right wing for pointing me toward the notorious Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  I could not have done it without those right-wing bloggers and opinion columnists.  Oddly enough, it was while I was reading A Bama Blog today that it hit me.  Don made a comment there that talked about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and I was reminded that I’d read something else about this group.  So I owe both Lee P and Don a great deal of thanks for helping me to put two and two together on this.

You may have heard a lot about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  Sean Hannity recently invoked it in one of his Fox News specials, and the McCain campaign talked about it in an attack ad on Obama.  This is a group where Ayers and Obama “worked together.”  Well, one must wonder how exactly the McCain campaign knows so much about this organization.  Well, as it turns out, John McCain has his own ties to this group.  The founder is a heavy McCain supporter– a supporter McCain considers to be important enough to brag about.

First of, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge is touted as a “radical” group, but this group isn’t nearly as radical as they’d have you believe.  It was backed by various educators (one of which happened to be Ayers), several conservative Republicans, and Governor Jim Edgar (also a Republican).

A look at the history of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge shows that it’s named for Walter H. Annenberg.  Annenberg was the founder of the Annenberg Foundation, which sponsors many projects.  One of those projects is a favorite fact checking site of mine– FactCheck.org, or the Annenberg Fact Check, which is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.  (FactCheck.org states that while they do receive funding from this organization, they’ve never tried to influence any of the work done at Fact Check.)  According to Fact Check:

The Annenberg Challenge connection has drawn the most attention recently, though, mainly because of articles written by Stanley Kurtz, a conservative contributor to the National Review, the publication founded by the late William F. Buckley. Kurtz first suggested on Aug. 18 that there was a “cover-up in the making” when he was unable to gain access to 132 boxes of project records housed at the University of Illinois. Records were released nine days later, along with all records held by the Annenberg Foundation itself.

That would be the exact writer that Don linked to in his comment on Lee’s blog.

Walter Annenberg died in 2002, and his widow Leonore is now president and chair of the Annenberg Foundation.  Annenberg has donated to the McCain campaign, and on October 8, she publicly endorsed John McCain for president.  McCain now lists her on his campaign website as a “former U.S. Ambassadors for McCain-Palin.”  In fact, she’s second on the list.

Kurtz doesn’t seem to mention that for some reason, and the McCain-Palin team certainly doesn’t mention that when they bring up the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  Any questions to McCain surrogates about Mrs. Annenberg are quickly avoided.  What are they trying to hide?

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12 Responses to “McCain’s Own Ties to Annenberg and William Ayers”

  1. […] the way, ALModerate has a revealing post that points out McCain’s own ties to Ayers: You may have heard a lot about the Chicago […]

  2. […] blogger, J.B. Massey of Alabama Moderate cannot contain herself — she has just GOT to blab, blab, blab about the [ahem… “previously unpublicized”] ties between “The Weathermen Te…. She ought to be ashamed of herself. If she’d only have kept from publicizing these facts, we […]

  3. Andrew said

    ALmod,
    I decided to check out your blog again since we have had a few discussions on Lee’s. I want to post here what I posted over there in regards to this issue. I hope you don’t mind.

    The Chicago Annenberg Challenge ended in 2001 before Leonore Annenberg became the head of the Annenberg Foundation. Also, while the Annenberg Foundation did fund the Anneberg Challenges, Walter did not oversee them. He asked his longtime friend to do that for him. Chicago was one of the cities to get the funding and Barack Obama was one of the original board members for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. William Ayers was one of the authors of the winning proposal for the funding. This is the short version and basically grabbed of Wikipedia.

    McCain has links to Leonore Annenberg who was not the head of the Annenberg Foundation when the Chicago Challenge was active. To link McCain to Ayers or even the Annenberg Challenge is not possible trough the endorsement of Leonore Annenberg.

  4. ALmod said

    Since you brought up Walter Annenberg and Wikipedia, let’s take a look, shall we?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Annenberg

    The picture featured here… Who is that Mr. Annenberg standing with? Is that yet another liberal, radical activist? Terrorist, perhaps? NO. That would be President Ronald Reagan.

    Annenberg (before his death and his wife’s takeover of the family foundation) donated heavily to the Republican party and was a conservative Republican. He also sold many publications to Rupert Murdoch (sound familiar?).

    The Annenberg ties to the Republican party go FAR DEEPER than a simple tie between Leonore and John McCain. The fact that an Annenberg project would have someone like William Ayers on their board is telling. Let me spell it out for you. The Annenberg Foundation has ties to Ayers. McCain chooses to associate with The Annenberg Foundation AFTER THE FACT. Perhaps not directly, but indirectly, he is endorsing this association between Annenberg and Ayers and (by association) himself and the GOP.

  5. Andrew said

    Ayers was not on the Anneberg Challenge board, he was the co-author of the winning bid for the grant. Barack Obama was on the board for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Walter Annenberg was in his late eighties when the Annenberg Challenges started and did not have much to do with them. He left it up to his friend, Vartan Gregarian, to oversee these projects.
    I am not disputing Walter or Leonore Annenberg’s ties to the Republican Party. Nor am I saying that the Annenberg Foundation did not fund the Challenge. I am saying that an endorsement by Leonore Annenberg now does not connect McCain to Ayers in any meaningful way. Also, associating with Ayers, as Obama did, is different than associating with someone who associated with Ayers, which is the closest you could make McCain. Although McCain was not that close to Ayers by any reasonable standard.

  6. ALmod said

    What about associating directly with a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein? Or perhaps to a man who plotted kidnappings and hits and participated in at least one break-in? Would you consider those to be fair game for concern?

  7. Andrew said

    Sure. Give me some facts. Names, places and times would be good.

  8. […] on that I […]

  9. ALmod said

    Andrew, might want to go and google the McCain campaign more often. And G. Gordon Liddy, for that matter. The Hussein lobbyist thing was the big news of the week, and G. Gordon Liddy… Well that’s old news.

  10. […] Some accusations have surfaced that the educational board was ‘radical.’ This is not true. Not only did it feature several prominent Illinois Republicans, but it was also endorsed by its Republican governor. And, ironically, some of its members have even donated to McCain’s campaign (in fact, the board is linked to McCain). […]

  11. ngoldfarb said

    facts, just facts, only facts should scare you

    http://ngoldfarb.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/barack-obamas-boss-and-mentor-william-ayres-group-killed-more-people-than-the-kkk-klu-lux-klan/

  12. Azeem said

    The logical chain is fairly simple:
    1.) Annenberg foundation underwrote Chicago School Challenge
    2.) Same Mrs Annenberg underwites McCain campaign
    3.) Obama + Ayers each served for Chicago School Challenge.
    4.) The guilt-by-association (1,2) = Guilt by association(2,3)

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