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Ex-Weatherman Decries ‘Demonization’ in Georgetown Law Talk

Posted Nov 19, 2008 1:12 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The founder of the Weather Underground decried his “demonization” in speeches yesterday at Georgetown University Law Center and a Washington D.C. church.

Bill Ayers complained that he had become a “cartoon and a caricature” after accusations surfaced during the presidential campaign that he was a terrorist who palled around with Barack Obama, the Washington Post reports.

"The demonization of me, the creation of me as a fearsome person, somebody to worry about, is false," Ayers said. The Post story says Ayers “seemed delighted and oh-so-ready” when a Georgetown student stood and told the University of Illinois education professor that he was going to the Navy after graduation, and he wondered if Ayers wished him harm.

The article notes that several members of the Weather Underground have been tied to attacks that killed people, but several bombs planted by the group itself caused no injuries. Ayers responded to the student by talking about the lack of injuries, the story says.

"Not only did I never kill or injure another person, but the Weather Underground in its six-year existence never killed or injured another person," he said. Ayers said the group’s actions could be “not only extreme but kind of nuts,” but it was not terrorism.

Ayers is married to Northwestern law professor Bernardine Dohrn, another former leader of Weather Underground.

Two students protested the speech by turning their backs during Ayers' comments, WJLA.com reports. "There are people who are disgusted that he's at Georgetown University," one student told the ABC station.

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