November 5th, 2008
08:24 AM ET

Mr. Ayers’s Neighborhood

David Remnick
The New Yorker

Early this morning, the Obama family had voted at the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School, in Hyde Park. Long after they had gone, the lawn out in front of the school was filled with reporters, mostly Europeans, filming voters. While I was doing my duty, talking to an eight-year-old kid dressed as George Washington, my colleague Peter Slevin of the Washington Post was across the street knocking on the door of someone else who had voted at the Shoesmith School this morning: William Ayers.

Ayers has avoided reporters since he became an election talking-point, scratch-pole, and general sensation. But now he answered the door of his three-story rowhouse, and I came to join the discussion. Ayers is sixty-four and has earrings in both ears. He wore jeans and Riley t-shirt—Riley the kid from “Doonesbury.” The day was fall-bright and 50th Street was filled with fallen gold leaves. Ayers waved to neighbors and kids as they went by on the sidewalk. He was, for the first time in a long time, in an expansive mood, making clear that in all the months his name has been at the forefront of the campaign, he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn—ex-leaders of the Weather Underground and longtime educators and activists in the community—have been watching a lot of cable television, not least Fox.

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Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Burpgun

    Boy, he sure comes across as a terrorist to me-and the media allowed the McCain Campaign to keep harping on this guy until now and he finally got a chance to respond to the charges. I have a work acquaintance who who was also a Weatherman in his younger day-he is currently a lawyer and devout Republican. Can't help wondering how many people reading this column would want their past reviewed by the Pliticians and the Media?

    November 5, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Rashelle

    Wow =[ thats gonna be on Obama's record that he knows Ayers

    November 5, 2008 at 11:03 am |
  3. Cindy

    Yeah I am sure that Ayers is on cloud nine. He is great friends with Obama whom he got elected. Now he can really get the favors back that Obama owes him.


    November 5, 2008 at 10:52 am |