False Claims Against Obama, McCain’s Record on Domestic Terrorism

Amie Newman

McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer tried to focus more attention, this morning, on the false claim made by Governor Palin that Senator Obama has been "paling around" with terrorists.

McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer tried to focus more attention, this morning, on the false claim made by Governor Palin that Senator Obama has been "palling around" with terrorists. Palin was, at least in part, referring to William Ayers, a professor and education reform advocate who, in the 1970s was suspected of carrying out a string of bombings of federal buildings in protest of the Vietnam War. Charges against Ayers and his wife (also a member of the underground group accused of carrying out the bombings) were ultimately dropped and many years later (since, at that time, Barack Obama was eight years old), Ayers and Obama were both involved in a multi-million dollar education reform project and volunteered on the same board of a foundation.

And while CNN’s Political Ticker concluded that Palin’s attacks were simply false ("There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are ‘palling around’ or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years…"), the McCain campaign continues its attempts to create a controversy by claiming that if McCain had ties to somebody who bombed abortion clinics it would be legitimate to bring it up for discussion.

Think Progress, however, broadens the discussion. While Pfotenhauer dives stright into political attacks, Think Progress brings people the real facts:

Pfotenhauer’s invocation of abortion clinic bombers in defense of McCain is ironic given that McCain has repeatedly voted against protecting Americans from domestic terrorists in the anti-choice movement. On multiple occasions throughout his career, McCain sought to limit the government’s ability to punish violent anti-choice fanatics by:

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  • Voting against making anti-choice violence a federal crime. As the Jed Report notes, McCain voted in 1993 and 1994 against making “bombings, arson and blockades at abortion clinics, and shootings and threats of violence against doctors and nurses who perform abortions” federal crimes.
  • Opposing Colorado’s “Bubble Law.” McCain said he opposed Colorado’s “Bubble Law,” which prohibited abortion protesters from getting within 8 feet of women entering clinics [Denver Post, 2/27/00]. The law was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Voting to allow those fined for violence at clinics to avoid penalties by declaring bankruptcy. NARAL Pro-Chioce America notes that McCain “voted to allow perpetrators of violence or harassment at reproductive-health clinics to avoid paying the fines assessed against them for their illegal acts by declaring bankruptcy.

I know some American voters don’t like facts, preferring instead to vote on emotion. But, really, if we want to open that can of worms, McCain’s support of more governmental protection for domestic terrorists should be cause for a particular emotion, no? Voting against making domestic terrorist acts a federal crime? 

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in an email to Rewire, says, "John McCain’s refusal to protect women and doctors from violent attacks aimed at reproductive-health centers is a travesty. Even anti-choice Sen. Mitchell McConnell and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole supported some clinic-protection measures. Once again, McCain is neither a moderate nor a maverick. He is just plain wrong."

Emily Lyons, the nurse that was nearly killed, maimed for life, from an anti-choice terrorist is a living, breathing example of the hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement. I’d love for McCain to explain to her why her life is unworthy of protection by our federal government. 

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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