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Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident

If you read the website commieblaster.com’s entry on William Ayers, the 60s radical co-founder of the Weather Underground, you might be convinced that he is indeed some kind of dangerous terrorist. Bill Ayers became a household name during the 2008 Presidential campaign when his acquaintance-ship with Barack Obama was used a way to discredit the Illinois Senator.

“It was a surreal moment,” said Bill Ayers to me in a recent interview, of the experience of hearing his name first mentioned on live television during the 2008 primary election debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

When I met Ayers in person recently for an interview about his new book, “Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident,” he seemed like anything but the terrorist he is often cast as by right-wing media. The closest this white-haired, soft-spoken bespectacled man came to appearing radical was the pair of silver hoop earrings he sported. It was hard to imagine that once upon a time he was considered a dangerous fugitive and wanted by the federal government.

The nearly 70-year-old education theory professor was in his home surrounded by his students watching the television screen when the debate moderator, George Stephanopoulos, asked Obama about his relationship with the co-founder of the Weather Underground movement, a radical organization that sought to end the Vietnam War through acts of property destruction as civil disobedience. He told me the story of becoming a flashpoint in the election, as well as the work he and his wife Bernadine Dohrn have been doing since coming out from the shadows in 1980, raising their three sons and living their lives consistent with their principles.

GUEST: Bill Ayers, Education theorist and professor, author of Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident

Click here to read Sonali Kolhatkar’s Truthdig.com column about Bill Ayers.