In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers opened up about his days as a domestic terrorist as well as his past relationship to President Barack Obama.
Ayers confirmed that him and Obama were “friendly” back when he was in Chicago:
“David Axelrod said we were friendly, that was true; we served on a couple of boards together, that was true; he held a fundraiser in our living room, that was true; Michelle [Obama] and Bernardine were at the law firm together, that was true. Hyde Park in Chicago is a tiny neighborhood, so when he said I was “a guy around the neighborhood,” that was true. Today, I wish I knew him better and he was listening to me. Obama’s not a radical. I wish he were, but he’s not.”
On the Weather Underground, Ayers claimed that the group “certainly crossed lines of propriety and legality” but “never killed or injured anybody.”
“So what we did was a lot of vandalism,” he added.
In fact, several people did end up losing their lives in the Greenwich Village bombing in 1970. Members of the Underground were assembling a bomb when it prematurely detonated, killing the three people assembling the bomb instantly and injuring two others. That was in addition to the radical group bombing other domestic targets where luckily no one was killed.
Ayers distanced himself from the incident, saying it “would have been a terrible tragedy and an act of terror, and they blew themselves up.”
“I feel nothing but sadness and sorrow about that, and at the same time, I’m actually very glad that they were never able to bring it to fruition,” he added.
He did, however, say he does not regret being extreme in his opposition of the Vietnam war.
“Am I sorry about things we did in those days? Absolutely. I’m sorry we were stupid. I’m sorry we were young. I’m sorry we were naïve,” Ayers said.
To read the full interview, click here.