Former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers – who five years ago was back in the headlines for his relationship with then-candidate Barack Obama – seems to lack the buzz he had in 2008, at least in Wisconsin.
The Madison Public Library Foundation canceled a planned meet and greet with Ayers for his new book, “Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident.” The event was scheduled for Thursday night and cost $25 per person.
The event came ahead of the Wisconsin Book Festival, where Ayers is selling his book.
“It was a meet and greet and we just didn’t have enough interest,” Jenni Collins, executive director of the Madison Public Library Foundation, told TheBlaze. “We had a free event later that night and it was very successful.”
TheBlaze previously reported on the book and how Ayers explained his strategy of complete silence during the 2008 campaign.
Ayers is a retired professor at the University of Illinois Chicago. As a member of the Weather Underground domestic terror group in the 1960s and 1970s, he participated in planning bombings of the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon, and was a fugitive along with wife Bernardine Dohrn. Federal charges were dropped against the two in 1973 because of FBI overreach in the investigation.
As a state legislator in Illinois, Obama ran an education nonprofit with Ayers in the 1990s called the “Chicago Annenberg Challenge.” Obama also visited the Ayers home when he began his state Senate campaign in 1995.
During the 2008 campaign, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was referring to Ayers when she said Obama was “someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
Obama’s first account about Ayers came during an ABC News debate with Hillary Clinton during the primary season. Obama dismissed Ayers as an English professor – he was actually an education professor – who just happened to live in the same neighborhood.
The Wisconsin Book Festival website describes Ayers’ book this way:
“In this sequel to Fugitive Days, Ayers charts his life after the Weather Underground, when he becomes the GOP’s flaunted “domestic terrorist,” a “public enemy.” In the face of defamation by conservative media, including a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed solely at demonizing Ayers, and in spite of frequent death threats, Bill and Bernardine stay true to their core beliefs in the power of protest, demonstration, and deep commitment. Ayers reveals how he has navigated the challenges and triumphs of this public life with steadfastness and a dash of good humor—from the red carpet at the Oscars, to prison vigils and airports, and ultimately on the ground at Grant Park in 2008 and again in 2012.”