Santa Clara Law School Professor Steve Diamond, who is no conservative, seems to have found a witness able to establish a relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers going back to the mid-1980s.
Barack Obama visited the house of Tom and Mary Ayers, parents of former Weather Underground activist turned education professor Bill Ayers, in the mid-1980s to thank the Ayersâ€™ for their support of his education, according to Allen Hulton, the letter carrier who delivered mail to the Ayersâ€™ Glen Ellyn home at that time. Glen Ellyn is a suburb of Chicago, southwest of the city. …
At the time of their encounter, Hulton recalls, Obama â€œlooked about 19 years oldâ€ but was probably in his early 20s. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 and moved to Chicago in 1985 at age 24 or 25 to head up the DCP, a fledgling community organization modeled after similar groups started by Saul Alinsky, on the south side of Chicago. The DCP had secured a grant from the Woods Fund, endowed by the Woods family, to finance the hiring of Obama.
The Woods family owned Sahara Coal Company, which supplied coal to utility companies in the Midwest possibly including Commonwealth Edison. Tom Ayers was Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison from 1973 until 1980. Ayers died in June of 2007 at the age of 92 in Hyde Park where he had been living with his son Bill and Dohrn.
â€œMrs. Ayers told me that her family had been helping out a brilliant young black man,â€ Hulton said and whom he believes she said was from Kenya. Hulton said that over the period of six to ten years that he delivered mail to the Ayers home he had numerous conversations with Mrs. Ayers, one conversation with Thomas Ayers and several brief encounters with Bernardine Dohrn who he said lived at the home for several months at one point in time. He never met or saw Bill Ayers at the home. …
One day Hulton found himself on the sidewalk outside the Ayers home at 199 N. Montclair Avenue near the corner of Revere Road just after he had delivered the mail. The house was â€œvery nice and attractive and more expensive than some in Glen Ellyn because it was closer to downtown, but it did not stand out among the houses on that block.â€ He said the largest and most expensive homes were actually on Revere, around the corner from the Ayersâ€™ home.
As Hulton was on the sidewalk walking away from the Ayers house a tall and thin young black man was coming up the same sidewalk towards the Ayers house.
Hulton recalls that Obama said hello and introduced himself and stopped to chat with him in front of the Ayers house. â€œI recall that his ears stuck out a little bit. He was more gaunt then than he appears now. His name was an unusual one and when I saw his photo during the campaign it brought back my memory of the event,â€ Hulton said.
Mr. Obama explained that he had taken the train out from Chicago to visit the Ayersâ€™ in order to thank them for their help with his â€œeducation.â€ At this time, Mr. Obama had recently graduated from Columbia and would soon enter Harvard Law School. Hulton and Obama â€œspoke for a few minutes, first chatting about the Ayers family,â€ Hulton said. Hulton said he did not learn whether the help Obama received from the Ayersâ€™ was financial or in some other form. …
Mr. Hulton recalls that he probably asked what Mr. Obama was studying in school and at one point Mr. Obama said that he intended to become President of the United States. Mr. Hulton said he was â€œtaken abackâ€ by the statement but recalls that he did not think Mr. Obama was â€œarrogant, but just self assured and a person with a lot of self confidence.â€ â€œIt was not said with hubris,â€ Hulton recalled, â€œbut with an air of self-assuredness.â€
â€œI told him there was no reason why he couldnâ€™t become president,â€ Hulton recalled. Obama was dressed â€œnicely but casually, a slacks and shirt, not jeans and a t-shirt, but definitely not a coat or tie,â€ he said. After the brief conversation Hulton continued on his route and did not turn back to see whether the Ayersâ€™ were at home or whether Obama entered their house.