Barack Obama Criticized for Comparing Pro-Life Senator to Terrorist

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 17, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Criticized for Comparing Pro-Life Senator to Terrorist

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 17
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama is under fire today for comparing a pro-life senator to a domestic terrorist responsible for setting off bombs and never apologizing. Obama made the comments during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton.

Obama was asked a question about his friendship with William Ayers, a member of a 1970s radical group called Weather Underground that was responsible for bombing the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings.

"He’s never apologized for that," moderator George Stephanopolis told Obama.

"And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, ‘I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough,’" Stephanopolis added.

"An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?" he asked Obama.

Obama explained that his friendship with Ayers shouldn’t be construed as implying he endorsed the terrorist-like tactics Ayers used to drive home his political point.

Then, the Illinois senator brought up a pro-life colleague to apparently make the point that he’s friends with other people who take "extreme" positions or would use terrorist tactics.

"The fact is, is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions," Obama said.

"Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those either," he added.

Coburn, who is an Oklahoma senator, told AP in July 2004, "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life."

Later, Coburn expanded on the remarks and told The Oklahoman newspaper, "My contention for the death penalty is, if you intentionally take innocent life, you ought to be open to the death penalty."

This isn’t the first time pro-life advocates have been accused of engaging in terrorism.

In August, CNN’s miniseries "God’s Warriors," featured file footage of the bombing at a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic in 1998 by someone unaffiliated with the pro-life movement but who claimed to be against abortion.

Christiane Amanpour said the attack was conducted by "radical opponents [who] had long waged their holy war against abortion clinics," which also "terrified many women."

In July 2006, Planned Parenthood‘s web site labeled pro-life groups "terrorists and extremists."

The group included a heading, "Terrorists and Extremist Organizations" that included Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Feminists for Life of America and Focus on the Family.

Abortion activist Gloria Steinem came under fire in October 2004 when she called President Bush, because of his pro-life record on abortion, "more dangerous to this country’s citizens than terrorists" at a New Mexico NARAL fundraising breakfast.

Asked to comment on Steinem’s remark, Chris Lalley, director of media relations for Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, used terrorism comparisons to describe the president.

"We think President Bush is terrorizing women’s rights," Lalley told

Steinem’s offhanded remark was too much for Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, who told, "Gloria Steinem demeans the victims of terrorism by equating opposition to her political agenda to acts of violence."