Dreams of My Ghostwriter’s Ex: Did Bill Ayers Use Dead Weather Underground Terrorist Diana Oughton as Model for Obama’s ‘Composite’ Girlfriend?
Posted on | May 5, 2012 | 88 Comments
“I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books.”
— Christopher Buckley, Oct. 10, 2008
In 2008, conservative journalist Jack Cashill presented evidence that Barack Obama’s bestselling 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father had been written with the assistance of Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground radical who was Obama’s neighbor in Chicago. Now, the revelation that an ex-girlfriend in Dreams was a “composite” or “compression” of several women — as President Obama reportedly told biographer David Marannis — has focused new attention on Cashill’s argument that Ayers was Obama’s ghostwriter.
The so-called “New York girlfriend” in Obama’s memoir bears specific resemblance to Ayers’s ex-girlfriend Diana Oughton, one of three Weather Underground members killed in 1970 when a bomb the terrorist group was building accidentally exploded.
Like the girlfriend in Obama’s memoir, Oughton had brown hair and green eyes, and came from an affluent background. Furthermore, Oughton’s family estate in Illinois is strikingly similar to one described in a sequence in Dreams when Obama and his “New York girlfriend” visit her family. Cashill wrote in a 2010 article at The American Thinker:
One weekend, the woman invites Obama to her family’s country home, which had been her grandfather’s, and “he had inherited it from his grandfather.” The library is filled with old books and photos of the grandfather with presidents, diplomats, industrialists. “It was autumn,” Obama recalls, “beautiful, with woods all around us, and we paddled a canoe across this round, icy lake full of small gold leaves that collected along the shore.” . . .
According to a Time Magazine article written soon after her death, Oughton “brought Bill Ayers and other radicals” to the family homestead in Dwight, Illinois. . . .
The main house on the Oughton estate, a twenty-room Victorian mansion, was built by Oughton’s father’s grandfather. Formally known as the John R. Oughton House, it was placed on the national historic register in 1980. Despite forty years of encroaching development since Oughton’s death, aerial photos show the Oughton estate (103 South Street) with a small lake in the middle and a thick ring of trees around it, very much like the estate in Dreams.
In the wake of Maraniss’s report that Obama had admitted the “New York girlfriend” was “compressed” — a composite character — the similarities to Oughton previously noted by Cashill caused the Bookworm Room blog to remark: “I mean, what are the odds that you’d combine a whole lot of different women in your life, and then come up with Bill Ayers’ girlfriend?”
Cashill says that Ayers’s own 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days, show him to be “obsessed with Oughton.”
Oughton’s “badly mangled” body was found in the rubble of a townhouse in New York’s Greenwich Village destroyed by a March 6, 1970, bomb blast. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Oughton had been studying for a master’s degree at the University of Michigan in 1966 when she met and fell in love with Ayers, then a leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Oughton followed Ayers into the radical “Weatherman” faction, which split from SDS in 1969, and was a participant in the violent “Days of Rage” protests in Chicago. The explosion that killed Oughton and fellow Weather Underground terrorists Ted Gold and Terry Robbins occurred while they were constructing a bomb they reportedly planned to plant at a NCO dance at the Fort Dix, N.J., Army base.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!
- Ace of Spades HQ, May 5: Barack Obama’s College “Composite” Girlfriend, Who Doesn’t Exist, Just Happens To Match the Description of Bill Ayers’ Former Girlfriend, Who Does
- Bookworm Room, May 4: It’s rather strange that Obama’s composite girlfriend matches Bill Ayers’s real one
- Dylan Byers, Politico, May 2: Obama: ‘New York girlfriend’ was composite
- Jack Cashill, American Thinker, April 18, 2010: Barack Obama’s Missing Girlfriends
- Jack Cashill, World Net Daily, Nov. 2, 2008: Yavelow Study Confirms Ayers Hand In Obama’s “Dreams”
- Jack Cashill, American Thinker, Oct. 9, 2008: Who Wrote Dreams From My Father?
- Mark Gado, TruTV Crime Library: Ambush: The Brinks Robbery of 1981