Maggie Gallagher

When John Murtagh was 9 years old, Bill Ayers' friends tried to kill him.

"I remember my mother's pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn't leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside," wrote Murtagh in the April 2008 issue of the City Journal.

It wasn't personal. John's dad was a judge presiding over a trial of the Black Panthers. The next morning, after the bombs exploded, John still remembers the red graffiti on the sidewalk: "FREE THE PANTHER 21; THE VIET CONG HAVE WON; KILL THE PIGS."

To the best of John's recollection, Bernardine Dohrn, who is now Bill Ayers' wife, first claimed credit for bombing John's home -- along with other targets -- in November of 1970.

Today John Murtagh is a lawyer and Yonkers' city councilman who is running for the New York state Senate on the GOP ticket this November. I reached him this week through his state Senate campaign.

It wasn't hard.

Has Barack Obama ever tried?

Barack Obama was only 8 years old when Murtagh's house was bombed. Obama has nothing to do with the terror and the trauma John Murtagh and his family went through.

"It's a sensitive issue for us. My mom is still alive -- she's 83. She literally had to snatch her children out of the house in the middle of the night because her house was on fire," John told me.

But Barack Obama was not a child -- he was a grown man -- when he decided his personal path to power and influence lay through Bill Ayers' connections.

In the Chicago establishment, which unfortunately embraced former domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers and his wife, Barack Obama was encouraged to look beyond the obvious -- John Murtagh, his family, their terror, the lawlessness, the attacks on policemen, judges, army outposts -- to embrace larger goals.

What were these goals? How does Barack Obama come to continue to associate with a man who cannot bring himself to say to John Murtagh or to John's mother or any other kin of the attacked: "I'm sorry. I was wrong. It was a terrible thing to do."

Obama's campaign is busy fudging. That's a polite word for "lying." Barack Obama's top political adviser is claiming Obama simply didn't know Ayers' history when they first met. Bomber? What bomber?

Right.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.