Bill Ayers: Try Obama for war crimes

Bill Ayers believes President Obama should be put on trial for war crimes at The Hague, the Weather Underground co-founder told Real Clear Politics in an interview posted Tuesday.

Ayers told the website he "absolutely" believed the president was engaged in terrorism for his use of drone strikes in fighting the war on terror.

"Absolutely. Every president in this century should be put on trial, every one of them," Ayers said. "For war crimes. Absolutely."

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"Every one of them goes into office, an office dripping with blood, and adds to it. And yes, I think these are war crimes. They are acts of terror."

Ayers also said he would give the president a "failing" grade, while admitting that he liked him personally more than other recent presidents.

The Weather Underground was labeled as a "domestic terror group" by the FBI after a carrying out bombings of federal buildings, including the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, in protest to the Vietnam War. Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, spent nearly a decade on the run as fugitives; federal authorities eventually dropped charges against them because of FBI misconduct.

Obama's ties to Ayers became a flashpoint of the 2008 presidential campaign. Both lived in the same South Side neighborhood near the University of Chicago and volunteered on charitable boards at the same time. Ayers also hosted a campaign event for Obama, but officials for the Obama campaign said they had not spoken by telephone or email since the president was first elected to the Senate in 2005.

Obama dismissed efforts to tie him to Ayers during the 2008 primary.

"This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood ... the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago — when I was 8 years old — somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense," Obama said.

The president also defended his use of drone strikes in a speech last month at the National Defense University.

“Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror,” Obama said. “What we can do — what we must do — is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend.”