The Vetting: It's Obama, Not Ayers; Famous Photo Taken by Anti-Military Friend

The Vetting: It's Obama, Not Ayers; Famous Photo Taken by Anti-Military Friend

The photographs above and below have been making the rounds on Facebook, in the blogosphere, and through email, purporting to be snapshots of a young Barack Obama with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. 

(Buzzfeed reproduced the photos in its article today about Barack Obama’s youthful marijuana habit, without the Ayers claim.) has authenticated that these are, in fact, photos of Barack Obama, but not of Bill Ayers, who is seventeen years older than Obama. The photo dates from Obama’s time at Occidental College.

Obama is standing next to two fellow students from Occidental: Mark Anderson (class of 1980) and Romeo Garcia (class of 1980) at a festival in Pasadena’s Central Park in the spring of 1980.

The photo was taken by Obama’s friend at Occidental, Eric Moore (class of 1983).

Moore is quoted in The Occidental Weekly on January 11, 1980 as being opposed to America’s military:

I’m not in favor of any overly active militarization, nationalistic, or otherwise. Militarization leads to militarization. If you strengthen your armies against the belief that someone else is strengthening theirs, they will strengthen theirs and it’s an endless, vicious continuum.

Eric Moore, Occidental Class of 1983

Given Obama’s anti-military views at the time, and given how quickly President Obama has been slashing defense spending and downgrading U.S. military capabilities, it’s worth wondering whether he still shares that view, despite many campaign-friendly photo-ops with the troops.