alan webber

Alan Webber

Republicans on Tuesday ripped into Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alan Webber for accepting the endorsement of former Weather Underground co-founder — and longtime Albuquerque educator — Mark Rudd and attending a recent fundraiser at the home of Rudd and his wife.

The controversy stirred up a little déjà vu after the 2008 presidential campaign in which Republicans made an issue of former Weatherman Bill Ayers hosting an event for President Barack Obama early in his political career or “pallin’ around with terrorists,” as then-GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin put it.

Webber on Tuesday didn’t disavow Rudd’s support and said that the Martinez campaign was trying to “change the subject” from recent bad publicity in a national magazine story.

Rudd, in an April 13 email to friends, described Webber as “a pro-jobs, pro-environment progressive Democrat” who is “our only chance to get rid of our disastrous Tea Party governor.”

That was a reference to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who is seeking re-election. Her political team wasted little time in tweeting a link to a KRQE TV news story about Webber and Rudd that aired Monday night.

On Tuesday, a Martinez campaign spokesman said, “Alan Webber is a far-left, fringe candidate whose extreme views would be perfectly suitable for someone running for student body president of Berkeley in the 1960s, but are completely out of step with everyday New Mexicans. The fact that Webber embraces the support of a notorious domestic terrorist who casually called New Mexico military service members murderers in 2009 tells the people of New Mexico all they need to know about his extreme politics.”

The national GOP even got involved. The Republican Governors Association issued a news release that said, “Alan Webber’s ties to Mark Rudd, co-founder of the radical anti-government group Weather Underground, which The New York Times has referred to as a ‘terrorist group,’ are deeply disturbing,” a spokeswoman said. “New Mexicans deserve better than a candidate for governor who spends time with a man who founded a group that pledged political and domestic terrorism.”

Rudd, who quit Weather Underground in 1970 while on the run from the law, has for decades renounced the group and their tactics. Much of his website contains lengthy condemnations of the group and stark criticism of himself. In a 2009 interview with Pasatiempo, Rudd said, “I’m a right-winger among the Weathermen, because I’m so critical and self-critical.”

Rudd, whose memoir Underground was recently published by HarperCollins, now teaches math at Central New Mexico Community College.

Rudd became a fugitive after an explosion in an apartment rented by Weather Underground members. Three members of the group were killed. Rudd turned himself into authorities in 1977. All the major charges against him were dropped because of FBI misconduct, so he served less than a year in jail.

Webber said Tuesday, “I think it’s obvious that Gov. Martinez is trying to change the subject away from that story last week in Mother Jones.” That was a reference to an unflattering article about the governor that included recordings of Martinez and her aides talking frankly and sometimes profanely about some Democrats and teachers.

Webber said he was invited to a fundraiser by Rudd’s wife, Marla Painter, who had contributed $500 to his campaign in January. That was about the time that Rudd, according to campaign finance records, contributed $250 to one of Webber’s primary rivals, state Sen. Howie Morales, whom Rudd has said he was considering supporting.

Webber also said he never thought the fundraiser would be used against him. He said Rudd long ago repudiated the Weathermen. “He’s been very heartfelt in his disavowal of [the Weather Underground],” he said.

In his April 13 email, Rudd said his only role in the Webber fundraiser was “cooking and listening.” But, he said, he decided to support Webber after hearing him say that he would turn the campaign into a referendum not only on Martinez, but on billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who have spent millions on GOP candidates around the country.

Rudd on Tuesday told The New Mexican, “It never occurred to me that my past would be raised. I’ve been completely involved in the Albuquerque community for so long — 36 years now — as a teacher and activist that the whole thing seems ridiculous. I’m a member of the Friends of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge; does that taint the organization? Sheeesh.”

Rudd said he had backed other Democratic candidates in the past, including U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich. Campaign finance records show he’s given money to several Democrats since 2010. Rudd said he’s been in contact with all of the Democratic candidates for governor and that all of them “have asked for the support of my wife and myself.”

Asked Tuesday what he thought when he heard a television anchor describe him as “a well-known American terrorist,” Rudd said, “I might accept ex-terrorist, though at the time we didn’t consider ourselves that. … Meanwhile, the real terrorists, like Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, were never brought to trial or even called to account. They murdered in the neighborhood of 3 [million] to 5 million people. We accidentally killed three of our own. Who are the terrorists?”

In a statement given to reporters, Rudd described the flap as “a non-issue,” saying, “I suspect that if [Martinez] claims Alan Webber is a friend of a terrorist, it will most likely backfire as badly as Sarah Palin’s use of President Obama’s acquaintance with Bill Ayers. It’s irrelevant.”

Slate columnist Dave Weigel on Wednesday described Rudd as “the anti-Bill Ayers, saying in a column, “all Weather Underground members are not Bill Ayers. … Rudd has long been the most apologetic of the Weather Underground’s leaders, a fact not lost on his peers (Bill Ayers doesn’t even mention him in his memoir, Fugitive Days) or on historians of the faction.”

Contact Steve Terrell at sterrell@sfnewmexican.com. Read his political blog at roundhouseroundup.com.

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(30) comments

Daniel Brown

So, Webber got endorsed by some has-been radical from the 1960's....zzzzzzzzzz...Oh, I'm sorry, did I fall asleep?

Like linking Obama to BIll Ayers, another non-entity with no relevance today, this is the kind of phony issue Republicans try to hoodwink voters with. Don't let them.

The issues facing New Mexico today have absolutely nothing to do with a small band of ineffective discontents from over forty years ago.

Donald Torres

Good try attempting to change the discussion to something else beside the corruption and dishonesty of Governor Martinez and her handlers. It's not going to work.

Khal Spencer

So we have the potty mouthed advisor battalion and Gov. Susanna "My opponent is a little B*tch" Martinez vs. Alan Webber and the Ghost of the Weather Underground?

Lovely. Its sure good to see that we are talking about real issues.

Pierce Knolls

[thumbup]

Pat Shackleford

If Mark Rudd had facilitated selling arms to Iran (Iran-Contra) and funneled the proceeds to rightwing groups in Central America (Nicaragua) who then also smuggled drugs into the U.S.; Republicans would be hailing him a hero (since it occurred under Ronnie "Saint" Reagan's administration) and having him treated as an intellectual on Fox News.

Pat Shackleford

I was referring to Oliver North, who was convicted for his role in Saint Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal, and now has his own show on Fox News where he is also a frequent and revered commentator.

Khal Spencer

Ain't that the truth, Pat. Its funny how selective these candidates can be about applying the rule of law to themselves and their buddies.

oscar michael

So, planting bombs in the pentagon, state dept, and capitol building does not equate to real terrorism in your eye? Are these guys "heros" because they "only hurt themselves" while committing acts of terrorism? I suppose the police officer that was killed during their armored car heist was just liberal collateral damage. The bombings were done at a time that America was at war. Their stated intentions were to retaliate against the government for the bombings of Laos and Hanoi. I would call this treason, but that doesn't matter because their intentions were "honorable" in the mind of progressives.

Pat Shackleford

Not "heros" by any stretch or interpretation. Without defending any of Mark Rudd's actions while part of Weather Underground, in 1978 he did turn himself in to authorities, over three years before the bank robbery by a group which included three former WU members. Although that robbery resulted in the death of two policeman and a security guard, I don't feel it's fair to blame Rudd for that act.

If there was true justice & accountability for acts of violence perpetrated upon innocents who were unfortunate bystanders, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, et al would be on trial for thousands of counts of war-crimes, as would Barack Obama, recipient of a formerly prestigious and meaningful "Peace Prize".

oscar michael

You make great points. However, I find it strange to call the indirect actions of leaders that led to deaths "war crimes", But the direct actions of planting bombs and spreading of ideology that says its ok to attack the evil establishment is called "progressive activism".
Suzanna Mtz. is linked only by the republican moniker to the neo-cons you listed. To my knowledge they have not given her financial support. Webber has taken money from Rudd.

Khal Spencer

As I said elsewhere, if we hold people accountable for their early life, we would have demanded that Menachem Begin rot in jail for his complicity in terrorist attacks when he was an Irgun member, rather than awarding him a Nobel Peace Prize along with Anwar Sadat in his later life.

Rudd's earlier life is between him and the law. If you want to concentrate on 40 year old grievances, I am happy for you, as apparently you don't have any problems relevant to today.

Jimmy Green

I get the GOP's point, but i've always had an issue with UNM for employing this terrorist. I'm sorry, but he never did any time or made any recompense for his doings with the weather underground. blowing up prisons, fisherman's warf, and political buildings with no regard for human life. Dude should be in prison not teaching math as a tenured professor at a state university.

mauryb brooks

If we were to rate the destructive nature of our NM politicians Martinez would probably be the greatest terrorist of them all. Environment, education ...

Joseph Hempfling

Just like the rest of the GOP party politiks and it's spokespersons; the only direction they know is BACKWARD while putting a spin on the issues; while ignoring the real issues of today; like Big Money in Politics; our ever emerging Police State, the trashing of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, our raping the environment in the name of run away and obscene profits, the numbers of unemployed and under employed, the student debt bubble, the toxins in our food and air and most of all the deliberate killing of the American Dream. And with this; character assassination. What more could you ask for, as the freak show continues and to think in our name ! SAD SAD SAD !

Joe Montoya

Politicians from all levels of government sell themselves to special interests and after all is said and done, it is the special interests who run the government and suck it to the sucker citizen; who is left with no recourse to defend themselves. The people are is damned if the do and damned if he don't!

Michael Murray

Hooray for the Kool-Aid drinkers on both sides.
You are the reason this country is such a mess. The left / right reflex keeps you dancing on a string while the cronies of both the R's and D's get fat. Rule of law- we don't need no stinking rule of law- as long as our guy (or gal) has the power and dispenses the goodies.

Eli Chavez

The Koch Brothers father was a Full Time Terrorist during WWII. Gov. Susana Martinez has received Dirty Money from the Koch Brothers in Susana's last and present Campaign . Hitler killed and gassed thousands of Jews during WWII. Susana also received muncho $$$$$$$$$$$ from Paul Blanchard and the New Orleans Cartel to receive the Casino Contract at the State Fair. Susan la Tejana went after Ben Lujan an Honorable Man who served New Mexico. Ben Lujan can not defend himself now, but New Mexicans will defend him. Why did Susana la Tejana go after Ben Lujan? Because she could careless about him and other New Mexicans who have lived in New Mexico since 1570 and my ancestors just happened to speak in Spanglish. Susana Martinez is not a New Mexican, she is a Tejana just like the Koch Brothers and their Dirty Cash. Susana you and your racist party called the GOP KKK Party who hate Minorities in the likes of Afro Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. Susana you belong to the GOP KKK Party who condone Voter Suppression, discrimination against Women, you hate our Teachers. Shame on you Tejana because you love Ted Nugent who is a runner. Runner means never been in our military. Susana the Recording are there for all to see your hatred self. The only Job you created was for Darren White a Right Wing Extremest. Shame Shame.

Staci Benni

Eli Get your historical facts correctly. Spaniards did not reside in NM in 1570.

David Pittelli

"Webber embraces the support of a notorious domestic terrorist who casually called New Mexico military service members murderers in 2009"

I would expect that some information about this 2009 "murderers" incident (is it fairly characterized here? What exactly was said?) would shed some light on how radical Rudd is, and on whether association with him should be seen as potentially disqualifying.

Tom Ribe

And what about Susana Martinez having a secret meeting with the Koch brothers in Albuquerque late last year? The Koch brothers are far right extremists who are deeply damaging our country with their attacks on our energy system, our schools, our environment, and our government. I suspect the Koch's pull her strings in trade for millions of dollars. Completely unethical people.

We all have our pasts. The Viet Nam war was a nightmare for everyone involved. Youngsters like Martinez have no idea the hell it brought on a generation. I strongly support Alan Webber and urge other New Mexicans to do the same.

David Pittelli

I'm sure anyone in the energy industry can be attacked from the left for "attacks" on the environment and on government, but how have the Koch brothers "attacked" our energy system or schools?

Colleen Harper

David, the Koch brothers have pushed for punitive and prohibitive fees to be placed on homes that install solar electric panels, claiming that solar generators are getting to sell back electricity to the grid without paying a penny to support the grid. The idea is that solar generators should pay to help support the costs of grid maintenance, but the Koch "solution" is to charge home generators $100 a month for grid fees, making solar uncompetitive against the monopoly-supplied electrical power delivered from the Koch Brothers investments into coal, oil and gas-generated electricity. This was pushed in Arizona recently, but after extensive public push-back, Arizona utilities commission required only a $5/month fee for grid maintenance, not the $100/month fee the Koch brothers advocated.

The Koch brothers are scheming to make solar electric power generation fail, all to continue to line their own pockets, while punishing people who wish to reduce their own environmental impact.

Mike Palaima

I guess being in the pockets of out of state money means not much to New Mexicans that elect our FRL present governor? They'd rather concentrate on stuff that a potential candidate brushed against 30 years ago as good reason for not voting for someone. Talk about throwing crud against a wall to see what sticks?

Michael Hays

I am no supporter of Webber's, but if the Martinez campaign spokesman thinks that knowing the Webber accepted campaign support from a 60s radical who is now a teacher is all I need to know about Webber, Martinez is obviously afraid of us knowing anything about her and her disastrous policies, ugly personality, and combative politics. Can we congratulate ourselves on having elected the first Hispanic woman governor, admit our mistake, replace her with someone qualified, and ensure that others throughout the nation know what I failure she is as a politician and a person in a political position at any level.

Jeff E Green

Susana Martinez is a far-right, offensive, fringe politician whose extreme reactionary views would be perfectly suitable for someone running for chapter president of the John Birch Society, but are completely out of step with everyday New Mexicans. If this pathetic line of attack is the best she can do against Alan Webber, I look forward to her resounding defeat in November! [beam]

Pam Walker

I so agree with you Mr. Green. I want that woman gone so bad but also definitely do not want her as VP. Wish she would go to Texas and stay there.

Mel Hayes

I also agree with you Mr. Green, but how do we educate the people that vote to not vote using race or party as the only qualifications?

Cathy McManus

Glad I read all of the comments, no need to repeat. Jeff Green you are spot on. I like what Webber stands for and actually like all of the Dem primary candidates. We need to rid ourselves of Madame Governor so NM can move forward. Only way to do that is get as many people out to vote as possible and Mel Hayes, using race or party does not matter. We just need t get people out to vote. If all eligible voters actually voted my educated guess would be that the progressives would out number the conservatives in this state!

Mel Hayes

Cathy I hope you are right!

oscar michael

"everyday New Mexicans"? Give me a break Ethan! you are not a native and only wish to turn New Mexico into a progressive socialist state. No wonder you dont mind domestic terrorists supporting the candidates, they have the same agenda for america as you! Suzanna Has her flaws, but the corrupt Democratic Party has kept this state in last place in every measurable category for the past few decades. A viable third party would be welcomed, but that will never happen with all the partisan bickering and power struggles that you help promote. If you love the progressive movement so much, please head back east ASAP, and be happy with the socialist failures that were created by your ilk.

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