March 8th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
At the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart promised a crowd of activists damning videos of President Barack Obama as a student at Harvard Law School. The videos, Breitbart said, would show people “why racial division and class warfare are central to what 'hope and change' was sold in 2008.”
“In this election we're going to vet him,” Breitbart vowed.
At the time, all he would say about the content of the videos was that they proved the president “met a bunch of silver pony-tails back in the 1980s, like Bill [Ayers] and Bernadine Dohrn who said ‘one day, we're going to have the presidency.’”
Breitbart passed away just a few weeks after his announcement at CPAC, but on Wednesday his website continued the so-called ‘vetting’ that its founder had promised by releasing a video of Obama as a law student introducing former Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell. As the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School, Bell was something of a firebrand regarding civil rights, even going so far as to take an unpaid leave of absence from Harvard to protest the school’s lack of racial and gender diversity within its tenured faculty.
In the video, Obama asks a crowd to “open up your hearts and your minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell.”
On Thursday morning Joel Pollack, Breitbart.com’s editor-in-chief, appeared on CNN’s Starting Point to defend the importance of the video.
“The bombshell is the revelation of the relationship between Obama and Derrick Bell,” Pollack said. “Derrick Bell is the Jeremiah Wright of academia. He passed away last year but during his lifetime he developed a theory called critical race theory, which holds that the Civil Rights movement was a sham and that White Supremacy is the order and it must be overthrown.”
This characterization of critical race theory sparked a feisty debate between Pollack and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who contended that it was a “complete misreading of critical race theory.”
While much of the video released Wednesday had appeared in a PBS Frontline documentary that aired just before the 2008 election, Breitbart’s version featured some additional commentary by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree.
“We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign,” Ogletree jokes to an audience after showing them the portion of the video that had aired on PBS. “I don’t care if they find it now.”
In the article that accompanies the video, Breitbart.com’s editor-at-large Ben Shapiro calls it a “smoking gun” and promises that more information on Bell’s activism will be released soon.
“This is just the beginning,” Shapiro writes. “And this video is a smoking gun showing that Barack Obama not only associated with radicals, he was their advocate.”