Palin won't call abortion clinic bombers terrorists

Sarah Palin has used the phrase "domestic terrorist" to refer to Bill Ayers, but won't apply the same terminology to those who target clinics.

By Alex Koppelman
Published October 24, 2008 9:35PM (EDT)

Apparently, not all domestic terrorists are created equal. At least, not according to Sarah Palin, who got tongue-tied trying to get away from questions posed to her by NBC's Brian Williams Thursday night. Williams was specifically wondering about her description of former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers and whether she'd extend that description to other people who've used bombs against civilian targets in the United States.

Here's the exchange between the two. Video, via Think Progress, is below.

WILLIAMS: Are we changing -- it's been said that to give it a vaguely post-9/11 hint, using that word that we don't normally associate with domestic crimes. Are we changing the definition? Are the people who set fire to American cities during the '60s terrorists in -- under this definition? Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under this definition, Governor?

PALIN: There's no question that Bill Ayers, via his own admittance, was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There's no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to -- I don't know if you're going to use the word terrorist there, but it's unacceptable, and it would not be condoned, of course, on our watch. But I don't know -- if what you're asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayers as an unrepentant domestic terrorist, I don't regret characterizing him as that.

WILLIAMS: No, I'm just asking what other categories you would put in there, abortion clinic bombers, protesters in cities where fires were started, Molotov cocktails were thrown, people died?

PALIN: I would put in that category of Bill Ayers anyone else who would seek to campaign, to destroy our United States Capitol and our Pentagon and would seek to destroy innocent Americans.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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