October 29th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain pushes Obama connection to Khalidi

 McCain is calling for the release of a tape from an event attended by Barack Obama.

McCain is calling for the release of a tape from an event attended by Barack Obama.

MIAMI, Florida (CNN)- In a radio interview with Radio Mambi in Miami Wednesday, Senator John McCain said that the Los Angeles Times should release a tape of an event that his opponent attended with Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi , a former University of Chicago professor now teaching at Columbia University who is alleged to have ties with the PLO.

“We should know about their relationship including, apparently, information that is held by the Los Angeles Times concerning an event that Mr. Ayers attended with a PLO spokesman. The Los Angeles Times refuses to make that videotape public. I’m not in the business about talking about media bias but what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet. I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different.”

Khalidi has denied being a part of the PLO, saying that between 1976 and 1983 — the period critics have alleged he worked for the organization - he was a full time assistant professor at the American University of Beirut, a fellow at the Institue of Palestine Studies and author of two books and had no time for anything else.

McCain’s radio interview comes a day after the McCain campaign accused the Los Angeles Times of supressing a videotape of a 2003 banquet that then state Senator Barack Obama along with Ayers and Khalidi, and where Obama talked about his friendship with the Palestinian scholar.

"A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi," said McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb. "The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job - make information public."

The paper was the first to report on the relationship between Obama and Khalidi in an April 2008 story - titled “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama” - about the Illinois senator’s ties with the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Chicago and detailed the 2003 event, which was a farewell dinner for Khalidi, who was leaving Chicago to take a job in New York.

"The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton.

Khalidi himself said in an e-mailed statement that he was “not speaking to the media at this time, and certainly not until this idiot wind passes.” He also directed reporters to a post on the Harper’s magazine Web site that he said “has some details re a few of the stupider, and more ignorant things said about me.”

Obama was asked about his relationship with Khalidi in May at a town hall with Jewish voters.
“I do know him because I taught at the University of Chicago,” Obama said. “And he is a Palestinian. And I do know him and I have had conversations. He is not one of my advisors; he’s not one of my foreign policy people. His kids went to the Lab school where my kids go as well. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel’s policy.”

“To pluck out one person who I know and who I’ve had a conversation with who has very different views than 900 of my friends and then to suggest that somehow that shows that maybe I’m not sufficiently pro-Israel, I think, is a very problematic stand to take,” Obama said. “so we got to be careful about guilt by association.”

And while McCain might not have known Khalidi personally, he has ties to the Palestinian as well. During the 1990s, while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, the group gave grant money to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi.

Florida, with its 27 electoral votes, is a crucial battleground for McCain. Jewish voters comprise 5 percent of the electorate in the state.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (1,005 Responses)
  1. Brenda C

    Release the tape Obama. What you scared of? Yeah the source turns it into LATimes which reports news (suppose to) but they don't want it released??? Obama I really don't know how you sleep at night. You are the most decietful man I've ever seen.

    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. FRANK

    CLINTON DEMORCATS FOR MCCAIN!!

    GOOD OF COUNTRY OVER GOOD OF PARTY!!
    COUNTRY FIRST!!

    SAVE OUR COUNTRY STOP OBAMA AND HIS LIBERAL PALS!!

    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I WILL SUPPORT A REPUBLICAN, AND I AM PROUD TO SAY I SUPORT JOHN MCCAIN!!

    ON NOV. 4TH LETS SHOW THEM WHAT THE CLINTON FACTOR CAN DO..CLINTON SUPORTERS MUST SUPORT MCCAIN!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Angelicious

    From the Huffington Post:

    McCain Funded Work Of Palestinian His Campaign Hopes To Tie To Obama

    During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

    A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, "West Bank: CPRS" on page 14 of this PDF.)

    The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."

    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Mike

    Obama has always identified with Islam as one side is his family is Muslim. He he has never declared that he has no identification with Islam as a religion. For you ignorant and narrowly- educated liberals out there, here's a hot flash: Mohammed declared that there should be no separation of Islam and state and that lying to advance the causes of Islam was an acceptable practice.

    October 29, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. David

    CNN you should not let McCain splash around in the toilet to the extent he is and award him with air time for this crap.

    October 29, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Kenda

    Shut up.......enough already.

    October 29, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. IowaChad

    The republicans don't run on ANYTHING! All they do is smear their opponents. How can ANYONE in their right mind vote republican?? They offer nothing. They go up to the mic and yell, "He sucks!" How's that going to fix the country??

    Doesn't anybody in the "big tent" of the republican party have any ideas whatsoever?

    These attacks are pathetic.

    October 29, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Charles Atlanta

    I think Republican try to comb through every possible person at University of Chicago and found out whatever they did and said and link whatever they can to Obama. I have friends and neighbors have different political view than me. But we can watch football together, go to dinner together. We're all adult and try to avoid bringing politics because we know that will go nowhere. Do we want to destroy Palestinian people because of Isreal? Do you think we should try to bring peace to mideast instead of endless killing over there? Do you think a peaceful mideast will benefit America eventually? Man... Republican attitude to muslim world and Arabic countries are very, very dangerous!!

    October 29, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Paula

    This kind of swiping and crap talk is what brought down the Republican ticket. Enough said.

    October 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Florida

    Sick Puppies. Send Palin Back to Alaska and you can go with her. Noodles on a wall, what next, Obama is really Osama with a really dark tan. Get a Life.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08/12

    October 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. BJ in NC

    Wow, I just sent a comment and it totally disappeared. What's up with that? This is John McCain connection moreso than Senator Obama's.

    October 29, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Ian

    Can anyone answer why we are so bent on spending billions on Isreal?

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. MHUGHES

    It's sad to see how McCain and the Republican's stoop to this level of pathetic-ness. I read the paper and I see members of the Republican Party going to court for corruption and even the RP's VP candidate is being investigated but let someone have a friend that is from a different country and all of a sudden he's a terrorist.

    Shame to the Republican Party and McCain. I hope that the youth movement in the Republican Party can not be as xenophobic as the old guard.

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. AshforObama

    MCCAIN IS A JOKE.

    He is a disgrace to all American's. This man has no backbone: he rode on the coattails of his daddy to enroll in his school which he pretty much failed at, rode on his HOMEWRECKING 2nd wife for money and connections, and rode on Bush's coattails to get the Rep nomination...until those low approval ratings came out...

    McCain is a fake and a phony and just as he lied to his 1st wife's face when he said his vowes to her he's gonna do America just as dirty.

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Semper Fi

    I knew the would be an October surprise and it's for Obama. The LA Times are on the spot if they keep or release the tape.

    And I'm happy about that.

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Abul

    What Next? I just want to see the grave McCain digging, who that is for? Himself????

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Joel

    I can't wait until November 5th and we can stop listening to these desperate, unethical, uncooth kooks, Sarah Palin and John McCain.

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Ann

    I have always been taught you learn by talking to people with different opinions, backgrounds, religions, etc. Just because you talk & listen does not mean you accept their positions. More of McCain/Palin close minded mentality.

    A few more days of their garbage.

    October 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Hardy Takhar

    McBush and that Bimbo still dont get it. To coin that well used phrase"its the economy stupid" They keep on with these personal attacks when even their own advisors have warned against it. The people have seen through this charade. Obama is forging ahead. He has a game plan,an agenda that he is exploiting to the max. He will not give up until every possible vote has been taken away from the GOP. I CANT WAIT TO READ THE GOP EULOGY ON THIS ONE

    October 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Lean

    CNN should be fair in its reporting and bring up a headline of MCCAIN DONATED TO KHALID

    October 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. TJ

    PALESTINE HAS NO STANDING MILLATARY OR ANY MEANS OF PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM AN OCCUPATION OF EASTERN EUROPEAN JEWS WHO TERRORIZE AND OPRESS THEM.

    IF KHALIDI WAS A MEMBER OF THE PLO, HE IS A CONSIDERED A PATRIOT TO HIS COUNTRY MEN. PEOPLE NEED TO INVESTIGATE BOTH SIDES OF THE ISRAELI/PALISTINIAN CONFLICT AND MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION!!!

    LIBERATE PALESTINE!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Sherry

    Obama represents the future; McCain, the past - your choice is clear!

    October 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Tom in S.A.

    Another shady character in Obama's past, and Obama says it's someone I know, have had conversations with, blah blah. How about telling us the truth, like I know him, I've had dinner at his house, sounds like he knows him a lot better than he'll let us know. Oh well it's a litttle to late and we'll see what happens.

    October 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. elizabeth

    McCain is becoming demented, he forgot his intimate relation with this professor by promoting the causes both of them believe in. But when he had Obama's name he bounced. It is a shame John has reduced himself to a carpet level

    October 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Brenda

    My common sense is seeing a red flag of warning on this matter. We all know the LA Times has endorsed Obama. If there is nothing to this story, as many here are trying to say, then why is the LA Times refusing to release it? The fact that they are refusing to release it, makes me question whether there is actually something that could somehow damage Obama in its contents. I believe if there was something positive for Obama in it, the American public would have already seen it.

    As one of the independent undecided voters, I believe that the American people have the right to know what is on that tape and judge for ourselves.

    October 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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