October 29th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
12 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. linda in AR

    Does this rank with the racial-religious hate e-mail that I got concerning "Obama is an ARAB...Obama can recite the Muslim morning prayer with a perfect accent?... Do the Blacks know that Obama is NOT Black?"

    I not only got this ramp up the fear and smear e-mail, it got my name on the McCain e-mail alert list which I asked to be deleted from.

    It was initiated through my very extended family by a member who lives in the Michele Bachman district.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. E B

    Next we will hear of a conversation with Obama with Satan himself. This is garbage.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Bruce

    John is that the way you want to lead this country? It's a shame for a guy like you to play such dirty cards at the time you are so desperate.

    You are a dishonor to this country and to the republican party.
    As you pretend to put the country first, maybe you should stop dividing people and creating hatred based on your lies.

    John We are really sick of you and your politics. We want some fresh with a new leadership not someone with the old ideas from 50 years ago who is ready to start to take this country into a new war based on his personal temper and poor judgment..

    God thanks Americans are smarter than what you think and this time they won't let you take this country to its end.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. TangoDancer

    Senator McCain does not deserve to be POTUS. He has turned into a devisive radical that is threatening the fabric of the USA. The Isreali-Palestinian issue is a delicate balancing act that will require strenuous effort on the part of the entire world community to come to a successful conclusion.

    Mr. McCain – you do not have the right to interject your failed presidential bid into this process with the hopes of obtaining voting support from the Jewish community. Truth be told, Jewish Americans have far more to fear from your right-wing supporters than they do from academic minded Palestinians. I've truly come to despise you, Mr. Maverick.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Alison B

    What else is there. My goodness this man is relentless in this negativity BS that he persists on continuing. As if there are not more important things to discuss. Like do we really care to hear all this nonsense

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. "June-the-military-wife"

    I am so sick of McCain trying to depict every person of middle-eastern decent as evil, scarry.....ohhhh, I'm so scared. And McCain want to represent America? America, a country made of people of all races, religions...??? Maybe he and Pom-Pom Palin can go to alaska and suceed from the USA. Better yet, why doesn't he just back-out and retire (to one of his many houses) with little is left of his dignity. I hate how he is trying to tear this country apart.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. offwallst


    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Calofornaian_96

    Is not McCaine who is the buddy of this guy?

    According to tax returns the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 as first reported by Seth Couter Walls at HuffPo.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. A chicken sings in Johns yard

    Why isnt your hero Bush helping you McCain?

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Tom

    Funny how prefaces each complaint with "I am not in the business of...but" or "I don't care about...but"
    Sounds like to me you are in that business.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Kentucky

    Cindy has to be upset. McCain talks about Obama 24-7 and when he walks off stage, he usually either gives Cindy a meaningless lil peck on the cheek or walks right by her. Man, if he can't even show a little love for her (his wife), do you honestly think he's going to show some love for us?! McCain, you are going to lose. Quit making it harder than it needs to be. Everyone loses at some point in time. They just don't make a big idiot of themselves in the process, like you have. Go back home and take your little dog with you. I mean, pitbull.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Dana

    John McCain is a godless freak of nature, and an embarresment to the Republican Party. I cannot believe he refuses to speak about the issues. Obama has run a decent campaign. America don't let this fool "swiftboat" this election like Bush did in 04.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. Eugene

    When you get to the bottom of the barrel, you find sludge-which is all that Republicans can grasp at with six days to go.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Jon(CO)

    If we vote in another party using the tactics of division no one will ever run a positive campaign again. If issues, character and intelligence matter to you, chose wisely.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Billy

    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 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Manuel TX

    So, let's see the tape.

    What's the big deal?


    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Paizley

    McCain and Palin are disgusting individuals. Any ounce of respect I had left for McCain is out the door.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. mike

    Transparent lies and smear. Going nowhere fast John.
    What an honorable guy!

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. nate

    Every Jewish person I know in NYC and I know a LOT, are voting for Obama.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. EO

    John McCain is sounding moredesperate and pathetic every time he opens his mouth.

    The brainwashing garbage will not work this time. We will not be Hoodwinked as Barack stated a whle ago.

    You are loosing respect John McCain. You are now a bedfellow with the Dope head Rush Limbach. Remember that anyone??

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Lee from FL

    I demand records but i am not willing to disclose mine.


    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. LaTeef Alade Georgia for Obama

    Mcain/Palin have run out of good ideas and are running out of time.

    October 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Chi4Obama

    Your negativity will not work. I can't wait to attend Obama's election (victory) party in Downtown Chicago on Nov. 4th.

    October 29, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Michael watching from Canada

    What about the real issues important for Americans?

    Obama will keep America strong, he will restore America's image around the world......

    so says Colin Powell.

    Who has more foreign policy knowledge and wisdom?

    Powell or Palin?

    October 29, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Sharon, CO

    McCain and Palin – please just go away and crawl back under your respective rocks in Arizona and Alaska.

    October 29, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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