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

McCain pushes Obama connection to Khalidi

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/mccain6.jpg caption=" 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. Maggie from Virginia

    Thank God for the internet. Google McCain IRI and Khalidi.

    October 29, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. republicans hate america

    McCain it is you that hates america and we know it.

    October 29, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Bob Dog

    The continued stench of disgusting lies from the Republicans.

    McCain must not have any Jewish campaign advisors. If he did, he'd understand that one of the worst sins you can commit in the Jewish traditiion is to BEAR FALSE WITNESS.

    Its disgraceful to see an alleged "hero" destroy himself in public.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Kerri

    Hasn't John McCain figured out that this tactic doesn't work, yet? We don't care about his fear-mongering tactic of implying Obama is somehow linked to terrorists.

    Sorry McCain, I already voted for Obama.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |

    Is this McCain's closing argument? Again with the hypocrisy! McCain also has ties to Ayers and Khalidi! Hey McCain, America has judges Obama on his character, that is why we will elect him our 44th President! Isn't it about time with six days left that you talked about actual issues instead of negative, hypocritical attacks? Sheesh....

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. tim

    The tape should be released. This looks like complete failure of
    the press to release important information to the people.
    What is happening to the Country?

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. lmc in Seattle

    Well, that started me researching and I found this that came from the Huffington Post:
    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 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Joe PA

    Just like Michelle First time in my life i will vote a straight Democrat ticket.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. The Stallion & The Champ vs. The Old Mule and Winky Half-baked Alaska

    Hmm ... Ever notice how McCain and Palin accuse everyone else of things they are guilty of themselves? I guess they can't hide the truth about their own deep, dark secrets that lie within their tortured souls.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. mama4obama

    Typical of McCain -throwing sucker punches, but none of them landing.

    I cannot wait for this all to be over. McCain literally makes me ill!

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Trollmaster

    If American's didn't care about the weak Obama/Ayers connection 2 months ago, they're going to care even less now.

    The beauty of these GOP attacks is they're only going to drive more people away from the Republican party. Right now they're their own worst enemy.

    McCain is spending almost of his time attacking Obama and hardly saying anything about what he's going to do when he's president and how he's going to fix America's problems. Of course his plans are the same proven failed trickle down policies Bush promoted, so I see why he's not focusing on this.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Lucy

    If I have to choose whose crap I wanted to hear for the next 4-8 years, I would not choose McLame/Failin'. Don't you have somewhere else to be these days, or is this a last ditch effort to get somebody, ANYBODY, to listen to you? Maybe try walking on your hands and lighting your hair on fire.


    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. katiec

    Mccain, Palin
    CNN headline, headline headline.
    Attention, Attention attention.
    No investigations, no scrutiny, no fair.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. teri

    What is wrong with these people! Do they not look at the polls, we do not care about people who Obama had to work with as a college professor in Chicago. If this was relevant let me tell you I would have a much bigger problem with Sarah Palins' ties to the AIP, and Senator McCain's friendship to Gordon Liddy, and Charles Keating. According to the recent president of AIP, Sarah Palin had an open door policy while she was Mayor and Governor. He even claims to have launched her career by helping her get on the city council. Do I care, not really but I hate that they are so desperate and hypocritical. Their smear campaign will tarnish the Republican brand with Independents like myself for years to come.

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Steve, KY

    !!Give it up McCain!!



    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. I see Russia from my HOUSE

    This is the low of the lowest..... People please go vote early!

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. jeremy

    Give it up John, you have lost every ounce of respect that many people had for you.

    Positive messages go much further than negative lies.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Non US Citizen

    the most pathetic opponent ever. he and his running mate are just disgusting.

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Tony



    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. carlo

    McCain is SUCH a loser! He should be telling people what he proposes to do in the final hours of the campaign. McCain is too slow to catch a cold.

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Shaun,FL

    Michelle, PA

    Your comment is full of ignorance. Funny how McCain and Palin have been held under investigation while one was found guilty by her own party for Abuse of Power. The other one cleared of the Keating 5 Scandal, but was guilty of Lack of Judgement. I don't hear about Obama or Biden being under investigation. Your comment has no truth to it, and it only shows how ignorant you are. You dummy.

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    Is this all McCain and Palin can talk about, is one person or another that Obama has in some maner or other talked with someone or been on a committee with someone. Just think of all the people we come into contact with every day. What do we really know about most of these people, not much, but that doesn't mean they are our buddies or close friends or have any influence over how we think. Maybe McCain needs to do more research on himself before he starts talking about Obama. Maybe he should do more vetting on his VP.

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Jeff G

    I understand that there are numerous videos on the internet of mcCain attending events at which Barack Obama, the Marxist, terrorist loving, baby killer was also in attendance. Rumour also has it that McCain may actually be a member of the same organization currently employing Obama. With connections like this how can McCain be trusted.

    Wurzelbacher/Hannity 08

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Woman Against Palin

    This is desparation of the highest order. Who, in their right mind, would vote for McSenile as President. He is grasping at straws and this kind of campaigning is just so wrong, in every sense. Grow the hell up and admit you lost. We don't need someone like you and your idiot running mate in the White House running our wonderful country. Division: you are doing everything in your power to turn American citizens against each other, if I didn't know better, I would think you were running for President of Iran.

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Dwayne, Louisville, KY

    CNN, please post this ...
    If John McCain is so FOR the release of information, tell him to request that the "private" information linking him to a vehicle accident in 1964 where a death occured, be released. Reference Huffington Post for the tip.

    Thank you and Goodnight!

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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