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. Justin, ny

    still looking for the mccain/palin duo to give us a reason to actually vote for them...

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Jeremy - Columbus, OH

    McCain, tells us your ties with him..........

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Phil, CA

    Michelle, PA: If I was drinking milk while I read your post, I do believe it would've come out of my nose. ROFL!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Voter

    Issues = 0

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. JAS

    Clearly, why can't you McCain and Hockey Mom, "say it aint so Joe" stay on the issues? Oh, "If you talk about the economy, you will lose."

    Obama-Biden 2008

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Ken

    desperado.... I think!

    October 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. David

    McShame......how bout talking about the real issue.......like your desperation to get to the White House at all cost. Go sit down and play with your wife Barbie!

    OBAMA 08

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Allen

    Poor ole John..what a tired and angry old man he is. I don't know what scares me more..that he could even be nominated for President or that people will actually vote for him. Scary...

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Richard

    From Hero to Zero, what a sad end for John McCain...

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Palin3009

    McCain – EVERY single day you are proving that I was right NOT to vote for GOP this time around – you are NOT the same guy who I could have voted for – all of these gimmicks of your campaign reinforces 2 very important things

    1) It is Votes First and NOT country first (and you can do ANYTHING to get elected including risking a country be nominating an IDIOT for VP)
    2) You cannot be yourselves and the true reformer/straight talker IF elected, if you continue at this rate and do as your campaign says (prove me otherwise please)

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Keith

    Beware the Ides of November (well, the fourth of November, actually...but that sounds less OMINOUS.

    A Black president will portend DOOM for the radical right wing of American politics.

    BEWARE...McCain may be weird and reckless and old as dirt...but he's white. Doesn't that count for anything anymore?

    PS 9 out of 10 evangelical Christians predict Obama will trigger the End of Days...or at least higher taxes....BEWARE!!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. ok...

    well Obama is certainly right, the mccain campaign doesn't have an issue to run on, so their platform is 'no obama'


    i hope the gop and those insufferable conservatives will finally disappear.

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Independent white female patriotic voter

    Mccain is using every trick in the OLD book. Scare tactics and negative campagining the very things he said he would not do. So, what else will Mccain do that he says he wouldn't do if he won the election? well, he used to be a man of honor, he has lost all his witts about him and he has become more negative than any other candidate in my lifetime. He does not tell the truth while out on the trail about Obama, he lies about Obama's policies, he lies about Obama's tax plan. He calls Obama a liar, that doesn't attract me at all. Why does he think that the voters are all gullable, idiots, ignorant and unknowlegealble? he is an elitist and he uses people who are volnurable.

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Texas Mom for Obama

    How can it be that 44% of the country is buying this crap? I have not heard ONE word from McCain/Palin that is positive and gives us a hint as to what direction they want to take this country in, other than lying, cheating, and trying to steal this election. We have a glimpse as to how they both will govern with all of the infighting going on in their campaign now. This will be Bush/Cheney redux. We simply CANNOT take anymore of the same crap. It doesn't matter if you are black/white/green/purple, let's give Obama a chance to prove himself .

    Please vote, and vote because our children's futures depend on us to make the right choice.

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. E

    So now he is a terrorist because he may or may not have spoken to someone from Palestine?!?! Really?!? This desperation is pathetic!

    I am from the South, does that mean I am part of the KKK? If someone is from New York or Chicago are they automatically part of the mafia? If someone in your neighborhood has ties does that make you part of the mob or the KKK? NO! I am sure every person i this country has met or is related to someone who has done wrong, does that make every one of us a terrorist? NO!

    Stop slandering, it is desperate and only increases violence and ignorance.

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Cathy

    McCain, just stop the lies. We are tired of the smears and lies. If you spent as much time talking about the issues as you and Ms. Clueless spend attempting to bash Sen. Obama, maybe you would be ahead in the polls. Enough is Enough!!!

    Obama/Biden 2008!

    October 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. BJS

    They will throw anything against the wall to see if it will stick. They only thing that is sticking is the garbage that their complete campaign has been run on. No issues, blast Obama. This has been McCain/Palins complete run for the white house. It's sad to think they have such a low opinion of all people, dems/reps who do not go along with them. However, the hate filled crowds are all they have and they count on them to choose them to run this country? U gotta be kidding. I feel this has been the lowest presidental race I have ever seen. McCain/Palin will eventually tear each other apart like the dogs they are.

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. New Day

    yeah, why stick to the economy when personal attacks have worked SOOOO well for you, Johnny boy?

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Hilda

    Mccain has the audacity to bring this man up. Why does he speak about the half million he gave the man in grants. Give it up, John. You just campaign and try and tell the american people those who are still listening, why you should be president

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. CanIcallyouJoe

    Oh, sorry guys, brb. Gonna go back in time and not give the same man $500k.

    -John McCain

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Bill,ca

    Its time to get all republicans out of office..

    These religeous cults are disgusting. The don't carte about the economy, health care for people, as long as the donations from stupid peaple roll in.

    What is becomming out of this country with Palin and McCain.

    The republican party is in shambles. They are so desperate its not funny anymore.

    And they are the ones to lead america and the world?

    No way Jose, then we all are doomed.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. banderson

    I want the American people to finally see the McCain-Palin ticket for what they truly are. Desperate, pathetic, and bordering on senile. Please vote for change.

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. PennyAnne

    Just when we thought the McCain/Palin mutual fanclub had scraped the mud from the very bottom of the barrel... they found something even lower! And it smells so bad the fumes are lifting Obama higher by comparison to the dirty political tactics.

    Think of all the truths we have heard during this campaign on blogs and articles about the naughtiness of McCain/Palin's past that have NOT been used by the gentlemanly, presidential Obama campaign..

    I'm in Canada – if you don't want Sen.Obama as your President – please send him up to us – we would APPRECIATE him.

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Tom

    I have only two words "Radio Hanoi"

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. George

    I am amazed at McCain's advisors, period.
    Could he EVER provide us something positive about himself? A reason to vote FOR him? Sad–sad–sad. ..and so flip floppish...
    But he did say the tax cut for the rich was immoral, did he not ??

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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