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. WhiteWomenforObama'08

    When in doubt, scare the old people.

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. justin (pissed at this stuff coming from Mccain

    I am so tired of hearing about all this connection stuff coming from this campaign. They need to spend the rest of this time trying to bring this country back together after tearing it apart. John Mccain has nothing left for him and his running mate has even less. Just let it go and save what little respect you have left.

    October 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. jerral

    mcsain and palin are going straight to hell for their lies. god help them and america pray for them, they to are gods children, they just lost the wheels off the straight talk express

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Tim

    I just have to say, I love the phrase "idiot wind", and how appropriate!

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. mccain = neo-cons = zionists

    why don't we talk about McCain – neo-con connection and

    Palin – anti-semites connection and

    tood pali – cessesionists connection and

    mccain – keating five connection?

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. DLK

    Another example of the sad and pathetic thought process used by the GOP, RNC, and McCain/Palin Express. If you can't beat them just throw more BS out there to see who will believe them.

    I hope everyone has a BIG shovel because it's just going to get worse before Nov. 4th.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Micheal


    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. Shaun,FL

    Republicans if you think Obama is socialist. Remember to tell your grandparents, and parents to give back their social security checks when they recieve it. That would be consider socialist also. Just remember that.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Empty suit, empty promises

    Again, the media can't just report he whole story here, Michelle Obama went to this guys daughters wedding, the four of THEM ARE VERY FRIENDLY obviously as Barack talks about dinner discussions that happened again and again and he was TOASTING THIS GUY as a great man.

    Just A CONVERSATION or two OBAMB?I, you and your wife and they are BEST BUDS.


    A little different bots than what you are posting, but then again Obamabi and the truth don't see eye to eye.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Douglas, Los Angeles California

    Dear Senator McCain,

    What about your running mate being a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. They hate America and want to be seperated from us. What is Palin doing here anyway? And enough of this negative stuff; What do you actually plan to do with this country if you win the election? All I hear from you is attacks! You talk about Obama more than you talk about yourself.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Eric

    Another bad decision in a line of bad judgment calls on the part of John McCain.....

    Talk about yourself and less about your opponent. Moderates and independents aren't drinking the kool-aid....haven't you figured that out by now.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Lynnette

    McCain is now sunk below scum. What is wrong with this man besides losing the election? I believe that McCain feels that if someone knows an Israeli, you can't even take to someone whose a Palestinian, that you work with? How's that going to work?
    McCain is saying that all Palestinians are terrorists and now that Obama has talked to this guy, he is also a terrorist.
    I can't wait for Tuesday, then all of this madness will be over and we won't have to see McCain again.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Vote4Obama

    Most of us have attended a business event or dinner function where we don't know more than half the people attending and what those people believe or don't believe. You just can't judge people like that! In business sometimes you surround yourself with those that have knowledge however; you would never call them a friend... This is life!

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Chuck

    Get over it McCain. Keating 5 is still fresh in our memories also, but you don't see the democrats harping on this still. It's old new just like you and Palin will be after next Tuesday.

    October 29, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Peter

    This is McCain's last ditch effort, and it will fail miserably. After the ad tonightand the subsequent coverage, a landslide victory for Obama will be very apparent.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. JoycesVoice

    When will McCain quit? How does he equate the Palin's relationship to the Alaskan Independence Party and his friendship with Giddy? In fact,r he's even got an Osama Bin Laden lobbyist in his campaign camp? Give me a break. Ask McCain to tell us about his affiliations with former lopbbyist who are in his campaign camp and former employees of the very friends who he's trying to keep the Bush tax cuts for- the rich and powerful.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. AJ

    Oh for goodness sake John, LET IT GO. I don’t like Obama and opted to forgo voting for president this cycle rather than being forced to choose the lesser of two evils but really, this is absurd.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Tom Menczel

    First it is Joe the Plumber, then we have Timo the Builder, and now we have Bill the Terrorist and Rashid the PLO. Will they appear on the McCain campaign trail as well this week? When did the word maverick come to mean desperate embittered old man. Shame on you John McCain.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Joe, Georgia

    McCain and his campaign are becoming a joke.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Steve S

    McShame give a grant to Khalidi and the Palestinian Research Center .While McShame was chairman of the International Republic
    Institue... This is notthing more than a witch hunt... trick or treat

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Harriett Tillman

    McCain should STOP!!! He hasn't learned anything from his past mistakes or the old adage ie "when pointing a finger at someone else there are three fingers pointed back at you." Everytime he tries to throw mud at Barak there is something with mud on it thrown back on him. Here is the Palestinian situation that determines he (McStupid) donated (MONEY) to; all Obama did was talk to the guy and wish him well he left Chicago.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Beah

    Sen. McCain ruined his reputation as "honorable man". We are facing an economic melt down BUT his campaign keep bringing all this crazy things. I don't know any individual who has perfect friends.

    You "my friend" turned out to be a LIAR.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Sherri

    Senator McCain stop this, please. You have your own ties to this man.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. annoyed voter

    I have one word to describe this story...."ENOUGH"...

    Senator McCain – I beg you to please focus this last 6 days on how I should vote for YOU and NOT on how I should vote AGAINST Senator Obama...

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Kevin

    Aren't you just sick of McCain/Palin already?

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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