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. DC in AZ

    Michelle, PA

    You freakin said it girl!
    Man that summed it all up for sure.

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Cathy Brandes

    Just when I thought Senator McCain or Gov Palin could stoop no lower, they do this. I am amazed he wants to win so badly this is what both are resorting to. I believe Senator McCain served as chairman of an organization which gave grant money to Khalidi. Any comment, Senator?
    Also, the comments made by Elizabeth Dole today calling her opponent "godless" are unwarranted as well. Has every republican lost their mind?
    November 4th can't come fast enough !

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. deb in Colo

    So tired of this finger-pointing.

    I guess McCain really doesn't get it! WE DON'T CARE!

    October 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. SideLiner

    This is just mere desperation on McCain's part. I dont understand how independents can swing to vote for him at all. It is clear he is an evil, vindictive person. His concentration is on bringing his opponent down, rather than focusing on his intentions and plans for the country. This alone should make Americans know that McCain is not what America needs at this Critical time in Americas history with the Economic crisis and all. McCain was once the only Republican i have ever rooted for in the past, but i guess people show their true color when the chips are down. This merely equates to a man without Integrity. This whole election episode just underscores what most Black people experience day to day in every sphere of their lives.....A black man has to work twice as hard as their white counterpart to get to the same destination. God Bless America......After 200+years of America's existence on earth, Civility is mere Sugar coated bigotry!

    October 29, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Arlene

    John McCain is a tired, sad, old , angry man.
    The more I see him on TV the worst he looks, this campaign
    has taken a toll on him.

    October 29, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Andy Dresser

    This is loony. McCain, you aren't fooling anyone. Desperation is ugly, and can't be covered up in $150,000 worth of clothes.

    October 29, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Republican for Obama

    Every day that McCain comes out with more non-news makes me even more ashamed to be a Republican.....Where is the news on how you're going to fix the economy and how you'll help the 'real' small business?


    October 29, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Va in Va

    So, the McCain led IRI gave $448,875 (use Google to fact check this amount) to a PLO guy? Oh, and Obama had dinner with him?

    Which is giving more aid, dinner or a cool half a million bucks? I think the McCain campaign is gonna wish they could have this one back.

    October 29, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Chi4Obama

    I believe we are watching the end of a political Monopoly for the last 8 years (I.E. the Republican Party).

    McCain and his campaign are sinking faster than the Titanic.I'm just sitting back watching with my box of popcorn.

    Is this the best that they can do with less than one week before the election? Pathetic.

    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Filipina

    McLie and the Diva are so desperate.

    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. Iowa Independent

    Who wants to elect a"trash talker" as the next president.......I don't...........and I hope you don't ,either.

    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Oh Boy!!!???

    What about the time your limo was parked next to Ahmadinijhad's? You didn't move it.

    What about the time you called the wrong number and it was Arafat?

    What about that one time....

    Is this what we would like to elect to lead our country.


    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Robert Kneale

    If yiou want McCain for President, you better be sure that the Democrats
    control both houses in congress. Otherwise we will just have four to eight
    more years of Bush policies.

    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Jay T.

    So, let me follow the Right here: Obama is a Communistic, Radical Islamic Terrorist Who Preaches Black Liberation Theology. Um, I guess I'm not well enough versed in where all these scary words collide, but it just doesn't seem possible to me. You?

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

    Wait a minuite do you mean you can,t talk to someone who has different ideas as you do.No doubt the same Bush Cow boy diplomacy ways.My way or the high way.Mccain i think you are suffering from altsheimer.Need some checkup.See Bush for some advise.

    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Connie from Indiana

    CNN please tell us the connection between McCain and Rashid Khalidi.

    October 29, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. LLM from MD

    I knew it was coming......DESPERADO!!!!


    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Tech Recruiter

    Another desperate attempt to throw spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks.

    McCain: you really need to fire your campaign advisers.

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. Unshrub

    What a desperate hack McCain has become!

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. Arkansas

    McCain needs to let it go, trying to find anything that will stick to obama in these last days.

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Maryland


    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Phillip Bunn

    What a slobbering, pathetic old man. He looks like Elmer Fudd and sounds like Joe McCarthy. This is what happens when you want something so badly that you are willing to sell you soul. If I were John McCain I would have rather been remembered as a dignified war hero rather than a foolish court jester.

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Go Bama

    This is too pathertic. McCain just go away, the American people will speak loud and clear on November 4th and it won't be for you or your Alaskan sidekick.

    Again I ask why is McCain and Palin not talking about what they will do for the American people rather than spread half truths, lies and unimportant information about Obama?

    I have the answer.... they got nothing!

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. PA, Seattle, WA

    Why on earth is it considered wrong to engage in conversation with people who have other views, or with people who we may disagree with? Why is it considered bad to want to learn the other side of an argument? Why is it something bad to attend a party for someone who may have different views than yourself? Why is it bad to listen too, and even appreciate, an intelligent, thoughtful, point of view, just because it's a view that you may not agree with?

    The GOP has become the party of mediocrity, ignorance, and hate.

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Phoenix

    Come on baby. Don't focus on economics, lets finish losing this race.

    October 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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