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. NoMcSame

    No way, no day will I ever vote for a CREEP like McSame. This man is all over the place and all that he say's has nothing to do with me. Can't wait for this to be over just to shut him up. My God help us. Almost to the point that I hate this man. McSame is one sick puppy. Go fishing Bro.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. McCain invented the Black Berry

    Ok who gave the guy more money to be sent to the PLO

    Obama or McCain......

    Who is grasping at Straws and lying ?

    Obama or McCain......

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Alexander Djordjevich

    Nobody knows anything? Sat in a church for 20 years, but didn't hear a thing. Sat on a board with the unrepentant bomber, yet didn't know anything about him. I guess Khalidi is just an acquaintance too?

    Too many coincidences, but one thing is consistent......................the media's inability to investigate anything which may cripple the messiah's rise to stardom.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Sharon from Dumfries Virginia

    It sounds like McCain is just saying whatever is on the paper. He has no earthly idea what is going on in his campaign. He and Sarah are out to lunch 90% of the time.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Biff

    six degrees of seperation....

    McCain's aunt went to school with Hitler's sister...


    (hey.... i'm gettin pretty good at this game)...

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Kate

    So what if Obama attended a dinner party with Khalidi! Obama has already answered questions about this guy. They were all professors together in Chicago!

    McCain gave him $450,000 in grants. He is trying to win this election in the worst way possible. God help us all if he succeeds.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. DB

    So has anybody connected all the dots yet to tie Obama to Kevin Bacon?

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Boman

    Has this election become about who Obama came in Contact from Hawai, to Indonesia to Chicago or is it about real issues that matter to the American peiople?

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. milo

    "I’m not in the business about talking about media bias but..."

    Funny, sounds like you ARE in the business about talking about media bias.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. MR. MAGOO!

    Yes she is an expert on energy because she can see the north slope from her porch, wink wink, ya betcha.
    Her and McGoo still haven't said what they plan on doing with spent nuclear fuel other than saying we will take care of it. I want to know how, putting it in my backyard in Nevada is not an option, I want to hear their details of just where they plan on storing this toxic waste for the next one thousand years. Hey I have an idea, how about putting it in Wasilla or Sedona, I'm sure those folks won't mind their hair falling out and the teeth glowing in the dark, do ya think??
    From MSNBC poster.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Tell It Like It Is McCain!

    I'm certain we will find out about a lot of other "not so" ethical relationships that Obama has had or is having.

    Prediction: Impeachment proceedings will commence within 12 months if elected!

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. Chuck

    You would think that this man would have more sense than his running mate, but it is apparent that he doesn't. The GOP is as sickening as it can get. These tactics aren't working. They have been proven not to be working. They have nothing left. This is their only strategy and they are losing.

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Even Steven

    Is this the same Palestinian professor that John McCain's PAC gave $450,000 worth of grants to fund his research on Middle Eastern and Palestinian social issues????? WHOOPSY DAISY!

    October 29, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Val in Ohio

    Please don't fall for the false and deceptive rhetoric McCain and Palin are spreading about Obama. They are simply trying to divert attention from their own failings and inability to solve the nation's problems. During the last two elections, people were swayed by Bush's rhetoric, which resulted in dire consequences for the country; we need to avoid a repeat of the same fate. For positive leadership and the change we need, heed the advice of Colin Powell, Warren Buffet and at least 35 major newspapers, including the Anchorage Daily News, and vote for Obama!

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Candia

    Why does McCain constantly accuse Obama of things he himself is "guilty" of, and oftentimes to a much worse degree? Does he suffer only under a failure of his long-term memory or does merely conveniently re-arrange his reality and his record as he pleases?

    And could he and his campaign please stop accusing as suspicious and/or radical who isn't a white, fundamental conservative Christian? And then blaming anyone who dares point out the bigotry of it?

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Bob (Illinois)

    Will someone PLEASE put an end to the GOP garbage?

    Aha! There is a way to stop this nonsense: Vote for Obama/Biden!

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Vic of New York

    John McCain:

    I used to be a Republican – years ago. That was before I discovered how Ronald Regan has sold us down the drain. It was before It was before Karl Rove and Willie Horton. It was before the GOP went down the drain chasing after the extremist Right Wing.

    I began predicting that the Republican Party was headed for self destruction not far into the Bush Administration. Unfortunately, your just not in touch with people like myself. Instead, you chose to chase George Bush Jr. and the extremist right into the toilet bowl.

    You and every Republican deserves exactly what you end up with.

    For my part my advise to everyone I speak with is: VOTE EVERY REPUBILICAN OUT OF OFFICE – It's time to flush the toilet.

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. sandee in Portland

    And this is going to be their final theme going into the last days, more of the mud slinging. McCain says, "I will fight for...." absolutely everything. Right! As a moderate Republican, I do not want another President that fights for only what he see is the right thing. I want a President that will fight for the good of our country, not for him and his cronies personally. I am ashamed that our once proud republican party has been reduced to the lying, right wing evangelical group it has become. To other moderates, how did we let this happen; and Sarah Palin is the worst of them all. McCain and Palin are two peas in a pod..they both think it's their way or no way.

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. MCD, SF, CA

    Obama has been a perfect gentleman during this whole business. McCain/Palin just keep spewing hate and garbage... good! Let people see what they are really all about.

    Believe me, Obama could bring up a lot of things he hasn't .... like the Keating 5 to cite one.

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Rhonda from SC

    If John McCain had ran a respectable campaign, then maybe it would have been ok to sometimes question Barack Obama "relationships".
    However since John McCain decided to take the low road, all his attempts to attack Barack Obama appear to be desperate or grasping at straws.

    John McCain should have initially chosen a strategy that was positive, which would have gained the American people's trust and then later attached Barack Obama.

    McCain is losing this election for failing to be the "maverick" he claims to be. This is one of those times, he should have went against his party base. It may have led him to victory...


    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. C A


    In order to try and win this election McCain and Palin are proving to be the worst kind of hate mongering, fear mongering facists they can be.

    When picturing McCain ranting and raving accusing Obama of this and that while trying to inject fear and hate into people's hearts I get a mental picture of Hitler ranting and raving in front of thousands inciting hate and fear into the hearts of people as well. Palin is to McCain what Globels was to Hitler (his ignorant and mean spirited hit person).

    The Jewish citizens here in the U.S. should reject these kinds of tactics for they are the very same fear mongering tactics that caused a nation of people to try and destroy them years ago.

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Carl

    Dude.. they are professors!! What about all the students that have had them for teachers? Do they not deserve jobs because their university has employed someone that you disagree with?

    Come on, John, this is truly pathetic!! I am sure that you are attached to some radicals...but to take the high ground I'm not going to name them all (not that there is room).

    So you know what. When you talk all we hear is, blah blah blah nothing new nothing new.

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Go Bama


    Enough already....

    Do you have anything positive to say about anything?

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. Kevin

    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.

    You know – there's a certain major news organization that keeps leaving this fact out of it's reports on this stories. I'm sure you can guess which one it is.

    October 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. james in s.c.

    yeah let mccain camp show this video and it will back fire on them because mccain himself supported rashid khalid by giving nearly half a million dollars to the PLO. what a hypocrite!!

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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