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. RD

    lets see johns friend G Gordon liddy says he would like to put a bullet in tax payers head! Iran contra death squads in south America ! one more goggle PNAC john mccain new world order make sure your sitting down

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Sharon

    Ask John McCain about his top adivser for transition being a lobbyist for Sudam Hussien???? This adviser actually negotiated for Sudam with US. McCain is lying again. Honest McCain never existed it seems!!! I have had it with McCain, Palin and the Republicans for the hate, fear, racial mongering!! They are despicable!!

    They did it 200 and 2004, but third time I don't fall for their evil ways.

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Jody in St. Louis

    God! McCain just won't quit. He is drowning and will say anything at this point to change the voter's perception of Obama. What a SLIMEBALL!

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. lyn

    Darn it McSame Enough is Enough, why the hell are you not talking about how we can get this country back to where it was 8yrs ago. stop you desperate man it not working. Stop attacting Obama and give us some answer how we can get our America back.

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Larry

    John McCain was once an honorable man, a maverick who stood up to his own party. Then he wanted to be President so he went over to the dark (Karl Rove divisive, fear based politics) side. First, Rove destroyed Bush, now he's trying to destroy McCain. He won't be happy until he's destroyed America – which, of course, is the objective of the terrorists.

    So, John McCain now stands for, "I don't want terrorists to destroy America. Please leave that for me and Karl Rove."

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Margerie, PA

    Last minute, last chance, and last time we'll have to hear "my friends". It won't work. If they have an October surprise they've got two days to reveal it. Two days.

    After that it will be a November surprise and I guarantee you, the only November surprise will be the blue state juggernaut that will wipe the GOP out on November 4th.

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. rusell

    I geuss Obama can't talk to anyone that doesn't agree with the republican agenda , once again this is a pathetic attempt to bring divisivness among Americans .........this is why Mcain is losing this election because he concentrates on all the wrong things...............IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID..........................................

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Rob

    John, John...How dare you question the One Most Holy on High. Haven't you learned that by now it is blashemous to bring up Jesus'...I mean Barrack's friends. Besides, his supporters are so brainwashed by his bull that they wouldn't see the truth even if you smacked it into them with a truth stick.

    No, if the koolaid drinkers, the dead, and the homeless voting multiple times get their way, Barry will have fooled everyone. And unfortunately we won't have chance to do anything until it's too late.

    President Obama = America – 1776-2008

    All of us intelligent, true Americans can only hope and pray that next Tueday's gathering of a million freaks is the world's largest pity party.

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Landa

    Who really cares about this tape. You guys need to stop, it is not going to change anything. The majority of the people have already made of their mind who they are going to vote for. Putting this kind of stuff out there is not going to work, the only thing it does it make John McCain look foolish and desperate. It is too late for John McCain. The more negative stuff you put out there, the more people turn away from it.

    October 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Irony

    The McCain "camp pain" has only told us why we should not vote for Obama, not why we should vote for McCain. If your only argument is that "they" should be feared, why should we listen to you?

    Keating 5, Troopergate, Lies, 92% pro Bush Votes, Socialism in Alaska, 150,000 spending spree....

    Thanks, but, no thanks! I've voted already for Obama and I hope to do so again in 4 years.

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Dr Roy

    Hmmmm. I think I know why some media outlets are now shying away from Obama. Bad news doesn't sit still for very long.

    LA Times – Let us see the video (unedited) and then decide. If Obama is telling the truth, then the video will reveal that. If he is not, well ...

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. HFT in Texas

    Time is running out for all this stuff that McCain and others are bringing up – WHO CARES who Mr.Obama has met with. I don't. I just care about the future of this company and my family. By the way – I voted early!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Florida for Obama

    What about McCain's connection to Khalidi?

    How does war come about? by not understanding another country's point of view or being willing to talk and find common ground and enforcing your belief and point of view. How does peace come about? by talking to people you don't agree with or necessarily like but by trying to find common ground and understanding(does not mean agreeing with) their point of view. Sometimes it doesn't help to talk and war is inevitable, but isn't it comforting to know that we may have a president that is WILLING to at least talk first? I view that fact that Obama is open to speaking to all people very comforting. At least he will have a 'world view'......

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. samantha

    Reading this article absolutely disgusts me. It is perfectly acceptable to have a conversation with someone who disagrees with you politically. In fact I'm pretty sure that is how you begin to understand both sides of an issue. I'm also pretty sure they call that a healthy debate. As for him being Palestinian, WHO CARES?! It's a nationality, the same way Italian, and Israeli and Greek are for example. Why is it not ok to even talk to people of middle eastern beackground during the election? I don't understand it! I had many conversations with my neighbor who was Iranian. What does that say about me? NOTHING, but that I talk to my neighbors!!! Geez, if McCain thinks its wrong to talk to people with opposing view points and differing backgrounds he will amount to nothing should he become president. Vote for the guy who can have civil conversations with people of all backgrounds and ideologies. Vote for Barack Obama!

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. FL for OBAMA

    Thia is another point of hypocrisy from McCain with his own $448,873 grant to Khalidi. Enough of the nonsense!

    McCain is running an antiquated campaign in the communication age where information is quickly available. These dirty tricks worked in 2000 & '04. Not this time.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Independent Fred

    I think it's fair for americans to check affiliations but that means affiliations of both candidates..

    Carefull McCain you & Palin have some very questionable affiliations as well. With a mere week left this could get ugly real quick.

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. sheryl Preston

    Thank you CNN for being biased for Obama.

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. soccer mom

    McCain is praying that people are stupid. Palin works on dividing Americans. Now she is dividing the party. It is Palin's way or she turns on you. McCain knows that now.

    October 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. Independent-Minded American

    This is absolute nonsense!

    If these men are guilty of anything, why the hell are they not in jail?

    Quit this nonsense and retain whatever respect you have left, Mr. McCain...

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. MiMi

    McCain/Palin i don't know what is wrong with you give up that is it .i am sorry for you. we dont need anymore lies . why you dont talk about Economy or Healthcare.we need change.

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Palin is a Shameless Menace

    Cry wolf, John MCain. Or John Chicken McLittle. No one believes a word you say. And as for Elizabeth Dole, maybe she should take a trip to the Jefferson Memorial and read what is engraved on the second panel: "No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively."
    Shame on her. But I am not surprised at anything the dirty low-down Republicans do.

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Frank G

    What a deceitful, desparate, disappointing, unpatriotic by behavior politician.
    In case there is any confusion, I'm referring to McCain.

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. George

    Can't McCain talk about the real issues at all except about OBAMA? It is totally irritating!
    It seems he has nothing to offer but try to make Obama look bad.

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. nelson

    Another attempt by the mc same campaign to "do as I say not
    do as I do" b.s. This guy is pathetic and a loser as his past
    reflects and he has no morals either.. just look at his
    slime campaign wafl

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. LILY


    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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