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. pat

    Pretty much accurate...Democrats are so politically correct it isn't polite to talk about God, it is not okay to pray to God yet all their entitlement programs allow freedom to other religions other than Christianity. All the political correctness and don't offend anyone–well, I'm going to offend you Democratic party. Because if something is wrong I'm going to call it wrong; if it is right it will be called right. There are no shades of gray. Liberalism in America is killing the values and morals of this country; it is a me-society and what can I get out of it. Christians have been labeled needlessly. The nation was founded on Christian principles and thrived with a hearty work ethic and that work ethic is hard to come by now and all the Christians unfortunately aren't speaking up...well, it's discrimination...the Ten Commandments are guidelines for life; prayer is important; and God is in control...not the Democrats.

    October 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Obama Mama Napa, Califronia

    I wish he had a mute button...

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

    I used to hear this type of allegations thrown around by the conservative fundamentalists in IRANIAN "elections" when I lived in Iran. Looks like the methods are common everywhere !

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Kay1111

    McCain's tactics are dispicable! McCain spoke to a Nazi; maybe he is a Nazi? I mean, c'mon, this is such low ball crap! I had respect for John McCain at one time; but he has lost that now. I find him and Palin are the lowest of the lowest when it comes to twisting and making stuff up. They will SAY ANYTHING to win whether it is true or not. They have lost themselves in this election and quite frankly, how could we ever trust them to be truthful with us about anything? I for one, cannot.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08 and Beyond!

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Bill in Ct.

    Does Mccain mention that he gave $500,000 to this man and group. Obama may have been at this gathering but who gave him money. Just another talking point for Faux News and all the pundits on tv. Lets see how many of these pundits on main stream media will tell the american people this part.

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Go Bama

    Yeah we must all be suckers for Obama....yeah right

    Who do I want in the whitehouse? The guy who is negative and spreads hate or........................


    I'll take Obama thank you.

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

    Oh Please, McCain!!! Spare me. Haven't you got anything better to talk about?

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    more to the point is McCain's ties to Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice, Palin, Gonzales, etc..... these lunatics are more dangerous than any fringe academic.....

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. women 4 Obama

    Acording to the New York Times October 29, 2008,

    "...Mr. McCain has his own connection to Mr. Khalidi. According to tax records cited by Mr. Obama’s campaign, a foreign policy organization that Mr. McCain chairs, the International Republican Institute, gave more than $850,000 in 1998 and 1999 to a group in part founded by Mr. Khalidi, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies".


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

    This is a fairly desperate reach...

    I mean, this guy "is alleged to have ties with the PLO". Ok. Alleged. Not proven, in fact he denies it. I'm going to take a stab and say that if there was reasonable reason to believe these accusations were true, he wouldn't be a professor at Columbia University.

    I mean, we're walking a real thin line here. Kind of reminds me of the Salem Witch Hunts, or the McCarthy days, where you could get into huge trouble just because someone said you might know someone who might possibly be a communist. Geezus people! Scary stuff! I'm fairly certain I know someone who's got a criminal record or disagrees with the policy of america, do you? Do you really want to go this route?

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Roc From CT

    This is typical Republican crap.. McCain is so pathetic right now ,it aint even funny no more. This kinda crap will keep them out of the oval office for a long time. and many more offices as well. this do anything, say anything crap is all he has left in his last week of campaigning. But none will do im any good.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Staunton, VA

    Let's also have the press "do its job" and talk about Palin's claim to love America (or unidentified parts of it, at least) while praising the work of people who were trying to secede from it.

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

    Bingo, what about McCain giving this guy hundreds of thousands of dollars in Grant Money?

    Lets see who's famous now.

    October 29, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. This Canadian Loves Obama

    It's sad that his campaign has become a joke. He just does not get it. His age and his old school politics are exposing all of his shortcomings and the fact that he is not fit to be the leader of the free world. He is not in touch with the needs and wants of the American people. Otherwise why would he be pushing this now?

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. 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 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Malai

    I am voting for the first time this November. I got my American citizenship a couple years ago. It's really sad to see the 2008 American political process in action. Before I came to America my parents told me that there are lots of racists here and also bigots and they also said that there are also lots of decent people in this country. I think that this presidential election has brought out the best and the worst in us. I can't believe that the two men running for the presidency are both senators. I have to say that in my estimation Senator McCain & Republicans have launched the most personal attacks. This country will be divided no matter who wins. It's amazing what a party would do to remain in power. The only difference with this insane propaganda is that citizens get to vote. I have lived under a tyrannical government in Africa but the citizens were taken care of. The world is watching the "pure brand" - American Democracy in action. It's so sad!

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. al/Alabama

    Why does McCain insist on trying stir up untrue tales instead of addressing the real concerns of the American people? I sure don't want him answering the phone at 3am. Unreliable and eratic does not make for a good president.

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. A Boston

    It's pathetic how desperate this dude is getting. He's deteriorating at rapid rates. What happened to the maverick? I've lost all respect.


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

    Also, regarding the Caffery File on why Bush is not campaigning for McCain. Remember Clinton very little campaigning for Gore, and Reagan did very little campaigning for the first Bush.

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Brian

    I want to hear more about this Neo Nazi group McCain just admitted to palling around with!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. T

    when are you people gonna wake up and smell the koran????

    McCain/Palin 08

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. A Latte Lover, Seattle, WA

    WOW, all I can say is the republican party reeks of DESPERATION...Brilliant move Senator McCain. Even though I have voted by Absentee Ballot already for Obama/Biden, I can hardly wait for November 5th. I am so tired of the smears and lies.

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Here we go again. Instead of spending the last of his money and time trying to make the american people understand his policies and what he really plans to do for americans and how to get there he will spend it slandering Barack Obama. That has been his message this whole time. I don't have any answers on how to handle your problems so let me destroy the only candidate that can help you. And in order to accomplish this let me pick this emotinally screwed up, spiritually misguided Gov. of Alaska to help me out. Good Luck John "Boy".

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. conny

    This is a straight up shame.....jealousy, mad man max.

    October 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Wally

    TyWebb: You are hilarious!

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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