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. Cleveland, OH

    Regardless of what the L.A. Times writes about maintaining a loyalty to an anonymous source, we all know that had McCain or Palin been in that video, it would have been 'leaked' by now!

    L.A. Times:
    213-237-5000

    LAT Readers' Rep:
    877-554-4000
    readers.rep@latimes.com

    Letters to the Editor:
    800-252-9141
    letters@latimes.com

    And Shaun, FL:
    Their social security (and yours too) is already in great jeopardy- since Johnson and a Democrat-controlled Congress made the funds an accessible part of the government spending pool, instead of keeping it in a private fund unavailable for government spending.

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Gene

    Its so sad to see this man whom I once admired sink to these depths. Does he have anything substantive to say about how he is going to lift up the US economy and its standing iin the world ?

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

    McCain has the nerve to ask what hi srelationship is he gave half a million to the same guy. I hope and pray that Larry King asks him abou this. What a joke McCain/Palin/Dole are I hope and pray after this election we see the break up of the hate mongering Repugs

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Arizona Dem

    Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any way to win MCcain playing card. What a loser!

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. gary

    Good Lord.... the more we know about Obama and his radical friends the more it scares the heck out of us. Lets pray this socialist never sees the steps of White House.

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Len in Washington

    This is simply getting out of control.

    John McCain has no shame or honor left.

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. SoCal

    "McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, the group gave grant money to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi."

    The McCain campaign doesn't have a message: just distractions.

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. dj

    McCain, the honorable "Maverick" is at it again and just keep digging himself deeper and deeper into defeat!!!!!! Oh we haven't seen anything yet........wait til after Obama's TV appearance tonight!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. KEVIN ONEIL WILLIAMS

    DOES SEN. MCCAIN HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO TALK ABOUT EVERY 2 OR THREE DAYS HE COMES UP WITH A NEW MYSTERY GUEST WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUES WHAT ABOUT OUR BORDERS WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY, WHAT ABOUT REBUILDING TRUST IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE POST BUSH, ERA ,ITS GONNA BE VERY HARD FOR MR. MCCAIN TO CONCEED THIS ELECTION ON WENSDAY MORNING! (stupid is as stupid does)

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

    Obama does nothing for America – he is worse than any other politician yet. All you Obama lovers will be eating your words soon after he gets in. I am glad I am not voting for him, at least when he fails to come across and makes things worse for all of us I can say "I did not vote for that guy"!! None of you seem to be listening to what people are trying to tell you about him. He is promising you free handouts so hey why not vote for him. He will break all his promises, and very quickly after he is in office. He will put us in the worst danger we have been in since 9/11 that is for certain. Its not about dems. and republicans people – its about who is a risk, downright dangersous person to have in office. Obama for sure. McCain – no matter what you think about him – knows how to keep this Country safe and will do what he says he would do during his campaign.

    GET READY TO EAT YOUR WORDS OF PRAISE OBAMA SUPPORTERS

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Helene

    Now WHO IS HELL is that guy Khalidi ? and WHO CARES ? Has McCain gone completely nuts ? How desperate can this poor guy be ? Is this the sequel of his Vietnam experience ?

    October 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Freida, NYC

    McCain is not lying about this, people please do your research.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Glenn; Bakersville, NC.

    Desperation truly knows no bounds. I have lost all faith in this man as a candidate and a sitting Senator. The best thing he could possibly do after this race is resign and write his memoirs. Remember, only 5 more days until the tyrannical reign of the present facist regeim is quelled by the people of this great country.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    So i should base my vote on fear? And not solutions to our economic crisis or the war in iraq? Get a grip McCain/Palin. Your advisors are right. if you keep talking about the economy you're going to lose.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. ulric

    I guess now we have to vet anyone we interact with social or professionally or else it will use against you in the future. please check the guys you are working with, the man that mow your lawn, the bank teller, the guys you sit with in the bus every morning to go to work. is mccain really serious about these claims, we need some substance from you and stop throwing mud it wont stick. is that all you got? shame on you mccain.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Im the taxman

    Let tax the churches that stick their noses into politics,we could makeup the deficit in 6 months.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Voted Early

    For some strange reason I am more SCARE of who Palin hangs around with then Obama ..... hhmmm

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. alvino

    Why is McCain attacking Obama with this when McCain has ties himself? What a idiot.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. JJ

    Ok so if McCain is making Obama own up to his relationship with this guy (which he already has), McCain needs to own up to his own relationship with the same guy. Can't have it both ways McCain. Either put up or SHUTUP!

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Frank in NC

    What is the deal with the University of Chicago? I mean, why in the @*&!! do they have characters like this cat and Ayers working as professors there? Do they parents who send hard-earned money there to pay tuition for their kids know what is going on here?

    Good grief.

    October 29, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    i dont know why people can tell people to vote before the republicans steal the votes... how can someone steal a vote?? VOTE MCCAIN/PALIN, do whats best for our country.

    October 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. heidi b

    RELEASE THE TAPE! RELEASE THE TAPE!!! RELEASE THE TAPE!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. McWitch Hunt Rides Again

    Old man not only shouting at clouds, but attempting to jump over them.

    Do not try to adjust your channel, it's just the GOP.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    John, you could link Obama to Osama Bin Laden himself, and it won't do as much damage as him linking you to George Bush!

    Check and Mate!

    October 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. McCrazy

    It's over, John. Just stop.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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