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. dan

    Mcsame, Mclame, Mclie, Mcbush can't turnout and comeback anymore... too late too loose.....

    October 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. This Jew is voting for Obama


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

    BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID. OOOOOOOOhhhh... AAAAAaaahhh... wait, isn't Halloween Friday? Anyone sick of scare tactics? Grow some cajones McCain. Show some backbone. Stop pedaling fear.

    October 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. BTGH, Streamwood, IL

    Someone should tell the McCain staff, Sarah Pailin and the leaders of the RNC that fear and misdirection don't work in 2008.

    This is a non-issue.

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

    To all those who claim that Obama is a socialist because his tax plan smacks of redistribution, here is a fact for you:

    – not a single penny of the income taxes Americans pay goes to fund people on welfare. the taxes that we pay go to pay for our NATIONAL DEBT (which btw has grown threefold under Bush). Do your research on this point, don't just trust me. Search the the "Grace Report" and find out how taxes are allocated and distributed.

    October 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Bama4Obama

    Blah, blah, blah-here we go again!


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

    I cant take it anymore. I dont care one bit who Obama had dinner with or sat on a board with. McCain and Palin have run the most evil divisive campaign in US history. God help us if the uneducated fall for their lies and they get in.

    Go Obama/Biden '08

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

    see another not accepted this blog is bias and only will except praise for Obama

    October 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. MD, TX

    How unfortunate for America that there is a real possibility that a candidate that has not been even remotely questioned by the media has somehow convinced people to vote for him even though the majority of his supporters cannot say the reason for their support (except for "he is not Bush). The American voter is dumbing down with every election cycle and this one shows that we have reached a new low.

    Obama supporters have demonstrated a level of intolerance not seen anywhere outside of Venezuela. Their gullibility is simply breathtaking.

    October 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. informed voter

    These people are all over the map. Everyday they throw a new slimeball at Obama hoping this one will stick. They have no coherent strategy. No policies of their own. No positive input on the economy/ healthcare/ Iraq. Disgusting. I have lost all the respect I ever had for McCain. Can't believe I actually thought he was a viable option. Hope they lose badly.

    October 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Lee Giacalone

    I have been bracing myself against voicing my opinion for so long but there is just too much ignorance out there that I have to put my two cents in. Get educated people. Get enough information on a topic before you make your YouTube and post your comments and try to persuade another person to vote for your candidate. There's nothing worse than the persuasion of someone who is ignorant and uninformed on the very subject that they're trying to promote. Remember, knowledge is power. When you have the knowledge then you can effectively make the change.

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

    Another perfect example of the media covering for Obama.

    If the tape isn't damaging to Obama why not release it?

    They know if people saw it, it would change the mindsof enough voters.

    McCain/Palin 08


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

    Does McCain have any vision and plans to address the issues or is he trying to to get elected only by talking about his oponent?

    October 29, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. "June-the-military-wife"

    Isn't it sad to watch a man destroy himself? If left to run the White House, I'm sure he'd destroy that, and our country too.

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


    Were talking here about McCain and the republicans. It should be abundantly clear by now that they have absolutely no use for others sides of issues.

    We are witnessing desperation at its highes.

    McCain is proving that H simply does not deserve to sit in the Oval Office. His word,a and increasingly, his name is MUD

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. baracuda

    Can someone tell McCain that George Bush, Collin Powell and Condi Rice have been meeting with Mohamed Abbas the P.L.O president for years. He is our friend now. If McCain becomes president he will have to meet with the P.L.O president. We all know McCain is scared to death of losing an election to "That One" but this is pathetic. The P.L.O have been our friends for a long time now. May be McCain doesn't know the difference between P.L.O and Hamas. What a freaking nasty loser. Please go away soon.

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    So...McCain has more connections to this guy than Obama, and wants to push the story?

    No wonder he's losing.

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Kay1111

    Uh, let me see....stock market is erratic...still about the economy...time to find a Muslim Obama has talked to so we can tie him to radical Islam and scare the people into voting for me. "John, is that all you've got???" "Yeah, these are desperate times my friend."
    What a jerk! I wouldn't trust this man to tie my shoes, never mind run a country! It's over McCain/Palin...you can go home now!!
    Obama/Biden 08!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Mike G

    To think the day would come when people would try to judge you based on the actions of co-workers!! When will this thing be over again?

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Canadian POV

    Oh what a shame. Obama may actually be the one to foster peace in the Middle East – you won't ever get it without the Palestinian issue being resolved. McCain, well he just wants to bomb away the problems of the world. With all due respect to his POW experience, he was a failure during his military career and he sang like a canary to save his own butt while costing the lives of his brethren.

    It boggles the mind that people are still falling for the Rovian tactics that got them the worst president and vice-president in history and may give them an even worse team now. CNN calls them the low-noformed voter – call it what it is – widespread ingorance. No wonder McCain was for aboloshing the department of education – he wouldn't want thinkers to have a say in his quest for power.

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Could it get any worse

    The next McCain ad will be something like "Obama hates babies, spits on the elderly and kicks dogs whenever he gets the chance. He's not right for America."

    When will it all end? Oh yeah, next Tuesday in a landslide!!!

    Obama / Biden '08 & '12.

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. georgia for Obama

    Pathetic ! McSameNoShame has no end to his insults to the intelligence of the american majority who are obviously smarter than him because his divisive smoke screens are not bought by them.

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Janet Fuller

    Very tired of getting non stop telephone calls from the McCain campaign that are nothing but pure lies!!!! Just now, the latest is that McCain wants you to know that Obama is a convicted felon. That is an unadulterated lie. It has been almost 2 solid weeks of 8 to 10 calls a day on their "robo calling" with no place to tell them to stop!!!!!!! We voted last week so all their efforts are just making us more angry and determined to help the opposite party with financial donations!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. crownsy


    October 29, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. David Simmons

    I am so sick and tired of these smug Christians. I, for one, am proud to declare that I am not a Christian and I reject Christian values of hatred, manipulation and intimidation. American values are not Christian values – American values are about freedom!

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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