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. vahe

    is this something new???? mccain comes out with random names out of nowhere..... mccain your done buddy just quit

    October 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. KLEE

    Remember this simple math folks: POSITIVE = WINNER & NEGATIVE = LOSER (period)

    October 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Michelle, PA

    Obama is a terrorist....Democrats are Godless...Obama is a Communist....Democrats are Anti-American....Obama is a Socialist....Obama supporters are Brainwashed....Obama is a Murderer....Democrats are Evil....There is a "Real America" and a "Fake America"....I Know I Am But What Are You?....Cootie Shot....Nah Nah Nah Boo Boo....Waaaaah!

    SSDD, My friends. Had enough of the kindergarten nostalgia yet? VOTE FOR THE GROWNUPS! Obama/Biden/Straight Dem Ticket. My first straight ticket EVER!

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. JAY N.H.

    McCain gave money to a research facility started by this guy. Come off it Sir do you really think the american people are buing this crap? This is nothing more than a 21st century witch hunt.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Gobama!

    Grasp at any straw you can.

    The McCain Palin ticket has shown itself to be liars, untrustworthy, and without a plan for our futures. We have had enough of your negativity and fearmongering!

    Under McCain we will all be POWS – Prisoners Of Washington!

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. paul (reformed republican)

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

    – just says it all, doesn't it???

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. MLH

    You have ties to the same person – you are just counting on the fact that Senator Obama's campaign is spending more time on substance, giving you time to smear. Shame on you, Senator McCain, shame on you.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Preco, NY

    McCain, I have some advice for you.
    Go find out who Obama's baber, shoe polisher, manicurist, dentist, family doctor, em em...what else, then come make up whatever connections your sick mind might conjure up.
    This election year, this defining moment in history, John McCain, your kind of politics has no place!!!
    I know you just don't get it!!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Greg in Mpls

    You tried this once McCain...how about you tell us why you should be president instead of trying to link Obama to people who won't be part of his administration?

    Maybe you've got nothing good to say about yourself that's true either?

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. John

    Oh my God ! Talk about Desperation. Palin has a witch Doctor and McCain is on a witch hunt. McCain was Chairman of an Organization that funded Khalidi and now he dares critisize Obama for teaching at the same University ?! Thats not Mavericky, just pathetic.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Brad

    McCain has lost all respect I once had for him.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Real Talk

    CNN please do a article on John McCain and G Gordon Liddy. He admits to being a close friend of his. NO BIAS NO BULL. That's becoming false advertisement. I used to love cnn with the exception of closet republicans Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck. Why are they scared to admit what they are, which is not independents.

    These posts get moderated in a very biased way now days.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Leah

    Democrats have not yet seen the depths to which McCain will go to. In light of his statement of running a campaign that he is 'proud' of, these statements are truly another attempt to whip his zombies into a frenzy. Ah yes, I can already hear the crowd remarks now – kill him, terrorist and the like. This man went from being a war hero to a national disgrace.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. David Newport, OR

    Keep opening your mouth John...Show the people of America how desperate you really are.

    October 29, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    McCain is really "reaching" for anything. Why doesn't McCain ask the people at Columbia University why they hired him to teach there first instead? He doesn't seem interested in why a Palestinian is teaching here in the US.

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. ALD

    Talking about the actual issues hasn't worked for him, so apparently the mud slinging will continue through Tuesday. I'm so tired of this!

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. JW

    tit 4 tat-

    I think we can all agree, that if the shoes were reversed, that it would be the same game. This story has already been published, April, and yet is being treated as a smoking gun, by Palin/McCain.

    The divisions with in our own country at this point, becuase of playing with these dangerous sterotypes, is precisely what our extremist friends want. Every time that you encourage, by repetition, the bold lies and untruth's of this nature, you then become one!

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    I e-mailed this question to Wolf Blitzer for McCain and to Larry King last night for the same: Sen. Obama, why, after all these months of campaigning are you so reluctant to tell us YOUR plan, YOUR plan, YOUR plan? Could it be that you have none, and thus you forever resort to tearing down Senator Obama. I voted for Obama already, I KNOW what he would do for our country; he has spelled it out in a detailed plan. All you say is you "will do this or that" but then revert to merely yipping about Sen. Obama. Smoke and mirrors to hide what you don't got, right John?

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Bob Indianapolis IN

    Keep stirring the hate, Gramps! The Blue Tsunami is about to wipe your Greedy Old Party off the face of the earth!

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Bob in USC, PA.

    Why is it that McCain spends all of his time attacking Obama, and does not talk about his own ideas? Oh, that's right. McCain has no new ideas.

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. David

    Voldemort for Republicans 2008

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. SENATUS POPOLUSQUE ROMANUS

    POOR McCLOWN!! He is really desperate 🙂

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Baby love

    just tell macain to shut up and focus on important issues that matters.

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. SOCIALISTS!

    For all the idiots who are falling for this "socialism" crap..

    Obama's plan is to redistribute the DEBT burden, not wealth. Money is not going to anyone, it goes to paying off the national debt created by Bush!

    McCain's plan gives a REWARD to those who created this economic disaster!

    Don't forget Palin spread the oil and gas revenues to the citizens – isnt that socialism?

    WAKE UP!

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. cindy wilson

    it's time john mccain drops this and concentrates on what's wrong with this country he claims to love. everyone i talk to seems to be of the same mind, that mccain is only interested in being president(or maybe cindy wants to be first lady that badly), he cares nothing about the greater good and he is certainly no hero in my mind anymore

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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