October 29th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain pushes Obama connection to Khalidi

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/mccain6.jpg caption=" 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. JimG

    ... And I hear Obama has – uh, give me a minute – eaten at the same restaurant as a killer! And had a college roommate whose stepsister dated a guy whose cousin was a neo-Nazi! And wears the same brand shirts as a child molester in California! C'mon, everyone, you've gotta believe it – I'm losing here!

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Al Ram

    If there are Desperate Housewives there is also what we call Desperate Old Politicians!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. KD NY, NY

    The LA Times wrote about a video received by a source that doesn't want the video out in public. Then why let the LA Times write about the video? Doesn't make much sense. I think the LA Times doesn't want to release it because they have backed Obama.

    Oh and for those getting their news from the Huffington Post, I would check elsewhere for the real truth.

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Indonnesia Observer

    So many lies from McBush.... I guess he's really falling in love with Obama.

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. MLD ND

    Stop the madness McCain.

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Bea

    McCain, can we talk about the guy in your campain who lobbied for Saddam Hussien while you are at it?

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. kate



    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. OptimisticTX

    Its not 11/4 yet?

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. JJ

    McCain is a idiot and so is his campaign. First McCain clean up your own house and stop worrying about Obama and his past friends. How about you and Sarah. You should be taking a good look at your runnig mate past and present.

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Yeah, and I suppose Obama is distantly related to Genghis Khan, Stalin, Ted Bundy, Boris Badenov, and Pontius Pilate too. RIDICULOUS! What more racist and patently absurd charges will this despicable McCain campaign come up with NEXT?

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. lhaj in Va.

    This is soo shameful.
    we are the midst of a serious economic crisis, two unfinished wars (totally forgotten by the media even though are brothers are sisters are still dying), disasterous foreign policies, and lack of respect for our constituition. Yet all Mccain want to talk about is Obama's two years ago activities.
    Shame on you CNN for publishing such materials and please for God sake lets talk about the serious problems that we current face.

    October 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Paula in the middle of the country

    And to think, I didn't believe McCain could get any lower. What a great disappointment, this McCain team is. Shame on you, John McCain.

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

    Lord John McCain, must you attempt demonize every one isn't like you. Of course the man would be pro palestine since he is from palestine. If you thought he was so bad then why would you give his organization money? i wouldnt hire the mccain campaign to help me win homecoming king.

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. T

    you people are going to regret Obama cant wait till you do

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. John. Austin, TX

    so is there any reason to actually vote FOR mccain and not just AGAINST obama? because, all i see is hate and prejudice oozing from palin's skinny ugly lips and mccains sagging neck rolls.

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


    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Doug R.

    McCain has become so pathetic and desperate he is throwing anything against the wall to see if it sticks. What about Palin's connection to the Alaskan Independence Party?? What about McCain's 90% vote with Bush record??
    The clock is ticking Mr. McCain...

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

    The BIG problem most have with Obama is no one knows really who or what he is. We do know about his ties to radical people and the fact he sat in the pews of an anti-American hate filled paster for over 20 years. Think about what his wife said – “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country” ....... now that will make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. freddie

    Just when I thought McCain could not sink any lower...does he think Americans and especially Floridians are STUPID? Disgusting.

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |


    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Gambino

    John McCain is a batsard!

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Bring It

    Seems like the only weapon John had against Barack, was the fact that he was running against a black man. When he realized it didn't matter to most Americans and that they were more interested in Barack's brain than his color, John was left holding an empty bag of tricks.

    To John McCain: The next time you think you're smarter than America, bring your A game. Next.

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. AC 360

    This a very shameful act. McCain is a lunatic. Just a confused person. I guess his age is tells much on how he does things. We can't afford this type behaviour.

    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Peter (CA)

    Rob-your comments show you are as clueless as the whole McCain team and all of the foaming at the mouth right wingers.

    No ideas? No plans? Sure, just mock the other side. Lie, distort, and make stuff up.


    October 29, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. McHoover Would Destroy What's Left of America

    As expected McSleeze would hit a new low in proportion to his polling numbers.

    October 29, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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