October 29th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
11 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. Corey, Maryland

    To bad you have the same connection Mr. McSame, you might want to watch yourself. You gave a lot of money to this guy.

    Obama Biden 2008

    October 29, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Ayaya

    Bush isn't campaigning but has already voted for McCain. The reason why McCain wants to deceive Americans with an idea that he is different from Bush is because he thinks that voters are out-of-touch like him. He is just another old joke made in Republican party. If McCain were a voter will he vote to re-elect another Republican after this Bush-McCain administrative blunder? If McCain were true maverick, he should have bolted out of the Republican party and run as Independent. Sarah Palin and Republicans call Obama a redistributor but they forget that Palin herself has been bragging that she gets oil revenue from companies in Alaska and redistribute it to Alaskans. McCain voted for the 750 Billion bail-out and is asking for more for his wall street friends. McCain is a complete joke; he needs to simply retire. Palin's policy statement today was a nightmare and shameful to stick to the image of this great country. Why in the world did McCain pick an ignoramus who transferred credits from several colleges to manage obtain a Journalism degree. McCain is full of poor judgment on Iraq war, our financial turmoil, healthcare, education, energy, foreign policy, etc. McCain who cannot run an effective campaign cannot run America and the world. He just lacks the right judgment to do the job.
    AC

    October 29, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Mccain/Palin are liars!

    Mccain is pathetic, what a dispicable man, he's lost all respect by more than half of America, I hope he's happy, the fear mongering sleezy republican just like the rest of em, this is what he fought for, when he went to vietnam, this is the political system he fought for, the system of fear? This is pathetic...

    October 29, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. laurie

    I think it's time for "Joe the plumber" to flush the toilet so all the BS goes into the sewer where it belongs.

    October 29, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Jimmy D.

    It looks more and more like McCain's definition of "reaching across the aisle" doesn't include talking to people he disagrees with.

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. KD NY, NY

    Rob-"true Americans"....isn't that the same as Palin's "pro americans"?

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Bruno

    What would Llewellyn "Tommy" Thompson Jr. say about this?

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. SoCal

    When you don't have a message you just try to make something up.

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Ron

    McCain: stop insulting OUR intelligence!

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. What?

    "No, if the koolaid drinkers, the dead, and the homeless voting multiple times get their way, Barry will have fooled everyone. And unfortunately we won't have chance to do anything until it's too late.

    President Obama = America – 1776-2008

    All of us intelligent, true Americans can only hope and pray that next Tueday's gathering of a million freaks is the world's largest pity party."

    What is intelligent about being a senseless bigot? Hate drivel isn't working for anyone in the GOP, and the intelligence shown in spouting it here and expecting different results summarizes why you will lose come November 4th.

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

    Last minute dirty tricks? Why does this not surprise me? This is important, why? Why doesn't the GOP answer questions about Palin's connection to AIP?

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    my question is how was he able to bring this accusation up without somehow adding how it affects "Joe the Plumber"...hold on folks this ride just gets more fun as we go along.

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. trig hussein

    Who is the Chinese business man who recently gave over $75K to McCain?? Why are white supremist groups raising funds for Palin??

    I mean... just saying....

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. McCNN

    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.

    McCain is an idiot

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. vic nashville,Tn

    Some time Obama really scared voters

    October 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Independent in AZ

    John- get over it!! You have LOST!! We are sick of the lies, smears and negativity coming from your campaign!!

    Get out and VOTE!!!!!!! I already did!

    Obama/Biden '08 & '12!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    So even after the whole Ayers blow up mcCant want to go down this road again. His very on transistion adviser use to lobby for Suddam Hussein, mccant is proud of knowing g. gordon Liddy and his VP choice pals around with Secesstionist

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

    Ok....Rev. Wright, Ayers, Acorn, Rezko, and now Khalid. .. .nahhh, I don't see a pattern.

    October 29, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Joe The McCarthy

    McCain continues with nasty robo-calls, linking Obama with Resko.
    McCain is appealing to worst of America and that is why skinheads, nazis, immigrant bashers, fascists and people like me who hate all minorities are supporting McNasty and his henchmen to continue Bush's policies for another 4 years.

    October 29, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Sly in Seattle

    John McCain.. you are a horrible horrible person

    October 29, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Get Real

    Barack Obama displays more 'Christ Like" behavior then McCain or Palin even know how,

    October 29, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. djordje

    Simply amazing! Instead of bickering, let us divide this country into 2 regions: the socialist states of America and a conservative federation. Then everyone can shut the hell up and live wherever they're happiest, without imposing their twisted beliefs on everyone else.

    If these socialist dopes want to wait in line for a roll of toilet paper and a brick of cheese...........have at it. I'll stick with the American Dream.

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. SoCal

    People are fed up!

    McCain it is time you go back to Arizona and do some rallies there: the latest polls show you may end up loosing in your own home state.

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. John

    I am so disappointed to see this Man (McCain) stoop to such levels as to question the very freedom we have to disagree with people and still be able to work with and know them with out being implied as un-American. I see hints of racism in both McCain and Palin.

    They are in my opinion displaying “Jim Crowish” behavior and they both disgust me to the depths of my soul.

    I already voted for Obama

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Obama/Biden08inJesus'Name

    John McCain forgot to mention the $400,000 plus that his board gave to Khalidi. What is this? Attack on Chicago professors? Sen. Obama isn't in the human resources department at the University of Chicago!

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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