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. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    McCain is so pathetic. Since he has no plans for the country other than the failed Bush policies, all he offers is "fear and smear"....

    McCain seldom says what he would do ... basing his whole campaign on people from the past who may or may not have met Obama.

    Frankly speaking, McCain's friend Phil Grahamm, the former king of deregulation of Wall Street (and we all saw how well that worked) – who called us all whiners and said the recession is just mental ...

    that pal of McCain scares me more than anyone else! McCain wants him as the Secretary of the Treasury!

    Fear and smear don't work any more ... been there, done that and it almost destroyed our nation.

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Obama/Biden 08!

    Desperation at its best! How much longer until we vote the republicans out of office??

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    This is another ridiculous, not to mention slanderous, attempt by McCain to foster FEAR in the electorate. Hasn't he gotten the message, yet? It is not working. We refuse to be afraid and to vote based on fear. For those you are willing to vote based on their fear – go ahead, it shows you as spineless, uneducated, morons.

    Rashid Khalidi is a respected Palestinian scholar. He is an AMERICAN, born in America. Of course he has different views on the issues involving Israel, his people and the people of Israel have been fighting over land for the last 70 years or so. This doesn't make him an evil person any more than the madness of the middle east makes Israelites evil. Of course Sen. Obama would attend a dinner party when a fellow faculty member leaves for another job. Having worked at a University for many years, I attended many of these same parties. Did I agree with everyone's politics? Of course not. Get a grip McCain and muzzle Palin.

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. j. williams

    obamanuts...it wasn't a discussion but a party for the PLO spokesman khalidi and hosted by barack and someone he only knew when he was 8 years old...AYERS and Doran....show me your friends and i'll tell you your future....God help America...

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Fatal Blow

    Question

    If Reagan was able to call the Terrorist South African government "strategic allies"

    Does that mean Reagan was palling around with terrorists?

    I guess silly season is still on

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. jmv

    WHO CARES!!!!! MYSELF AND MY FAMILY HAVE ALL VOTED FOR OBAMA IN EARLY VOTING. THAT GIVES OBAMA AT LEAST TWENTY VOTES AND AT LEAST 25% OF THE COUNTRY HAS ALREADY VOTED. SO, WHO CARES!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Amy

    McCain seems to be so very desperate...just like Sen Dole in North Carolina with that ridiculous ad about her opponent!

    October 29, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Alabama Voter

    The Republican party has become very desperate. They will say anything to sway voters. They need to stop all of this nonsense before they ruin the party completely. They try to paint Obama as a bad person but it backfires on them because they gave this man money.

    October 29, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Diing

    If McCain does not win the Whitehouse, it will be in part due to conservative radio talk show hosts. For the message, McCain campaign depends on the conservative talk shows who engage their mouths instead of their brains.

    This leads to inconsistency and incoherency as message changes from week to another. My friend, the lack of message discipline is very telling, but hilarious. When the finger pointing begins in few days time, please do not forget to blame the conservative radio talk show hosts for driving McCain-Palin into the sideline. Who cares what was said in someone farewell party? Why would anyone expect an invited guest to be the master of ceremony? Seriously, conservative radio hosts are clueless. By the way, where is the whitey tape?

    October 29, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Karma

    And thus to all tyrants, or in John's case–sleazy slimebuckets who leave their wife and kids to have an affair with a skanky joe like Cindy Lou.

    And I'm done....

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Pat in Atlanta

    This fiscal conservative used to be a Republican, but I cannot imagine ever again voting for a representative of this party that spews such nonsense and hate. I used to respect John McCain. I used to respect Elizabeth Dole – check out her "Godless" ad. Now I am ashamed for them and sad about what they have become.

    October 29, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Ghost

    These 2 have nothing to run on so they just spread fears and smears. I have not heard what they plan to do for America.

    Get out and vote on the 4th and send these 2 packing!

    October 29, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. UFO

    How about we start talking about Palin's connection to a party that wants to separate Alaska from USA?

    October 29, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Another O and Joe supporter

    THIS IS SINFUL. MCCAIN AND HIS PEOPLE SHOULD GO STRAIGHT TO **** FOR BEING SO EVIL AND SUCH DECEITFUL LIARS., WITH MCCAIN AND PALIN LEADING THEM. THESE REPUGS WILL DO ANYTHING STEAL, LIE, SLANDER UNDER THE BANNER OF CHRISITAN FAITH. I HOPE THAT THEY GO AWAY. THEY SHOULD TRY TO DO SOMETHING POSITIVE AND GOOD LIKE FIX WHATEVER WENT WRONG WITH THEIR PARTY. IT'S GOTTEN COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL AND LOST. FIRST THING TO DO IS TO GET RID OF THE CONSERVATIVE RIGHT WING CHRISTIAN COALITION, EVER SINCE THEY BENT THE EAR OF THE GOP, THEY HAVE RUINED IT. TAKEN THEIR PARTY LEADERS TO BECOME LIARS, SLANDERS, THIEVES, FEAR MONGALS, AND GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT ELSE.
    AND THANK GOODNESS AMERICANS ARE SEEING THESE BEINGS FOR WHO AND WHAT THEY ARE.

    October 29, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Shawn_T

    Two can play this game. Someone should investigate McCain's ties to that moron Sarah Palin. Oh, wait...

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

    Six more big sleeps before this old fool goes to fix toilets with Joe the Plumber. He's got nothing but smears

    October 29, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Senator McCain, you first; tell us about the Keating 5!

    October 29, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Fred Riek

    Since apparently we want to know all about relationships of the past, I would like to know about McCain's relationship with his current wife while he was still married to his first wife. By McCain stating he takes full responsibility for his marriage failing, it seems that no one has gone into his infidelity and repudiation of his sacred marriage vows. He raises the question of trust re Obama, but clearly he has significant trust issues of hisa own that no one is talking about.

    October 29, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. DJ VA

    CNN why dont you do a story headline that McCain help fund this guy's foundation. This is just sick that McCain keeps doing this. I want to hear how he plans to differ himself from Bush on Economic Issues, how he is going to bring education back to this country, how he plans getting us laid off workers like myself back to work. Talk about the issues, thats what gets you elected. Go Obama!

    October 29, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. willy

    hey, mccain spent what ,5years in vietnam , is he now a communist? that is the same as all the crazy accusations he throws at Obama please give it up. the PEOPLE will vote for OBAMA that is a sure thing..................

    October 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Patricia from Las Vegas

    are all college professors former criminals? dang from this garbage from McCain, you would think so. Heaven forbid we give our universities any funding, you might be secretly giving money to a "bad guy." Just when you think the crapola out of the Republican party can't be topped, good old senile John McCain comes up with another absurd charge. Too bad there are so many stupid folks out there that will actually think this matters.

    October 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Bill,ca

    New Polls in Arizona: Mcain 46 – Obama 44

    So much for the McCain and Palin smear campaighn.

    Arizona will be blue. Eat that old McShame.

    Good job Arizona, keep it up and show them.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Chris

    The right is desperate. They are pulling out all the stops. If this was such an issue why wait til one week before the election to mention? Desperation will make people stoop to new lows. I actually used to admire John McCain because we are both veterans now I think he has lost his mind.

    October 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. The Whole Truth

    In that same article it also talks about a Chicago pro-Israel community group called cityPAC. He networked with BOTH! That clearly shows his interest and desire to understand all sides!

    No surprise McCain/Palin distorting the truth...again...

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

    What is wrong with you republicans????? Why can't you tell the people what we want to hear????? Why are you still playing on the stupidity of people???? Don't worry they are the ones that are voting for you. Those of us who can read and think for ourselves know better. Everytime you come up with something negative I realize that Barrack Obama message is so much more positive. Give it up, John McCain. You are getting sadder & sadder everyday.

    October 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41