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. Empty suit, empty promises

    Again, the media can't just report he whole story here, Michelle Obama went to this guys daughters wedding, the four of THEM ARE VERY FRIENDLY obviously as Barack talks about dinner discussions that happened again and again and he was TOASTING THIS GUY as a great man.

    During this lovely DINNER, they bashed Jews or can you people NOT read?

    Just A CONVERSATION or two OBAMB?, you and your wife and they are BEST BUDS and have been for years and that is why you were TOASTING HIM.

    McCain HAS NEVER MET THIS CLOWN, NEVER and IF it is true that his group gave another group money, lets check that out, but WE KNOW THIS PART OF OBAMBI is TRUE. .

    A little different bots than what you are posting, but then again Obambi and the truth don't see eye to eye.

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Kingslough

    I think rethugs led by his highness the diva and McCain have either gone crazy or they feel too self-righteous everyone is ungodly or a fake.

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Gene

    Once again.. trying to scare people. Again.. Obama attends an education event with a professor who works at the same school.. and that automatically qualifies him as a supporter of the enemy.

    Why don't we put up the videos of Bush, his dad, and his cabinet practically making out with the heads of Saudi Arabia?

    And.. you never know.. maybe someone who knows how to talk to the enemy instead of bombing them first, then paying all our tax dollars to rebuild everything we've destroyed, and then ask questions.. may just be good for our country.

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Carson - Austin Texas

    REPUBLICANS are losing and they are desperate!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. SoCal

    Fox News has been rumouring about this Khalidi connection for the last couple of days. And here's McCain repeating the same story

    Before this, it was the Obama 2001 radio interview: Fox News making some noise about it for a few days, until McCain mentioned the case in a couple of McCain speeches.

    This tells you a lot about the lack of message, ideas and tactics in the McCain campaign. They are just repeating Fox News editorial talking points.

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Nsikan, MD

    Whoa. This is dangerous. We are demonizing so many groups in this election cycle. So, I can't have a muslim for a friend, I can't work with them. Its scary what we are inviting into our political process. Its a sad day in America and its offensive.

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Zen

    So at this man's "going away" event from the University of Chicago, they all got up on the mic and bashed Israel....(sighing).

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. McCain: liar, cheater, adulter

    Dr. Roy

    You r a so called PHD holder, do you not know how to research this information on the Web

    Opppsss...I forgot...Republicans/McCain Supporters are brainless, do not know how to read and educate themselves. All they do is listen to lies...

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Scott NYC Independent

    JOHN McCAIN said in his book:
    "I didn't decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I'd had the ambition for a long time."

    McCain attacks Obama for a connection to a Palestinian activist that McCains work helped fund; this is McCain's typical style. I expect CNN to do the full story.

    Typical McCain attempt to go negative on your opponent for something that you have already done to a larger degree.

    October 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Dionne



    October 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Spencer/VIRGINIA

    The more negative rhetoric from dumb and dumber is just music to my ears. Thanks for winning this election for us John.


    October 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Justin in CA

    when in doubt, try to scare the jews

    October 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Liberated!


    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Robbin

    nothing but scare tactics because McCain/Palin has no game plan. I've already voted for Obama

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 !!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Tom the Psychiatrist

    John, Say it isn't so!

    Good Lord man, is there no end to your madness?

    I nice vacation followed by extensive rehab and you will forget this bad Obama man that turned the country blue.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. KM in OHIO

    McCain is a desperate evil horrible lying man.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Women for Obama/Biden

    Obama's ties to Khadili
    Obama's ties to Ayers
    Obama's ties to JFK......

    Which of the above tell us what McCain will do about the economy? Answer :NONE

    McCain's ties to Keating 5
    McCain's ties to New world order
    McCain's ties to radical black people killers
    Mccain's ties to Sudanese extremist (genocide in Dafur)
    Mccain's ties to President Bush policies

    Which of the above tell us what McCain will do about the economy?
    President Bush

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Emily

    What other devisive slurs can thest two loosers come up with. John, your house isn't clean. Cindy was a drug addict, you were involved with the Keating 5, Palin is quilty of abuse of power and what about the
    Alaskan Separatist Party her pathetic husband belongs to. GIve it up
    already, you are really pathetic.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. hometowndemocrat


    You should be ashamed of yourself for naming Jesus in such a flippant, cavalier manner. Believe it or not there are Democrats that are Christians as well as REAL Americans!

    We do not believe that Obama is omniscient....that is something that the right wing has fabricated. Perhaps because you are all so frightened that someone is going to come along that knocks you guys off your self-righteous high throne.

    I am fed up with the Republicans thinking they have the market on Christianity! Do you guys ever get tired of being so perfect all of the time!! The rest of us certainly are tired of it!

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Brian

    So let me get this straight, Barack Obama is so powerful that he can bring down the United States of America? He alone can upset the balance of power in American politics, suppressing checks and balances? Wow, he is better than I thought.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Tyran

    WE NEED TO STOP DEMONIZING ARAB-AMERICANS FOR POLITICAL GAIN!!! You don't have to hate Palestinian to love Israel. This guy is obviously a moderate who is Pro-palestine. HE'S NOT A RADICAL AND/OR TERRORISTS!!! Most people support a two-state solution to the Middle east conflict, it is not a "radical" viewpoint to show support for the Palestinian people.

    McCain and Palin are trying to win Florida by scaring Jewish voters into thinking that just because Obama has a "Islamic-sounding" name that somehow he has a secret agenda against Jews and the state of Israel when he is elected President. And what's worse, Barack Obama talking to this man or John McCain giving money to him. On second thought maybe there is noting bad about this man at all.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Dus

    McCain is just trying to scare Jewish voters in Florida . That's a whole story here. I hope they don't fall in this trap.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. RT in KY

    not a speck of dignity ... when desperation sets in, I guess McCain's honor goes out the window. First McCain lost my vote, now he loses my respect. I've been waiting for him to tell us what HE has planned for America, but I think he is more concerned with the "fear and smear" vote. I think he's about to totally lose it at the rate he's going.

    Obama/Biden ... Tuesday can't come soon enough!

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Tom

    If the LA Times had incriminating information, they would be showing it like nothing else to get the obvious readership of its paper and online paper. They do not play favorites when it comes to getting out the story. No newspaper or other media outlet does. McCain spends more time whining about things than offering legitimate ideas and hope. I for one, do not want a preseidnt whining for the next four years because the media never gives him a "fair shake." Get over it, McCain. You are losing because you are not the better of the two candidates running at this time. The Republicans who elected you as their cadidate are secretly kicking themselves wishing they had put Mitt Romney up against Obama so that they would have had a shot at this election. You failed your party John. Again.

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Release!

    Americans demand to view that tape!!

    This clown is running for office, let us see the tape?

    Go McCain!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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