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. greg


    October 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. claude

    Let's stick to the issues please!!!


    Vote early... Vote Obama

    October 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. ulric

    Give mccain a life, dr phil and other psychiatrist might be extremely useful for the gop harp hazzard. help is on the way.

    October 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. David, Silver Spring, MD

    What, is McCain looking to be the last candidate standing? He wants us to vote for him because the other guy is so bad?

    Is McCain even trying to present a positive argument for himself?

    October 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Dave

    Nice try. McCain likes to keep the mouth breathers afraid of brown people. Fear makes them easier to control.

    The majority of America does not fall for this John. Remember that when you are sitting at home alone on Nov 6.

    October 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. rob

    LOL-old yellow teeth go home and send the bimbo to Russia . amazing how he can't talk about himself , he can only talk about Obama

    October 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. SPG

    McCain calls for the release of worthless tapes when his own VP pick hasn't bothered to release her medical records! What is SHE hiding???

    October 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. RDS

    So McCain gave the man almost half a million dollars and now he's questioning Obama about a connection to him..LOL too funny

    October 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Sandy - PA

    McCain is a sad and desperate man. All he talks about these days is how he will only talk to people who agree with him and his line of thinking. He is a warmonger with a military outlook on everything, and I wonder which or how many countries he will want to bomb if we're unfortunate enough to wind up with him as president.

    We cannot afford McCain, and after the last 8 years, we don't want him.

    October 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    This is where the "kitchen sink" strategy is going to hurt McCain. They have already tried to tie Obama to everyone from Marx to this guy. They've tried so many angles that it almost sounds like they are just picking random people and seeing what sticks.

    Also, it is very obvious why they were holding this until now. This is their "October Surprise" and they want to use it the day before Obama plays his big message, appears with Bill Clinton and 6 days before the election so it doens't have time to be explained. It's all so obvious now after they've been trying these stunts for months. This is one good thing Bush gave us, we had time to study his tactics and now we see them coming.

    But let me say this to anyone who will let this crap change their mind. Which would you rather have, some who tells you how they are going to help you and shows that they care, or someone who really hasn't told you how they are going to help you anymore but makes you fear the other person SO MUCH, that you go against your better judgment? We've seen what that gets us! It gets us a president that no one really likes, but have to deal with. Case in piont George W. Bush. Then, whenever that president tries to rally the country together for something, they can't. Why, because we didn't even like them to begin with.

    How many people have you talked to that said "I didn't want to vote for Bush in 2004, but I couldn't vote for Kerry"? That is not how this should work! If McCain can sway your vote by providing you with answers to help you with issues in your daily life, then vote for him. But, if the only reason you are voting for him is because you are "not sure" of Obama and McCain is your only other choice, then it is time to figure it out!

    October 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Jim

    Give it a break McCain. You won't let go of the Khalidi or Ayers issue will you? You should really listen to what one of the Republican Senators had to say about Ayers, and I quote, "What do I care about some washed up old terrorist?"...oh, wait, YOU said that.

    October 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Alan Machtey Sugar land texas

    I'M jewish and voted early for Next President of United States Senator Obama. I'm planning on Nov 4 to work and drive voters to poll booth. OLD GOP is history.

    October 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. latina for Obama

    'Silly Mcsmear tricks are for kids' Stop the misleading tactics, and hate mongering ways already. He was the chairman in the 90s for the IRI in wich time he distributed sev grants including on for half a mill. for the palestenian research center in which Khalidi was co founder. Dont continue down this path or it will come to bite you in the ars just like everything else you try to vomit.

    October 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Ovitshio Branco

    McCain gave up important Military info after 4 days while a POW, that's not putting his country before his own person, is in fact treasonous. John McCain committed adultery, that's not a leader you can trust. John McCain has lived off of the American people all of his life, owns 7 homes worth 13 million, personal wealth of over 110 million, thinks being rich is making 5 million collects SS and disability. Why disability? Yet he want us to believe he knows our pains…he failed to pay the taxes on his southern CA home. John McCain has the highest absent rate in the Senate, the worst voting record for Vets and women, became a “war-hero” in an immoral and unjust war (the Vietnam War), supports another illegal war in Iraq, wants war with Iran and Russia, has no clue about economy, saying that "all in all we are doing better than 8 years ago". He says he knows how to "win" a war but has no record to back that claim up. Being a POW just means that you are one of the worst of the fighter pilots…how many US fighter jocks have lost 3 or more aircraft???? The mission he flew on where he became a POW was a bombing mission over civilian territory. This makes him a "war hero"????? John McCain is running on his war "hero" status, but he pushed legislation making it impossible for families to get info about their MIA/POWs…and still refuses to release his Military records…AND HE WANTS THE DRAFT back!!! Why hasn't CNN had a headline about this???

    October 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    TyWebb..............That was funny............

    October 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Republican Woman for Obama

    McCain will say and do anything to be president! Disgusting!

    October 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Kalvin

    Barack Obama is a good role model to not only the african american community but to all. i think he should win not because of his racial differences but because he is the best candiate for the job.
    President Barack Obama!!!

    Macon, GA.

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Corey W

    McCain has really lost his mind. Just stop this madness!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Bill_ MA

    This election will produce at least two very positive outcomes. One will be Barack Obama becoming our President, and secondly the demise of the republican party is well on it's way to fruition. I am 64, and have never seen such hatred. Republicans have allowed their sick thinking to finally destroy them. They have used every dirty trick in the book, and wanted us to believe that they were on a mission from God Himself. Republicans have much malice in their hearts. Power does corrupt.

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Jim Noble

    So let me get this straight...Sarah Palin and John McCain are attacking Obama for having ties to a respected professor at Columbia University, who was accused, but never confirmed of having ties to the PLO, the legitimate leaders of the Palestinians, an organization that the U.S. sends aid to every year, an organization that is currently the best hope for peace between the Palestinians and Israel? Is this woman insane? Aside from the fact that statements like these can disrupt the fragile, relative peace currently in Israel, attacking Obama for ties to someone that was rumored to have ties with a legitimate organization that is supported by the U.S. is just idiotic! But hey, it sounds scary and they are betting that enough Americans are dumb enough to believe it and to believe that it has anything to do with anything.

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Brian Rich

    Wow, more not news.

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. RACHEL

    I still don't understand how Obama's "friends" will affect the economy, education, health care, national security... you know, issues that do matter to the American people. And I still haven't heard what McPalin is going to do about said issues. All I hear from them is "oooohhh, Obama BAD!! Us, GOOD!" Yeah, I need more info than that to even get me to consider voting for them.

    Although it's too late anyway... I just came back from casting my vote for OBAMA/BIDEN. At least I know what they intend to do to help dig the USA out of the 8 year hole the Republicans have thrown us into.

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Scott

    Well, given that Palin went to five colleges in six years, she probably knows a lot of professors, too. Perhaps one or two of them hold "radical" ideas. Should we start digging?

    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. chuck


    October 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Vanessa Pinder


    October 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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