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. Mickie in PA

    Watch out, the mud is going to be slung heavy between now and election day because McCain/Palin don't have anything else to offer. If the media exposed as much about McCain/Palin as they do about Obama, McCain would not even qualify to be a Senator again. Palin loves America so much that she wanted Alaska to secede from the Union. But you won't hear the media talk about any of that because the media is owned by republicans.

    October 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Fred Lubin

    The most "honorable Senator" of america, my foot, is so devious, so mind-twisted that he forgets he gave money to this Palestinian. Are we detecting some signs of alzheimer's disease from MCcain. You are done and over with. Now look for a retirement or a nursing home.

    October 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Ray In JAx

    Hey MCCain, Just shut up, Your ideas are as old as you are!!

    October 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Rashid Khalidi

    Hey John thanks for those grants.

    October 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. Kim

    Keating 5, Keating 5 / Witch doctor video ????

    If these so called 'radical professors' are so threatening to the American people, what the hell are they doing in the United States? Did all of you McCain/Palin supporters even think to ask yourselves that question?

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. p davis

    This is about the most sickning campaign I have ever seen. I am so ashamed of our policital process. but i love my country God bless us ,and help us through these times.

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Rashid Khalidi

    John why the harsh language? I thought WE were friends.

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. ANA

    Its so sad that John McCain can't seem to talk about anything else other than the same old thing of trying to discredit Barack Obama. He should be trying to tell the American people how he will bring back jobs, keep our taxes low, help us be avle to afford higher education and give us ALL affordable heatlh care. The scare tactics aren;t working. Concentrate in the "Barracuda" that is trying to take your job before you get elected!

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. KJL

    McCain has lots of extremely unsavory connections, but Obama isn't wasting his time on them. Obama would rather concentrate on what he can do for America, rather than slinging more mud at someone who is already known to be dirty.

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Will smith

    The is a last desperation moved. Yessar Arafat the former leader of PLO now deceased, held several middle east peace meeting with Pres. Bush (1st Bush), in Crawford Texas, Bill Clinton in Camp David, and this present Bush. Does that mean the Bush's and Pres. Bill Clinton are terrorist? PLO as we know is not a terrorist org. I hope americans are knowledgeable to know what is going on.

    October 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Mike in Columbus

    john mccain (does not deserve the respect of capitol letters) will go down in history as the lowest, weakest, most vile candidate the gop has ever run. I look forward to America rejected this small, honorless man on November 4th.

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Ben SF

    Call me paranoid... but I see the hand of Joe the Plumber in all of this...

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. rice, bryan

    if this guy isn't a terrorist, who cares. we have had a terrorist as a president for the last eight years. does he mention how he himself is tied to this guy? mccain is a gutless turd!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Rob

    Hey Justin, you say "when in doubt, scare the Jews" – That's nothing compared with what Obama's pals want to do to them.

    But of course you, as well as the rest of the brainless Obama drones don't care about the truth. If you did you'd see the truth, that Obama is a failure, a hack, with dangerous friends and dangerous plans for America. But to do that you need to think, which automatically disqualifies you and the rest of the Obama supporters.

    The mind's a terrible thing to waste, unless you are an Obama supporter, in which case you probably never had one, so you don't really miss it.

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Steve, CA

    I am disgusted by John McCain's tactics. He would have been much better remembered if he lead an honest and positive campaign...

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. shawn

    WOW, pls provide some positive campaign... its so sad watching an old man with so much credentials just throwing away all his done just to win an election...his advisers should be fired.

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. JohnLee

    Where will John McCain stoop to next? Maybe he'll bash Obama for gawd knows what. Come on McCain – many of us are hurting out here. I realize with all your homes, cars and money you don't understand that but at least attempt to show that you do.

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. SoCal

    McCain is desperate. The latest polls in Arizona show that there's the possibility of him loosing in his own home state.

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. HD

    How many racists were at McCain's last cookout…?

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. therealist

    The LA Times is putting Obama above its constitutional responsibilities of public disclosure. Image what these very same editors would say if Fox was doing this for McCain.. The hypocrisy is so disgusting that I have now banished the LA Times from my favorite’s folder. Good luck with that lackeys..

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. ruty

    There goes McCain getting deeper in the gutter. Can't this moron come up with something better than a crap sandwich?

    October 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Pam, Illinois

    And the swiftboating begins in earnest. How sad and pathetic this republican ticket is. Fortunately Americans know better this time around. The filthy dirty politics that is the GOP is now fully transparent for all to see.

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Payal

    I am an independant and honestly lost all respect for John Mcain.Atleast he need to be a dignifies loser..!!

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. link

    I'm sick and tired of the McPalin crap. Always bringing up negative issues. Please start talking about stuff that matters to Americans. Your party is all about seperation, labeling and lies. I already voted. And it wasn't for the Republican ticket.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Art Michaelson

    McCain/Palin: Liars, distorters, fibbers, histerical losers how does it feel to live in Bush's/Rove's stinking sewer. How low can you get and still look yourself in the mirror. Democrats are wise to your dirty tricks and the selfrightous republicans are TOO bitter and hateful to recognize that McCain/Palin are conducting one of the dirtiest and shameful contest in memory. McCain you were once an honorable man and you got my vote in 2000. You have now sold your good reputation and soul for the Religious Evangelical Extreme Right Wing of the republican party. And that Is why Palin draws bigger crowds than you do. You have been rejected and this NUT group are aready grooming her to lead that fringe group of your party/ SORRY. Buy another house and Car

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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