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. No Hillary = No Obama

    If Obama gets elected, normal Americans who get up and go to work every day to make a living, instead of living off entitlement programs, are going to see Mr. Change, a man who acts and feels as if he is entitled to the Presidency for doing no work to earn it, will expand all entitlement programs. What you will have in the next 4 years are more deadbeats, welfare cheats, system scammers and people who feel they are entitled to hand out's. If the entitled candidate becomes the entitled President he will create a country of entitlers.

    October 29, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. salem

    poor pathetic mccain. Clue to you, mccain: nobody is listening to you and the Dior accessory. We have tuned you and your filthy trash out. More feeble and desperate attempts to win--you sold your soul so badly that you ARE EVEN LOSING ARIZONA. LOSER LOSER LOSER.

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Fed UP

    Go away John!

    The next thing the McSame/Palin group will try to do is link Obama with neo-nazi white supremists!!

    5 days left to put up with this BS!!!

    PLEASE America...don't be fooled again by these neocon LIES.

    Vote Obama/Biden for a better America!

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Bulldog

    McCain is an IDIOT

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. carlos

    the old man just don't remember that he funded Khalidi...another desperate hail mary...

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. adg

    Im starting to really dislike Mccain and Palin more than I dislike Bush"!!! And Im sick of having these fellings about Bush. I cant think of the deep deep sadness I will Feel If mcpalin win this election!! Please Vote For Obama so I can feel good again!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. From the Sunshine State

    Can someone tell McCain that he can't scare jewish voters with that? We have suffered and survived a lot to let others scare us with lies...
    We are smarter than you think, McCain...

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. obama fan

    I don't understand why McCaoin is going to make a big deal out of it if he has ties with this man also.

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Turner in Washington State

    When all else fails....................

    It's almost over folks. Just a few more days of these attacks until McShame and Palin from 'AlaKska' go back home.

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    So, let me get this straight: AYERS attended some event with this Khalidi fellow and that is somehow OBAMA'S fault??? Talk about cirucuitous inferences! Desperation has set in, my fellow prisoners...I mean, my friends!

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. lizann

    Seems like they just keep beating the same dead horse...

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. former gop

    McCain could care less about putting country first. All he cares about is winning, even if it means dividing the country forever. Only crazy people think Obama's a terrorist. McCain, you're shameless. You make me sick.

    October 29, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. arc, Lugano CH

    paul (reformed republican) October 29th, 2008 2:38 pm ET

    "…while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, the group gave grant money to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi."

    – just says it all, doesn't it???

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    You Betcha. Thank you Paul.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. JIM HAWK

    YOU ARE A SICK,SICK,MAN McCAIN...YOU WILL SAY ANYTHING.YOU
    SOLD YOUR SOUL TO SATAN.MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOU..
    OBAMA/BIDEN

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. VALERIE

    This is sad. I truly feel sorry for John McCain. I hate to see him go out this way.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Nathan

    how about them issues!?

    *ugh*

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. MICKEYREID

    never ending trash for this pathetic guy he just needs to give up. it's worthless he's doing what president bush did to him in there campaign,he has nothing left i almost feel sorry for him it's ashame he really has not seperated himself from bush.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Bob

    Loser...Loser...Loser..it's not working old man..we're on to you!

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Betty

    I am not american but I am following this race with such an interest, seeing how bigotry and ignorance can sink a whole once dominant country in a complete economic disaster! Seeing McCain gaining ground is kind of seeing the Titanic going towords its iceberg while all the indecided voters and republicans are dancing inside! I'm just waiting to see their faces when Joe the Plumber will announce to all of them there are not enough life jackets for all of them!

    E.
    Washington

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. andre

    What a loser!

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Ms. Jenny

    "…while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, the group gave grant money to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi."

    Ok, just so I'm clear on this: McCain has given money to this guy. Obama has not. Am I reading that correctly? Ok, case closed.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Blue By You

    Nice try. No one cares.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Melissa in Colorado

    He's lost it.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Pearl

    You ever wonder why whenever Sen. Obama has something major planned where the American people can hear from him and get to learn more about his tax plan, health care plan, etc, McCain distracts. He did so when Obama traveled overseas and he's doing it again. Sad! All b/c McCain doesn't have a plan different from George W. Bush.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    John McCain......................please shutup!

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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