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. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    Don't Republicans have anything better to do than to sift through their opponent's conversations for the past 20 years to find anyone they might have talked to or anything they might have said that can be twisted into slime? Do they use their campaign donations to pay people to do this? I, personally, don't prefer to hang out with people whose sole occupation in life is trying to find the worst in others. What a miserable pastime! (and a total waste of time.) I definitely don't want people like that to run my country. One of the things I appreciate about Barack is that he tries to find the best in others and seeks to find common ground with his opponents. That is strength and maturity.

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Bruce

    Hey Rob the pity party started 8 years ago when you voted the other jerk in office.Now you want the guy he beat out two times ????

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. leighg1

    McCain/Palin totally lose their mind now!

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Coda

    Man Alive...This is a joke

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Marc

    You jokers who say you voted already, good for you. now shut up and quit spewing your 2 cents of garbage. Losers.

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

    lol...John tell us about your economy plan

    October 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. eddie

    The news media is trying to control information about "Obama".. What has Obama promised behind closed doors????? Along with taking money for his campaign and no tracking where it is from....Forgein???? Obama refuses to show his birth cert. or any thing in his first 12 years of age....Europe says many americans are dumb and can be talked into vague promises, and this should really set them to talking. What about respect???? Is there something there he does not want the americans to know....too many unanswered questions about him..... 6 million spent and another 4 million to show his face, insult to those who lost their jobs and having a hard time. NAFTA= Demorcats= lost jobs. By the way McCain showed his birth cert. when he went in the service.

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Jon

    I personally think McCain's ties to George Bush and his 'Hell yeah, I'd give Cheney and Rove positions in my administration" are far more frightening.

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Jack

    Jews should be too smart for this.

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Sherri

    I love how Barack actually runs the campaign, writes his own speeches, while McCain and Palin have the GOP writing their speeches and telling them to spew this absolute crap. Aren't these the same people who smeared McCain in 2000?

    Unfortunately by some of the comments it's looks like the mud is sticking to the uneducated and uninformed who live on sound bites rather that actually doing some real unbiased research....

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. FAYE, NV

    McCain and Palin are the most horrible people political people I know and McCain selling his soul and reputation for a win is the lowest I seen in any canidate. Using fear tatics and false lies is not worth it.

    I feel sorry for McCain even if he wins I will never respect him again, and his life as a Vet is worthless to me.

    Obama/Biden

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Ken

    Hey! Hey!
    John McCain!
    What's today's fake story
    From your campaign?

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. Frank G

    We need overwhelming Democratic ticket victories at all levels to send a unified message to all America (and the Republicans in particular) that bombastic messages of hate, distortions and lies will no longer be accepted in political campaigns.
    Maybe, then in future, we can have all contestants from all parties focusing upon substantive issues that affect our lives.
    IF WE VOTE LOUD ENOUGH MAYBE WE WILL BE HEARD.

    October 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. arc, Lugano CH

    Yet another half-truth propagated by the campaign of Old Dying Man McScum and Palin White Trash Trailer Park Queen.

    McCain & Palin have nothing left to count on but the fear and bigotry of their supporters.

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Sherri

    I love how Barack actually runs the campaign, writes his own speeches, while McCain and Palin have the GOP writing their speeches and telling them to spew this absolute crap. Aren't these the same people who smeared McCain in 2000? I think so....

    Unfortunately by some of the comments it's looks like the mud is sticking to the uneducated and uninformed who live on sound bites rather that actually doing some real unbiased research....

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Jorge -- SF_CA

    Keep on trying, McCain.

    Nothing is going to work for you!

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Jack

    Jewish voters should be too smart for this

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. Borat

    Tick tick tick #### the clock is running out

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. Bit

    Okay, here we go again! This campaign will try ANYTHING to win and smear Obama. What does McCain want Obama to do-go into isolation and fade off the face of this earth? This is so stupid!

    I can't believe McSmearmonger and this campaign.

    John, don't forget that you have the same ties with this group. What you need to be doing is trying to get out of this election with honor.

    Dam Shame! Just sick of it.

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. lisa

    SHAME ON YOU MCCAIN/PALIN AND ALL YOU REPUBLICANS
    MY UNCUL IS AN AMERICAN/ PALESTINIAN HE CAME OVER TO USA
    BACK IN THE EARLY 60'S INSTED OF WAITING FOR CITIZENSHIP IN NORMAL WAY HE JOINED THE AIR FORCE AND BACAME A CAPT
    AND WENT TO WAR COZ HE BELIVED IN THE FLAG THE US DREAM, MARRIED HAS US BORN KIDS ETC.
    AND KNOW YOU SAY THIS.....

    THIS MAN KHALIDI LIVES AND WORKS IN THE USA IF HE WAS A TERRORIST WHICH YOU MAKEING OUT THEN CIA,FBI STATE DEPT WOULD DELT WITH HIM ETC.
    OH 1 MORE THING THE PLO ARE CHATTING TO USA ISREAL
    YOU EVEN HAD ARAFAT IN THE WHITEHOUSE .
    SO WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT .

    NOT EVERYBODY WITH AN ARAB NAME WANTS TO KILL .
    I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU AND PALIN AND ALL OTHER AMERICAN WHO HAVE SUCH A STUPID AND IGNRENT OUTLOOK .

    OH JUST LET ALL THAT LIKE CHRISTIANTY,ISLAM IS BASED ON
    THE JEWISH FAITH.
    SO WE ARE ALL JEWS.

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Independent Voter

    What's sad here is making an innocent man look like an enemy. And again, who has got money ties to Khalidi? Uh-huh. John McCain

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. BS not Maverick

    McCain you are loosing and loosing because you do not understand. America still does not understand what you would do different from Bush. Besides, if you did win, it would mean more gridlock with a Democratic congress. Time to move on, time for change.

    October 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Enough John. There is no reason to vote FOR you – we get it. All you have is lies and innuendo. I seriously think you have a Man crush on Obama for all that you talk about him.

    October 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. texas2step

    At this point, anything and anyone will be better than BUSH and MCCAIN for saving the future of this country. No substance as he and Palin are throwing any trash they find out there. And it is the brainless that are eating it up. God Help America!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Proud to be American

    Wow can you say reaching for nothing? This is all just distracting.... it is hump day though.... just six more days and then the old man can go and retire.

    *************** Obama and Biden 2008!!! ***********************

    October 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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