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. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, VOTE A STRAIGHT DEM TICKET!

    To all those complaining about the new ad "attacking" missy.

    The ad is only considered negative IF you agree she is a half-wit.

    The ad states facts, McCrypt did say the terms in the ad and he did select Palin and she did wink during the debates.

    So, if you find that as a negative then you need to look into why you think so or more importantly, why you think others will see it as negative. Otherwise, you should view the ad as free, postive and reaffirmation for the half-wit!

    October 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. mjc

    On Aug. 17, Palin’s church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, who described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. Brickner stated:

    "Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It's very real. When [Brickner's son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can't miss it."

    Palin was in church that day and sat through the Sermon.

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

    Poor old McShame, still grasping for straws. Whatever happened to running an above board campaign.He will say anything to win.

    October 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. McCain Lies Once Again

    It never ceases to amaze me how low McCain will go each day with his unbelievable and outrageous lies! Anyone who would even consider voting for someone with such a lack of character and morality is beyond me. McCain is desperate and pathetic and will say anything at this point. Come on McCain – at least lose this election with some dignity left. You and Palin are despicable and are unfit to lead this nation. Truth does still matter and you and Palin are proven liars. If you can't talk about the issues, then shut up, no one believes the hateful garbage you spew every day. And you and Palin are of the "moral and Christan" Party??? Every heard of the Commandment about "not bearing false witness"?
    Vote for real leadership and character – NC is voting for Obama! 1/3 of us already have!

    October 29, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. redhead from toronto

    Roll on Nov 4th, Please please GO VOTE, vote early if you can, get a paper trail if you can, watch the machines to ensure you actually voted correctly, take a photo if you think it is incorrect, complain and get your vote corrected, do not take anything for granted, they will steal your vote if you let them, shades of 2000 and 2004 UGH.. CNN, I will not watch your station any more, you should have broadcast Obama's ad tonite, instead you give free time to McShame, I have moved to MSNBC for my news, Tell Larry King and Jack Cafferty I will miss them,

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Can't Wait for Nov. 4th

    I'm quit sure that Columbia would not hire someone who was once a member of the PLO. I am insulted at how easily the GOP thinks the American people can be manipulated. Anyways, since when is it a crime to have differing opinions in this country? That is the reason that people continue to fight for first amendment rights, not to protect popular speech, but to allow individuals to express unpopular speech.

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. NoMcSame

    If McSame can't keep his VOW to his wife whom he swore before God to love how can we expect him to keep his VOW to the American people?

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Marcelo

    Are you kidding me??? McCain has ties to this guy too??? His organization gave him money? McCain you senile hypocrite! For being a bible pusher you sure forgot about the rule about throwing stones! Man, your campaign makes me sick.

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. petbarber

    I can't wait for all of this to be over! Does McShame actually think people are ignorant enough to fall for his platform of lies and smears?

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Bill

    John, it's too late to go this sleezy. Try to keep a shred of your remaining dignity. FYI – These false "issues" don't seem to work for you. You are going to work yourself into a contrived frenzy and fall off a stage like poor old Bob Dole. Get a grip.

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. jb

    So Florida Jews gotta ask themselves (if they're inclined to listen to this dribble at all), if this guy did have connections to the PLO, then how many weapons did the $850k McCain's foundation gave him buy?

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. John

    BILL AYERS DIDN'T WORK! WHY SHOULD THIS BE ANY DIFFERENT?

    Obama will be up by 12 points by the time the election is here if they keep on calling him a terrorist. It didn't work two weeks ago, so why should it work now?

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Va4Obama

    So now, it's bad to have known someone of a different religion, race, culture, etc? When you cross paths with different people, it makes you more understanding (not necessarily agreeable) of others. But if you are so sheltered like Palin, and have never met someone unlike you, you become intolerant....This is how I see the McCain/Palin ticket.

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. RIF

    It's bad if you attend a dinner with a guy, but okay if you give $450,000 to the same guy? Oh, I forgot, McCain is a white male. He was just doing business.

    October 29, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Sue

    McCain, pandering to racism again? Be prepared for your numbers to drop.

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. No McCain-Palin

    Who care about Obama Relationship, Mr. McCain, just tell us what is your plan for our future. You and Palin are so desperated that you keep throwing the kitchen sink toward Obama. Go back to Arizona and retired peacefully. This election is over, Barack Obama is our next President.

    Obama/Biden '08-'12

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Chibeardan

    Landslide!

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Sam the Butcher

    Somebody get John some antacids he has diarrhea of the mouth something fierce. Poor old fella, must be suffering from memory loss also.

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Sabrina

    This is the latest on a long list of lame attempts to derail the focus on the real issues. The Republican party has lost its leadership and its direction. It is all over the place and McCain and Palin do not help the cause. McCain is not a real Republican, after all he was an independent turn republican to win elections. Palin is as clueless as they come. I'm sorry to see this happening because it is detrimental to the party and to the country's future. I wished McCain had left this one alone and had continued to focus on the number 1 issue, the economy. If he is going to win this election is going to be in the thing that matters the most: Taxes and Capitalist ideas. That is the basis of the Republican Party. All the other noise is that, just noise: friends, religion, the school they went to.... even abortion is a non-winner this time around.

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Bridgette-PA

    McCain gave him $450,000 in grants! Give me a break McSame. You lost this election! Your lies will not work this time. People in this country are too smart this time. Give it up, just go to sleep and don't wake up until NOVEMBER 5TH!

    OBAMA/BIDEN -08!

    October 29, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. berni, TN

    I think we have had enough of McCain/Palin, aka George Bush III,
    please get your vote cast for Obama as soon as you can.
    I voted for OBAMA two weeks ago. Yeah, for early voting.

    Vote OBAMA / BIDEN for hope for our future.
    Vote OBAMA / BIDEN on November 4th, if you can't vote early.

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. SoCal

    CNN... what about the polls showing Arizona is now a tight race?

    McCain having to play defense in his own state appears a rather intriguing story... how about some "news" on that?

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. THE WATCHER

    What? I'm getting dizzy.

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. 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.THE BEST WAY TO SHUT UP THE GOP SCUMBAGS IS TO MAKE SURE YOU AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW VOTES 100% DEMOCRATIC. GET OUT THE VOTE; TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED
    IRRESPECTIVE OF THE POLLS.

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. George in Indianapolis

    Well! by6 reading some of the trash here, I now see that many are grasping at any straw to try and bash Obama. Why? He is clearly the best prepared for the job of POTUSA. What I really see is that there are a lot og biggots and racists that are trying to find something wrong with the man so they don't have to admitt that they are racists and biggots. At this rate you will finally have to admit it by Monday. Please vote for whoever you like. But the truth is if there was something so dire in Obama's past, I'm sure someone would have found it by now. After all he has been campaigning for well over a year and let us not forget that the RNC tried to stop his election as Senator. BTW I voted last Thursday. Can you demonstrate one reason why I should have voted for McCain? Just one? Give me a reason to vote for a senile old man who can't articulate a clear thought, who rnats and raves about everything but the issues. And who has an identity crisis trying to figure out who he is. He's sure he's not George Bush because bush beat him in 2004. But on Joe the plumber I'm not sure. Stop the hate mate! Go vote for your canidate then come back and tell me if you feel as good as I do about voting for mine.

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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