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. Riaz

    CNN.. where is the fact check on this???

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Jim in Raleigh

    What about McCain's connections to Khalidi – even giving him major grants for Khalidi's work. What's good for the goose....

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

    Can't say enough great things about Obama huh. Kahlidi, Ayers, Wright....man, what a guy. If this had been an article on Palin or McCain you Obama loving folks would have a field day. Instead you come to the "rescue" of this guy. Sad huh. Such media bias for Obama. Can't talk bad about the messiah. This guy will raise EVERYONES TAXES IN 2010 when the Bush tax cuts expire, he has dropped his tax increase on couple earning $250,000 to $200,000 and then Biden says two days ago $150,000. So which is it Dems? How does he not raise our taxes in 2010? I guess everyone just supports this terrorist loving, economy crashing, swell individual. But then again, they're probably all just "neighbors."

    October 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Tom

    It's true: Obama has voted against puppies and rainbows on NUMEROUS occasions. His grandfather's neighbor's former college roomate was once seen "palling around" the same hemisphere as terrorists. Indisputable. REAL Americans know that flag pins are our guarantee of an afterlife, and that peace in the Middle East will only postpone the Second Coming.

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. chuck

    People, please understand that this is what the "Christian" moniker is becoming. No wonder Atheism is growing faster than any other religion in this country. I already gave up on religion 40 years ago. I'd rather burn in "hell" than be with these "christians".

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Enforcer

    McCain is a master of attacking negatively other candidates because of his own character and political failures. How shameful for this old man to resort to these vile tactics!!!!

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Dave g, Minneapolis

    What about Obama and McCain's connection to campaign operatives that have tried to remove other candidates from the ballots.

    The reason that we have to vote for these two bail-out loving, wealth-distributing Senators is because the two parties have colluded to keep other candidates out of the race. It's easier to win when there are only two horses.

    Unfortunately, in a nation of 300million people, the press reports on only two bad choices.

    I'm voting for Bob Barr!!! and so are a lot of others who are disgusted by the lies and negative ads of the Democrats and Republicans.

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    Is this the best we have to choose from for our next President?

    NO it is not !

    Vote for your Freedom and Liberty vote Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party. Responsible Governemnt for a responsible citizen.

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Setys

    Why is CNN not running Sarah Plain involvement with a Political Party (Alaska Independent Party) that wants Alaska to secede from United States of American.

    Please, be warn this woman will divide USA.

    Vote Obama/Biden '08

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. McCain is a national disgrace

    Is there no lie McCain will not make up about Obama? Can McCain not talk about one single issue? He is clueless and has lost all honor.

    McCain and Palin are disgusting and dishonorable. They deserve no one's vote for their obvious lack of character and judgment.

    McCain and Palin are DANGEROUS for America! If all they do now is lie – how can anyone trust them to lead??

    I voted for Obama because I want character, integrity and intelligence to live again in the White House.

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. ALI

    IF THIS PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES ARE SO BAD WHY HAVEN'T THEY BEEN ESCORTED OUT OF THIS COUNTRY. I AM SO TIRED OF THIS STUPID IGNORANT CAMPAIGNING MCCAIN GET A REAL ISSUE, ECONOMY, HEALTH SOCIAL SECURITY.

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. jg

    McCain is a sleaze who should be arrrested for insiting a riot or worse some right wing finactic with a moose shooter. I hope Obama is well protected this next week. God watch over Obama!

    October 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Hillary Supporter

    The latest leak is that JOE the Plumber is also FROM ALASKA and that he was STAGED by the Palin / Mc Cain Campaign to CREATE a DISTRACTION AND A TALKING POINT . The Palin / Mc Cain TICKET is walzing IN THE GUTTER. The guy IS BEING USED as A POLITICAL PUPPET because the ticket was at A LOST FOR A STRATEGY.

    October 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. White Woman for Obama

    McCain you ar not running on who you are, but trying to destroy Obama through lies and innuendo. Give it up. You are finished.

    October 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Dave g, Minneapolis

    What about Obama and McCain's connection to campaign operatives that have tried to remove other candidates from the ballots?

    The reason that we have to vote for these two bail-out loving, wealth-distributing Senators is because the two parties have colluded to keep other candidates out of the race. It's easier to win when there are only two horses.

    Unfortunately, in a nation of 300million people, the press reports on only two bad choices.

    I'm voting for Bob Barr!!! and so are a lot of others who are disgusted by the lies and negative ads of the Democrats and Republicans...

    October 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Veterans 4 Obama

    ahhhh the agony of McCains defeat!

    October 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. D Nelson

    The McCain camp has run the most dishonorable campaign I have ever seen. Not only are they making up lies about Obama, they are making up lies about everyone who happen to be in the same room with Obama at any point in their life.

    Lies about Obama and everyone who ever came into contact with him.
    Lies about Obama's policy positions and plans.
    Lies about the tax proposals.
    Lies – calling senatorial candidates (and a Sunday School Teacher to boot) godless.

    If this is what the Republican party has come to, it deserves everything that happens to them in this election.

    October 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. milo

    "I’m not in the business about talking about media bias but…"

    Funny, sounds like you ARE in the business about talking about media bias.

    October 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Paco - Tucson, AZ

    Yet another desperate and shameful display by McCain.

    October 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Ryan

    The Republican Party is imploding. They have no ideas whatsoever. Their only mantra of "lowering taxes" isn't working because everyone knows they are lowering taxes on only the most wealthy.

    McCain and the repubs haven't had a new idea since Teddy. I am loving watching this because it is the end of the party. This is the height of desperation.

    October 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. TJ

    Can you say 'desperate" with an "m"? It's easy...it's called John W. McBush.

    October 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Chris, Michigan

    McEnd – last breath. End is around the corner. He has nothing good to say about himself or anyone else.

    Lie is all he got but he can't fool us anymore.

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Setys

    Senator Obama attended a dinner party where Khalidi went too but your so called McCain gave Khalidi $450,000 in grants?

    Do we have control on anyone who attend a party that we go to? Do we refused to go to our kids' school's functions because maybe someone who have an issue with the law might be there?

    Who is more connected to Khalidi? McCain of course, who donated a lump sum of money to an organization co-founded by Professor Khalidi.

    Very Pathetic.

    Vote Obama/Biden

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Barack the Deceiver

    My legions of followers will not believe these lies!
    They are much too smart to be taken in by videos.

    😮

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Essay

    Noah–You have got it so wrong. If you will notice, there have been no "attack" ads from Sen. Obama regarding the Keating 5, Both McCain and Palin's adulterous pasts, Cindy drug use and fraud, Palin's confirmed unethical behavior, Alaskan Independence Party secessionist affiliations, the "witch doctor" affiliation, etc. The Obama campaign clearly has taken the higher road regarding nasty campaigning. Their ads largely address the blatant lies told by the McCain/Palin ticket. At worst, McCain has been called "erratic". Given his campaign's direction, that just about sums it up.

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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