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. mel from ohio

    McCain may want to cool it on this topic since he headed the IRI in the 90's and they gave funds to this same man and his group!!!!! Guess senility has caused him to forget about this.

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. PeopleVOTE

    Stop it old man enough is enough you need to lose this election gracefully, I do not care how many lies you have left to tell you are not going to change my vote and a vote of millions of Americans who are inclined to vote for obama.

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. yvonne, raleigh

    Bush is hardly a recommendation for anyone. But this also goes in reverse. McCain has shown what he and his campaign are made of. It has not inspired anyone. I am jewish and pro Israel. That does not mean I am anti Palestinian, or anti Arab. I AM anti terrorism. At this late date McCain should reserve some of any dignity he has left. But, apparently, he wants to go for broke. I guess that also puts an end to his career in the Senate.

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Judy

    This is just his way of avoiding the issues. McCain is starting to act more and more like a crazy person. Not someone I would want in office. Loony, Loony, Loony.

    October 29, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. No McCain

    No Fear mongering please....

    October 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. non us resident

    I'm a Canadian resident and following the US elections very closely. The campaign that McCain and Palin are delivering to Americans is very sad when your country is going through so much financial turmoil. They should be giving hope to your country and yet the only thing they seem to be doing is lashing out at Obama. What a shame.
    I think you all had enough of the Bush era, so now is the time for change and I see that with Obama as he is very determined and will bring new ideas and views to government. Race has no play in an election. The only thing which is important is to have a better government on all policies.

    Good luck on election night.

    October 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Saddened by McCain

    Desperation is the name of the game at this point. I am truly saddened by what this campaign has done to John McCain – by what he has done to himself by following these tactics. A great man will go down in the minds of many people as a candidate who ended his run for president by calling Obama names while ignoring the issues. I supported McCain in 2000. He is a different candidate this time around, and far the worse for it. My wish? Obama gets elected, and McCain ends the race by recovering some dignity. America would get the fresh leader it needs, AND get to keep one it has relied upon for many years.

    October 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Marc PDX

    For the sake of truthfulness, and answering legitimate questions about political positions, I think the video should be made public. The appearance of wrongdoing is going to be present as long as it isn't. It's very unusual to hide things like this.

    October 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. WannaBe Maverick?

    McCain and Palin are white supremists. Anyone who doe not have a white name and aren't white is a threat to them.

    October 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. No McCain/No Palin

    Get out and Vote. We need to stop these lies and I would hate to see such LIARS win this election. Get your friends, get your family members, get your community...we all know what a disgusting campaign McCain/Sarah is running but we can put a STOP to this by voting....

    Muslims, Chinese, Indians, African Americans, Caucasians, All US Citizens...get out and VOTE!

    October 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. wwf

    Keep trying McCain. I have read all of the transcipts of Wright, (more than I can say for you and fox) and have studied all of your accusations at length. Too bad that you did not do the same. Oh, how does if feel to have your campaign donated to by the widow of the person who set that board up, along with all of the other people who sat on it. I guess that makes you a terrioist to. Oh, thats right. You are ready to lead. How, by more lies?

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    shame on mccain&palin they are endless on their negative campaign, they have yet to talk about the issues, why don't they just DROP OUT OF THE RACE, THEY MAKE ME WANT TO VOMIT. AMERICA VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Dems Have Brains

    You see, John, people with intellectual curiosity like to engage in conversations with people who have different views of thier own, in the hope of learning something, and teaching something. Something that will serve President Obama well with Foreign Policy. This is one more of your short comings – you have no depth or intellect.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Samantha in MI

    Pathetic. In the last days McCain and Palin are just sealing their fate. They and the people who think like them will have to deal with their Karma eventually. Obama may not be prefect but at least he's presented ideas and plans for the future rather than spending all his time and energy attacking the other candidate.

    I used to have respect for him... now all I can say is PATHETIC.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. jelow

    This is what happens when you are a professor. You have colleagues.

    Unless you insulate yourself, you will be exposed to different philosophies and world views.

    And just b/c you work with someone doesn't mean you agree with them.

    Trust me. I can't stand most of the people I work with but I have been to functions with them.

    Think about it.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Vote McCain

    Why again????????? attact Obama. I voted for them but I don't like when they attact Obama. hey're losing because of that. Are they stupid or what??????

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. ObamaVolunteer

    Why doesn't Senator McCain talk about his connections with G. Gordon Liddy; Anneberg, the Keating 5 (Joe the no-plumber's grandfather); PNAC; the fatal 1964 car accident cover-up in the Navy the he was involved in; his non-church membership.

    Let's talk about what you are not discussing, neocon.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Dixie AZ

    The crap just keeps pouring out, doesn't it? John McCain, how about telling us how you've been tested == besides sitting in the cockpit of a plane during the Cuban missle crisis.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Mickie in PA

    What about McCain's deeper connection with Khalidi. He has admitted it in the past and now all of a sudden there's a problem but not with his connection to him - how convenient and hypocritical as usual.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Next up from the McCain campaign: Obama is actually a Sasquatch.

    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. John Mcain - Leave with honor

    John McCain – Leave with honor...............Why do you consistently day after day come up with these Wild Goose Chase Slander tactics that have proven NOT TO WORK IN YOUR FAVOR.



    October 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Kina, NYC

    wowww...i coulda placed a bet on how the Republicans campaign strategy was gonna be like, and won...hahaha...the GOP don't seize to amaze me...hahaha...how much did they have to pay for this info?...they r very pathetic...

    Obama/Biden '08.


    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. A Disgrace You Are!

    To gl Pittsburg (3:35)

    Your comment was disgraceful, you should not even be allowed to vote!

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. eg

    Talk about releasing information. Where are Obama’s records from his college years? WE know nothing about him, and are forbidden to ask.
    Preview of an Obama presidency...like the television station in Florida and PA, you ask tough questions, then the campaign bans you or your personal information is investigated.

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Bradley

    Mmmmm, I love the mid-afternoon smell of desperation. haha

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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