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. Jacqueline

    I will love to see the FACT CHECK on this one.......maybe Ms Brown can point this out.....

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Undecided No More

    That's it! I made up my mind. I'm voting for Obama this afternoon. I gave McCain all the chance in the world to sway me but he has not offered me one reason to vote for him, only his reasons NOT to vote for Obama, which are tenuous at best.

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. REW

    How can McCain promote Sarah Palin when her and her husband has ties with Alaskan Independent Group (AIG).

    How can MCCain and his wife promote job growth when after American's have made you rich and you want to sell your family business to another country.

    How can McCain be still running for president after so many tries and he still can't get it right.

    How can McCain expect the American people to stand up with him and he can't stand up to his own camp.


    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Mary - PA

    I have now lost every ounce of respect that I ever had for John McCain and I did respect him. I didn't think there was anyone out there that would work as hard to divide this nation as George Bush did. Obviously, I was wrong. He becomes more and more like Bush each day that goes by. He absolutely disgusts me.

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

    Let's see one funnels half a million in funds to his organization, and one is at a party???

    Just another pathetic attempt to step on the Obama news cycle.

    October 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. wes

    Israel IS a stinking corpse. Focus on our country and not this crap.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Stop

    Stop hate against Muslim!!!!,
    It is sad when people can hang a symbol of Obama by the noose and yet not okay to do the same to Palin.
    Stop giving Palin such attention. If you at CNN have a slow news day call me and I will give you something to write about.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. CV

    This is just an appeal to fear and those who obviously have never been in a college setting. You meeet all sorts of people at a University, many of whom you can both respect as scholars, but profoundly disagree with on a personal or philosophical level. Just because these people exist in the same universe as you does not mean you are them or have anything substantial to do with them.

    Say your boss is great at what he does, but he also believes something you find offensive. That does not mean you aren't expected to work with him respectfully or say goodbye to him when he is leaving.

    This and the Ayers red herring are geared towards people who don't understand that being a professor is a job like any other and you can't be held responsible for your co-workers.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Fred

    LOL! McBlame! Desperation is setting in with the old guy.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. witch

    I have never thought John McCain was a man of honor. He was married and he screwed around on his first wife. How can any one say that is honorable? I have read alot about McCain that I find very distasteful. He makes my skin crawl.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Ana



    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Let it go..........

    Well, well, well... the Re'lic agenda..."Let's just pull out all the stops and really go negative and see if something sticks." I can't wait until all the ads disappear along with their faces in the media in order that a REAL President can start America back on the right track. (NO PUN INTENDED!) P-L-E-A-Z-E... 11.04.2008 can't come fast enough! They are despicable... Look @ Dole... what a shame. I STILL can't BELIEVE they have nothing to offer. Oh, wait...they don't want to offer anything BECAUSE THEY TOOK IT ALL FROM THE PEOPLE!

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Palin the liar

    GOP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin spent more than $51,000 in taxpayer funds to remodel the governor’s Anchorage office suite and spruce up her mansion and office in Juneau, a Herald review of expense records shows.

    Palin spent most of the funds, $45,137, in April to build and furnish three offices inside her suite at the Robert B. Atwood Building in Anchorage, records show.

    In June 2007, Palin spent $5,380 for labor and materials on a 72-inch wooden display case in her Juneau office. The case houses a football and basketball signed by players from championship high school teams, native artwork, a Klondike Trail mug and other items, said gubernatorial spokesman William D. McAllister.

    Another $1,205 was spent in February 2007 on blinds for an arched window and stairwell at the governor’s mansion in Juneau.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. McCain's lost his honor

    Wanna bet they remind us that Obama's middle name is Hussein?

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    Last night I listened to an old recording of a phone conversation between President Lyndon Johnson and one of his top military advisors. The conversation was about pressure from John McCain's father to be promoted. LBJ asked if McCain's father was "a competent fellow" and the answer was "No." Sounds like the apple does not fall far from the tree!!!

    Also, what's up with this accident McCain had outside the gate of a naval base in the 60s? Someone might have been killed, but the Navy won't release any records. Sounds and smells like a cover up to me. I really wish some national news organization would uncover all this crap instead of bashing Sen. Obama all the time. I thought I could count on CNN, but apparenlty not.

    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. -K&H-

    Wow what a joke. I bet you if you have any friends of different Nationality right now your thinking what in the world is this election coming to. Race wars.. I wish people would stop thinking about making it about skin color as the RP wants you to think. This way of thinking is going to start to put America v America for what? A election because the RP might not win. Who cares I don't need neighbors looking at me funny because of the next Race war in America because RP did not win, you can't control everthing all the time. GOD BLESS AMERICA ALL AMERICA SAME OR DIFFERENT. LOVE YOU.


    October 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Kelly in Texas

    Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice. And . . . moderation in the pursuit of Justice is no virtue. – Barry Goldwater – a real conservative.

    Go Obama!

    October 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. paul (reformed republican)

    heidi b:

    The LA Times is not afraid of releasing the tape. They cannot release what does not belong to them...

    October 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. cm Independent

    Mr. McCain I feel sorry for you, because you are going down in history in a very sad way. My husband is a republican for Obama and he is sad, mad, disappointed about the Republican Party and you Senator, have some respect for yourself and stop this is very shameful.
    I am a independent and I can not believe you can attack Obama this way when you were Chairman of International Republican Institute and they gave money to the same guy you are using against Obama.
    How sad Mr. McCain you wrote history of your legacy this way.
    God Bless your sad and lonely soul.

    October 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. Frank

    Just MORE LIES from Senator McSlime! He has very very few useful policies and hasn't a clue about the rest. It's that time of the campaign where McSlime and Palin will and have tell any LIE in order to maybe get one more vote. John McCain, once respected, has truly turned into John McSlime!

    October 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. liz

    And if Obama is friends with him, SO WHAT?!?! Because he has a funny name and McCain says so he must be a terrorist? Anyone who dares to say that Israel isn't the shining beacon of peace in the middle east is a terrorist?

    According to Palin he is a terrorist for saying that Israel occupied parts of Palestine? Israel DID occupy Gaza and the West Bank in Palestine, for 40 years! That is simple historic fact that Israel doesn't deny.

    Here is an idea, read a history book! read a newspaper!

    October 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Voice of Reason

    Is this the best 'October Surprise' that McCain can come up with? I wonder how long they've been holding out on this one...

    The truth is that the McCain camp is far far behind in the polls, and their only hope is to make a some nasty accusation and make it sound evil and ominous, and (drum roll, please) Do it close enough to the election that no one will have time to factcheck and dismiss it as nonsense.

    How perfectly formulaic. Next is phase 2: McCain has already put it out in the public eye, now he'll shut up about it, but We'll see Palin spout it about a hundred times a day in ever more ominous and accusatory tones at 'stump speeches' in swing states from now until the election.

    Predictable, formulaic, and (most of all) PATHETIC.

    John McCain, you wouldnt recognize the man who ran in 2000. Even if he recognized you – he would be too angry to speak to you. You have betrayed your moral highground.

    You have become a desperate sellout, and unfortunately, that is how history will remember you.

    October 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Marc PDX

    I think Obama is going to go down in flames of his own making after he becomes the President. Too many things are off limits in his relatively short political background. He has the appearance of someone with some serious flaws that will inevitably come the surface eventually. Nothing will surprise me after seeing how many things about him cannot be discussed now.

    October 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Kelly from Florida:

    I think you're referring to "Tell Me Something Good".

    Too bad John McCain can't tell us anything good!

    October 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Independent voter

    What will it take to make you shut up McCain. I mean you used to be a decent person. Go away while you have some dignity left!

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