October 29th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain pushes Obama connection to Khalidi

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/mccain6.jpg caption=" 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. what the duce


    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Mik

    The McCain/Palin campaign is sure pushing racism to the top of the list. They are so morally corrupt. Hate begets hate.
    Besides what the heck does Palin know about foreign policy. This political hack called Palin said she knew nothing of world affairs when she was governing from her house in Wasilla for over 300 days in office. Charging her fellow Alaskans to work from home. No ethics, no Palin.

    There have already been 2 failed Republican administration's by George Bush. There cannot be another with McCain/Palin

    Fool us once. Shame on you.
    Fool us twice. Shame on me. Never again
    Fool us thrice. The end is near. You bet'cha

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. JILL

    Give it up John. We've wised-up since the last election.

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Pro-Israel for Obama

    I'm a pro-Israel Jew and there is ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION IN MY MIND: VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN 2008!!!!!

    I already cast my vote 🙂

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Ben

    Topic du jour. This is getting to be hilarious. McCain is so far gone that I'm starting to suspect post traumatic stress disorder. The man is a nut. It's sad really because he once was respectable–now he's like the crazy grandpa at family gatherings who starts ranting about nonsense after a few too many high balls.. And his dimwit sidekick is willing to spout whatever nonsense she is told. Fear, fear, fear. Is this really what Repubs respond to–are all of you that stupid?

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Shandra

    Obama does not scare me it is his rude, have nothing else better to do because I have no job and am waiting on a handout from the government followers that are scary. People please wise up for your country. If your not for it GET OUT !!!!! Voting for Barak you cannot love your country so LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Eric

    McCain needs to give up. He is too anxious to be president. Something is up with him. Maybe, war with Iran, and North Korea is on the agenda.

    October 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Dixie AZ

    Sorry, John. I won't be watching you and Larry King this evening. No slight to Larry, but I can't take anymore of you.

    October 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. joe

    Well, it is policts, as usuals, divide and RULES.
    Well, it is policts, as usuals, divide and RULES.
    Well, it is policts, as usuals, divide and RULES.
    Well, it is policts, as usuals, divide and RULES.
    Well, it is policts, as usuals, divide and RULES.
    lies, lies and then , divide and RULES.

    October 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Mr T---Canadianthought

    DESPERATION!!!!! A couple of Desperate and BANKRUPT OF IDEAS MAVERICKS.

    When you cannot run on your party's record, when the current president, a Republican, is shunned and does not campaign with you, when some of the older voters prefer fear and insinuations, when so called'christians' show their hatred for their fellowman, and embrace gossip and rumours, then we know that a change is really needed.

    The Republicans have only a slim chance to win this election, so they are pulling out the 'Halloween Masks'--INTIMIDATION AND FEARMONGERING.

    They are as Bankrupt of ideas as the country is. By using these tactics to get the Jewish vote; one has to really ask about their moral scruples.

    October 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. The Republicans are comedic GOLD!

    Lame and desperate = McCain and Palin

    October 29, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Joel Parkes

    Go home, John.

    October 29, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Tom in Atlanta

    Who cares? They were acquaintances at Chicago, and he has no sway on Obama's opinion/policy in the region. This holds just as water as the McCain Hagee relationship.

    October 29, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. abel sterling


    October 29, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. David

    Get your head out of your bum McCain

    October 29, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Elka

    For 8 years we considered ignorance and arrogance to be the qualities we need in a president. Why not vote for someone who is educated, has connections to the academic community and wants to talk to the world? McCain, convince me that you will stop the kiling of our children for oil and will vote for you!

    October 29, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Mel in GA

    Reaching Once Again REACHING

    October 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. SideLiner

    I was listening to CNN's coverage of this issue on TV. CNN has repeatedly failed to highlight the more direct Link between McCain and this same guy obama is been linked to. while i believe this smear tactics won't stick, one can never under-estimate the power of the media!

    October 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Tom

    I have been trying to post on CNN for a couple of months. There seems to be a slant with CNN regarding what can be said about Obama but not what can be said about McCain. I try to bring up some things about the great hero's record when he was in a POW camp that should nullify his becomming Commander-In-Chief and it gets no air or print. I am a Vet and people need to know the truth about this "War Hero" and how the press had crafted this image of him that is not true. I don't know why I am writing this since no one will see it.

    October 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Nathan

    These pathetic moronic Republicans and their robotic uneducated supporters who stand around while their savings and there kids futures are being robbed by McCain and his Bush henchman want to discuss something that has no consequence for their future. They would rather be robbed by someone who looks like then instead of helped by someone who looks different. These lost souls by anything McCain and that snake Palin tell them. Never mind that the 2 of them are the biggest hypocrits who have usually already done what they've accused their opponents doing. If Mccain wins we deserve exactly what happens to this country. He'll just finish the destruction that Bush started.

    October 29, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Give it up McShame

    Seriously! McShame and Faklin concede! Hey guess what I have friendships with Germans, Italian, Jewish, French and Indian..... just to name a few. Hey some of them smoke pot and some even worse. Some don't attend church, some are conservative or republican. Stop with the double standards, your racist tactics are disgusting. I wish this guy would just stop talking. Hopefully after Obama beats McShames a*s McShame will go back to where he belongs..... out of the public eye!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. wes

    What about McCain's connection to Bush? Mr. Start Wars But Does Not Finish Them Himself.....countless people dead.......for what? Where's the cheap oil?

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

    "Noah" Taking a name like that does not make you a bonified christian. Obama has style and he IS NOT even bringing up the FACTS about McCain because he is a better person and has better judgement along with a calm, cool temper. He KNOWS what is good and right for America and even McCain does not have facts, just "hearsay"...I need not state more...

    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. jo


    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. FL Battleground

    The reason why 44% are buying all this crap: RACISM. If Obama were white with a "white" name...it would be a landslide already. We don't get to pick our parents or our name, folks. A vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for more corruption in Washington. They BOTH have been found guilty of abuse of power and ethics problems. Yeah, that's who I want around for another four years. But, since Halloween is approaching...here's something scary...


    October 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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