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. Cackles in Pennsylvania




    October 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Rob

    Hey, No McCain-Palin –> And Barrack's plan will ruin America. Although, seeing as you probably sit on your butt all day and complain about how you are oppressed, his plan will help you stay in the lazy lifestyle you've becomed accustomed to.

    If Barrack wins, not only will he be the first black president, he'll be the last president. Congrats Barry, you'll make it in the history books twice. Once for stealing your way to become the first black prez, and once for being the president who ruined and destroyed America (with Pelosi and Reid's help of course). Pat yourself on the back Barry, you put the final nail in America's coffin.

    But then again I guess this was the ultimate goal of you best buddy Bill Ayers, so we know at least someone will be pleased with the mess you'll cause.

    October 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Enrique - Weaverville NC

    It seems that the old "maverick" can not shake the old republican traits during presidential campaigns, it appears that is very difficult for him to focus on the real issues. With this, whatever good image Mr. McCain could have had is now melting. No question that there is a lot of last minute desperation.

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

    What about McCain/Keating issue? that is very trashy what Republicans are doing


    October 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Mb

    Mccain gave him money and Obama just knew him personally. WHO IHAD THE MOST IMPACT. MONEY TALKS MY FRIENDS

    October 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. me

    is it just me or does John McCain look like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons all I want to know is where the hell is Mr. Smithers.

    October 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. LJ in MD

    Is this Joe the Terrorist?
    Khalidi must be someone John MkKKain wants to help because he gave Khalidi $450,000 to fund his organization.
    Why doesn't the press just slap him silly each time he opens is mouth and spouts this kind of crap?

    October 29, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. kendall

    Politicians are supposed to represent the entire country, the entire melting pot.
    But you can't be a senator, or Representative if your not christian, any relationship you have that's not white is not right, What a load crap
    -John who gave money to the man. Before Obama was even thinking politics

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. suzyku

    Isn't it mcblame who supported him?

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Deb

    There goes...John McCain will do and say anything to try and STEAL this election. This is a hero to be immortalized??? Give me a break this is one of two mavericks this country can do with out. The other is also spreading hatred in another "pro American" part of the country.

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. ELF

    You know what, this is really pitiful. These people will stop at nothing. McCain/Palin are so busy majoring on the minor, they can't remember their morals. I would hate to think that these people would get in the White House and try so hard to connect the opposition with the enemy, until they forget to protect Joe the Plumber. What a shame this has come to. I will be so glad when November 5th gets here so this foolishness can be put to rest. I have had enough.

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. West Virginia for Obama

    I have begun to detest John McCain almost as much as I detest Sarah Palin.

    Obama/Biden 2008
    For our children's future.

    October 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. BJ

    McCain/Palin have stooped to a new low. Can't wait until Nov 4. to vote for Obama/Biden.

    October 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. HouseDiva

    i cant wait till Nov. 4

    the whole WORLD is going to celebrate when Obama wins.

    October 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Richard

    In reading a great deal of the blogs here on CNN, I find the majority of the entries to be offensive. This represents a more serious problem in our country – it is clearly apathy.

    Regardless of who is running for president – we ALL have the right to our own opinion. But, such as life, candidates must be prepared to face questions pertaining to relationships; and in this case, I would like to be my own judge of the video being held by the Los Angeles Times. If, in fact, it is offensive to Jews, then Obama should be held accountable and provide a full explanation. Only then can we make individual opinions in favor or against.

    October 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Jerry

    This is exactly why McCain is losing. While Obama is preparing to go on prime time TV to address the many issues and difficulties America is facing. McCain is fear mongering and race baiting. John McCain, you sir are a disgrace to the United States Senate.

    October 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Lois

    Congrats, McCain and Palin, for not only continuing to run your campaign into the ground, but for also inciting such hatred and divisiveness among Americans, that your supporters are only able to scream for more bs thrown at Obama as opposed to why you are the better ticket.

    Your hate rallies are terrifying and should be condemned. Awful, awful people, you two are...

    October 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. LT for Obama


    Your information is quite flawed. Maybe you should do better research before posting information that is incorrect. McCain's involvement with Keating and the Keating 5 was far deeper and he was instrumental in blocking senate investigations for two years allowing Keating to continue his misdeeds. His personal relationship with Keating had a lot to do with that.

    October 29, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Ben

    Republicans bring shame to the generation before and after with all the untruth!..If that is what it means to be a conservative...Republicans will continue to shrink as a party!

    October 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Peter (CA)

    I love it. It's been now shown that McCain had a closer relationship with Khalidi than Obama did. So:
    *Attack on McCain campaign worker--nope
    *2001 interview where Obama supports reparations-nope
    *Close relationship with member of PLO-–nope
    *Friend of terrorists, Marxist, socialist, secret spy for Zur, the evil warlord of the planet Xenon-nope, nope, nope, nope

    The McCain campaign is so sad and pathetic. It's hard not to feel a little sorry for him but every time he speaks and lies about Obama, he loses all my sympathy.

    October 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Independent woman for Obama.

    They can attack all they want, but the "McCainiacs" on here should think about this...because the Dems are running an HONORABLE campaign with FAR less slander and name calling the "deep, dark secrets" of the McCain/Palin ticket haven't been so visible.

    Sure Sarah Palin gets made fun of in skits for her idiocy, but I don't believe she is stupid...I believe she is a vile, sneaky human being who has already been found guilty of unethical behavior while in office. Where is that story? And where is the story about her ties to a the AIP? The fact that she appears to want to rewrite the Constitution to fit her own agenda? Or McCain's ties to ACORN and Keating 5? His adultery? His wife's drug abuse and embezzling? And that is all I could just come up with off the top of my head! People say that they don't know Obama, but how well do you clowns really know your own candidate?

    I cannot wait for next Tuesday so I can cast my vote. This whole thing has just become completely ridiculous. I totally admire Senator Obama for the way that he has handled this whole campaign and I hope against hope that we keep this scummy Repub ticket away from the White House.

    October 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Country First?

    John McCain touts a country first mantra, then 'picks' the most
    unqualified woman to be VP. How are they going to protect us? How is
    SHE going to protect us? The qualifications for Vice President are the
    same as the qualifications for President. Sara Palin is not qualified for
    either position. Goodness help us if McCain is captured AGAIN while
    he is asleep in the white house. His judgement did allow him to crash
    three planes after all. How will they protect us. People who vote for
    Palin would be aiding and abetting the destruction of our country. At
    least Obama and Biden have been properly vetted.

    Democrats 08

    October 29, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. mbg

    I think it is time to finnally label Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin racist. I hate using that term but they are throwing the name Khalidi to paint Obama as a terrorist. However, if McCain and Palin want to go down that road. How about the fact that McCain gave 500,000 dollars to this mans group. So is it fair to say McCain funded a terrorist. The point is this is nothing more than dirty mudslinging polotics. McCain now has no integrity. This is sad because I feel Sen. McCain is capable of so much more. Now Sen. Dole has thrown a handgrenade about Hagan being "Godless" it is truely sad that the Republican Party as a whole is doing this. I cant wait till this is over for me. I will not be upset if Obama/ Biden start going after McCain/ Palin if they want to play ugly and point the finger Obama has the money to do this. However, as a leader he has chosen not to that is what a true leader does. McCain needs a lesson in that regard. I hope not only does McCain lose the election he also looses his Senate seat. Americans can no longer can live in fear they we must come together and solve all our problems as Americans. That is exactly what the RNC wants fear and name calling in these trying time we dont have time for school yard bullies. We need change Obama is that change.

    Obama 08 and 12

    October 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. suzyku

    We are pretty sick and tired of mccain and his blame game. He has ties to terrorists, g.gordon liddy, and this guy, too. He's been involved in some pretty suspect groups, including one anti semetic group! He's running a dirty campaign, he has no ethics, no integrity and he does not put country first, he puts himself first and his stupid blind ambition! He's a dirty, nasty, old man with absolutely no judgment!

    October 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. John McCain JUST DOESN'T GET IT

    Why doesn't "SOMEONE" in the GOP Party pull John McCain aside and tell him he is make an abosulte "FOOL OF HIMSELF". His actions day after day are so erratic that no one can follow along with him. This is a Shame. This man has lost ALL dignity, grace and honor. John McCain needs to STOP the day to day polticial slanders, he doesn't stick to one smear more than 2 days. The next couple of days there is something else.

    John McCain and Sarah Palin are bring DISGRACE to the GOP.
    In 2012 the next candidate will have try and fix all the damage these two have done to the GOP Party.

    John McCain/Sarah Palin – Think of the GOP Party..........Don't destroy the whole party for the good of yourselves.


    October 29, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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