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. Katran Miller

    So, McCain authorized the grant money for Khalidi, then attacking Obama for knowing him?

    This election is getting weirder and weirder.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. steveg

    *sniff sniff* Smell that?

    It's a not-so-new scent by the GOP called "Desperation".

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. brian

    desperation literaly oozes from mccains sweat glands... the american public cares about the economy, not some far fetched story.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. snowball fight

    Reminds of my childhood snowball fights,someone always got mad and started throwing rocks.The Republicans always fight dirty,thats all their parents ever taught them.Lets start taxing churches and make up the deficit in one year.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Lisa

    The McCain-Palin campaign's desperation is complete. I hope they keep it up because time and time again, the American voters (save the right-wing, conservative base) have voiced that this type of negative attack does not influence their vote AND they end up holding a negative opinion of John McCain. He's doing his best to hand Barack Obama the Whitehouse.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Sam the Butcher

    Hypocritical Talk Express.

    We know, John, just like your running mate's socialist programs in Alaska.................IOKIYAR.

    Shameful. Go out with just a shred of your pride and decency McCain. This guy reminds me of an athlete that is way past his prime and is simply a shell of himself and looks foolish out there.
    McCain needs to have Cindy make him some hot cocoa and change his diapers.

    October 29, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. mollygonz

    You better watch it McSame! This man said that you have more connections to him than Obama does so you better be careful what you wish for!

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Nedra

    John McCain is really reaching with his new attacks on Obama. It seems that his attack dog (Palin) is following his downward spiral. Doesn't he (McCain) get it? There is absolutely nothing he can possibly do or say to win this election. Give up!!

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |

    Obama, your greatest talent is being a liar and a cheat.
    You fool, you are willing,gleefully, to ruin a great country.
    I pray everyday that you end up in Forest Lawn very soon.

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. 25 year old independent

    i'm sick of all of this, both candidates are acting like children!!!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Sunshine

    McCain, please stop.. You are acting like a kid and your insecurities about this election are shining very bright. Obama is not the one with the character flaws, apparently you are because look at how you are acting. Grow Up!

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Notice that McCain supported Khalidi too.
    More Rushpublican Fear and Smear, wrapped with hipocrisy.

    What about Socialist Palin, giving oil tax money to everyone in Alaska, whether they work and pay taxes or not. More Rushpublican hipocrisy

    Get Out The Vote !

    Barack On !

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Lola

    will mcshame ever stop whining! if you are against this man then why did you fund a group that he co-founded?


    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Donna

    As an observant Jew, I am completely comfortable with the idea of an Obama/Biden presidency. I am terrified by the idea of a McCain/Palin presidency, between McCain's willingness to pander to the extreme right and Palin's ties to radical "end times" groups.

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Edwina

    Can John McCain release any and all information about Sarah Palin and her affiliation with the Alaska Independence Movement? I've seen pictures of John McCain and Ted Stevens apparently speaking in hushed tones, does that make John McCain a felon? In fact, John McCain is in the same political party which could boast both Jesse Helms and Robert Bryd. Is John McCain a separatist? Give me a break. These people are pulling at every single straw they can. Have some dignity. John McCain at least has a reputation to try to salvage.

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. former gop

    I believe McCain would water-board his mother if it meant winning.

    October 29, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. mfelder

    Since we are attempting to release info, why not release the information regarding John McCain's involvement in the deaths of 134 Naval personel and the injury of some 164 personnel. The public has a right to know wny Senator McCain was never charged for this incident, due to his wrecklessness.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Preston

    I'm a lot more interested in knowing about Sen. McCain's involvement in a reportedly fatal automobile accident when he was a Naval officer in 1964. The Navy is refusing to release the information, but I am confident that they would be willing to do so if McCain gave the go-ahead. What about it, John? You're into full disclosure, right? RIGHT?

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. D&D

    Poor McCain, I wonder if he can actually sleeps these days!

    And if by miracle he does, what kind of dreams does he have? His image of congratulating Obama for winning the election? I wonder...

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Don

    Good example of the Liberal news media not wanting to tell the truth. And yes Scott in Atlanta he should be talking about Obama more than he does himself. All McCain is asking the people to look at the facts. Obama has no substance.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. Ken

    As reported by The Huffington Post

    Sen McCain also has a connection to Mr. Kalidi.Heck he chaired an organization that gave Mr Khalidi money.

    "In 1993, McCain became chairman of the International Republican Institute. He still chairs that respected organization.

    That same year, Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as “an independent academic research and policy analysis institution” created to meet “the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine.” (Its archived website is HERE.)

    Khalidi was on the board of trustees through 1999.

    According to tax returns the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 (click HERE to see the tax return)* as first reported by Seth Couter Walls at HuffPo."

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. McCain 08

    Why isn't CNN reporting on Obama using donations from pre-paid credit cards to get by the limits on individual donations? Why don't you get off the Obama bandwagon and try reporting the news instead of suppressing it

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Concerned in CA

    How sad it is to see this happening. Mr. McCain, while I have always respected you for your service to this country, I have totally lost respect for you during this campaign.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Does Obama Palin Comparison?


    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Adriana

    Sounds to me like John McCain and Eizabeth Dole are in the same "tank"! Lord help ALL HONEST AMERICANS! The Republicans WERE supposed to be the people who had "Christian values", displayed "honesty", "integrity", and "the seven fruits of the spirit"?????!!!!! Boy oh Boy, have MANY of us had our eyes opened in this campagin! What a revelation - and I don't mean "Revelations" in the Bible either!

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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