October 29th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
11 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. John Anthony

    The McCain campaign should just STOP IT with all this negative fearmongering! Next thing you know, they'll be saying Obama is distantly related to Genghis Khanm, Stalin, and Pontius Pilate! INSANE!!!

    October 29, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. all together now...

    How do you spell "desperation"?

    M-c-C-A-I-N

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Peter (CA)

    Heidi-
    Please pay attention.
    It's not the Obama campaign that asked to hold the tape. It was the SOURCE of the tape. But let me tell you why they shouldn't. It is 6 days to election day. The Republicans will splice the tape up to their liking and try to use it like a last minute surprise even though there is nothing there. Even though McCain has a closer relationship to Khalidi.
    Look at what is going on today. They got nothing yet both McCain and Palin are trying to make hay out of this.

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Chi4Obama

    John McCain, the "say or do anything" candidate.

    BTW, he still has failed to convince me how he is any different from his twin George W. Bush.

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Tired of the Nonsense

    Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Give it up old man....it's not working. The American public is smart enough to know better and we have had enough of you and George W. Bush.

    ENOUGH!

    Obama/Biden08

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Dan

    My goodness John, save what is left of your dignity and give up these types attacks. The country wants unite, (with the exception of the very radical right wing nuts that promote violence). Now go away, take your beer mistress and retire!

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Bryan

    "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.":

    'Nuff said. Shut Up McCain.

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Joanna

    When are they going to SHUT UP???!!! McCain/Palin have nothing to offer America except fear, smear, and hate. To quote Bill Clinton, "IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID". When are we as a nation going to say ENOUGH!?

    October 29, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. DANIELLE FROM VA

    Not again!

    October 29, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. The Audacity of Truth

    If you are really "fair and balanced", help us demand that the L.A. Times stop protecting Obama and release the Khalidi tape! If it were McCain or Palin at an event for a member of the KKK you wouldn't accept any excuses for not releasing it! As a Jewish American I demand to see it!
    –R.S.

    October 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. obama 08-12

    mccain and palin ,we are not brainwhashed or idiots,how in the world somebody that is running for the presidency will be teaming up with terrorists or being against the country he might lead,it does n't make any sense .that is why everytime,you coming out with this kind of lies,your numbers are shrinking.

    October 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Tired of the Nonsense

    To Mark PDX –

    McCain is a desperate liar with bad judgement as clearly shown by his choice of a so-called VP candidate.

    Don't believe EVERYTHING that's thrown at you. Do the research. Then judge.

    Obama/Biden08

    October 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. TjayeInLA

    Noah...you are terribly misinformed. McCain did interference for Keating with the deregulation and tried to protect him during the hearings. Also, he and Cindy had continued business relationships with Keating after the hearings. He had MUCH to do with the Keating 5, which is why he is 1/5 of the 5. He got off on that one for the same reason Cindy was not prosecuted for embezzeling from her foundation – they are filthy rich and feel above the law. Anyone else would have gotten time for what she did.

    October 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. I am For OBAMA/BIDEN

    Any port in a storm Senator McCain. One small note....If you focused on your own plans for the next 4 years you might be further ahead. Stop digging now.

    October 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. bruce

    The Verdict: False. What McCain is doing here, in part, is comparing apples and oranges. He compares two different aspects of Obama's tax plan as if they were the same. And Biden never said people making less than $150,000 are the "only" people who would get a tax cut under Obama's policies.

    Another lie as the one above that mcCain is trying to get those to believe.

    October 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Angel in Georgia

    lol TyWebb... that was funny

    October 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Luke NC

    What's wrong with taking a hard look at our foreign policy and peacefully resolving the decades old Israel-Palestine issue. As Clinton and others before him have strove to do. It certainly is a National Security issue going to the core of the Freedom and Democracy agenda of Bush, whose Roadmap to Peace was little other than lip service.

    October 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Frank

    So, let me get this straight.

    It's OK for McCain to give this guy money to advance his political agenda, but it's not OK for his kids to go to the same school as Obama's kids?

    What am I missing here? Oh, Yeah. Republicans lie. Sorry, I forgot.

    October 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Steviemo in MN

    CNN – You kinda buried the lead on this one...

    "...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."

    October 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Ben Merrill

    I thought the Navy was suppressing records that might implicate McCain in a serious automobile accident. If that is true, who is McCain to be making arguments about suppressing information. Doesn't he understand that each of his arguments dimminishes him as a candidate?

    October 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Tired of the Nonsense

    If this was credible information, it would have come out long before today.....think about it.

    Obama/Biden08

    October 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. dft

    McCain is Palin around with Bush.

    October 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Barbara NC- Go crochet something!

    Hate Hate Hate.. that is all I see.. From all the misspellings to the lies, to name calling to the smugness. The lefties on this board are sickening.

    October 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. RGG

    Even if true, what is wrong with having contacts with the PLO? The American administration has strong ties with the PLO at all levels. How many times did Secretary of State Rice and President Bush met with leaders of the PLO in Ramallah and elsewhere?. Those contacts should be encouraged if we have hopes for a lasting peace in the Middle East.
    The situation is simple. McCain is getting desperate and is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
    Don't waste time, go out and vote early for Obama/Biden.

    October 29, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Lou from CT

    Here we go again...trying to make something out of nothing...

    McCain/Palin – talk about the issues and stop the CREEP-style, Swift Boat, and splatter theory attacks – if you dare.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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