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. Kelly from Florida

    So anyone with a muslim sir name is fair game huh John?

    How about Chaka Khan? I heard he bought her record when he was 12.

    obama 08

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

    Pathetic. Where did the McCain we used to know go?

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Donn

    This is sad, very sad. I wonder if McCain knows what he is talking about. To say that because Obama knew someone and even talked to them makes him PLO sympathizer or worse is just awful. The RNC can't win by telling us any plans or proposals on economics or anything but they sure can tell half a story or pull the far, far right to make up lies.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. phillip, monterey ca

    poor mccain and the gop i bet if mccain saw a tape of himself from 2000 and 2004 he would not recognize himself by the way he is acting on the trail

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Karen from St. Louis

    Why are McCain's ties to the same group mentioned in the last paragraph? Stop giving these nut jobs credibility CNN! Old argument the RNC saved to roll out days before the election. How about a few headlines on Palin's acquaintences?

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Kim

    First, Barack is 'palling around with terrorists..."
    Then he's "involved in voter fraud..."
    Now, he's "a secret ally of the PLO" and the LA Times is "hiding the truth...."

    You know John, you should call your doctor. There are good drugs out now for treatment of paranoid delusions....

    Obama '08

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. On the home stretch

    Another example of the utter desperation of the McCain campaign – and also, evidence that Barack Obama is a person who is able to communicate and build dialogue across divides of culture and religion that McCain is simply not capable of... Perhaps we would have peace in the middle east, instead of this endless blood-letting, if we had leaders who were able to bridge these divides. This story simply confirms that Obama and Biden are the people we need to lead our country, at home and abroad.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Nancy

    Another cover-up by the Elite Main Stream Media.. Have all of the so called journelist sold their soles to the devil? Why don't they provide a printed version of the tape is they can't release the tape itself? Maybe it shows Obama's true nature? Wake up people... How many unsavor connections in Obama's past have to be covered-up? Why would you want him in control of your childrens future???? You may think you are chosing to vote for Obama, but others are swaying the information so you think he is the right chose... Check him out for your self. As my mother always said where there is smoke, there is fire...

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Paul

    Personally I'm more freightened of the 72 year old candidate whose campaign message changes every time the wind blows.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Echo - Independent

    Old Man Johnie Had a farm,
    ee ya ee ya O
    In that farm he had some pigs
    ee ya ee ya O
    Those pigs had lipstick on them,
    ee ya ee ya O
    Here a Pig,
    There a Lie,
    Here a Hate,
    There a smear,
    Here a Bush
    There a Cheyney
    Hera a Palin,
    There a dummy (McCain)

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. MARK

    I liked John McCain at one time. Too bad he listened to the teachings of Karl Rove and the boys. It really hurt him. His choice of Sarah Palin didn't help him either.

    October 29, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Kristin in Missouri

    If this meeting was so imporatant why was there only one video camera rolling? In a day and age of cameras everywhere there was only one??
    It's a conspiracy I tell ya- LOL

    Will he EVER learn??

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. McCrazy

    Such Desperation!!! The Ayers attack didnt work and now this?!?

    At this point, will McCain even have enough dignity left to work with his colleagues in the Senate?

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Larry

    Tomorrow the MaGoo camp will try to tie Senator Obama to Wile E. Coyote, a know terrorist who is out to get the "real" American known as Joe the Roadrunner.

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. NoPrty

    John McLame is DESPERATE AND PATHETIC. He has lost all sense of honor and will probably offer up his wife to the highest bidder if he thought it would get him votes. I am praying that he loses Arizona. He needs to be banished into retirement.

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. tiffany jackson

    This McCain guy is beyond me. You accuse Obama of being friends with someone who is against Israel. Yet, McCain funded the guy who is against Israel. WOw

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. LaJuan

    What next John? Obama this Obama that you are going to need therapy after next Tuesday becuase you have said this man's name so may times it's PATHETIC!!!

    give it up, it ain't working

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. ANGIE

    Mccain every time you try to throw crap out there on Obama It reveals the real things about you you sir are an Idiot!

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Ulrike

    God, this is sooo ugly – really in the spirit of McCarthy, if spirit is the right word.

    October 29, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |

    Old man McCain throwing the kitchen sink.

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Ken in Dallas

    Is this how it ends for the Republican party?

    This is desperate, repugnant, and the exact opposite of how our politicians should conduct themselves.

    I'm ashamed for them.

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. you mean Khalidi the renound international columbia U scholar ?

    Khalidi is a highly respected iternational scholar from one of the most respected american ivy league institutions, columbia univeristy in new york.

    I guess simply having a muslim name for Mcain means that you are either or terrorist or improper in some way

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Jennifer in Florida

    McCain and Palin have played about every card now. The deck is becoming quite low. The game will be over soon.

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. simmerdownow

    Oh Senator McCain...give it up already. You are soiling your already shakey reputation. Go out of this election with a little grace.

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. j

    When you see McCain think of Bush and all of the failed policies of the past 8 years. McCain voted with bush 90% of the time. McCain's philosophy miiror those of Bush and the Republican party.

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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