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. becky in Ohio

    I am still sickened by the "Godless" remarks aimed at ALL Democrats and Independents in this country. I am sick of McCain and his divisive advertising, I am sick of a dim-witted woman running for VP who has set women in this country back 40 years, I am sick of being called unpatriotic, I am sick of LIES, LIES, and more LIES from the party that claims to be God loving and patriotic.
    A true Patriot would NEVER act as McCain by dividing this nation, and a true Patriot would never be part of the Alaskan Independence Party that wants to tear away from our Great Country.
    I don't care what religion my leaders are, I don't care what color – I DO CARE about INTELLIGENCE. There's something we have not had in eight years and I don't want a repeat!

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

    And you 'my friend' gave him grant money. Hypocrite much?

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. brian

    paul, yes it does...

    October 29, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    Is John McCain truly so hellbent on winning he'll stop at nothing? He's pitted us against each other, and attempted to thrown even the kitchen sink at Obama. There's race bating, fear, and hate in all he and Sarah do. How does he propose we heal after all of this is over. I'll never look at the Republican base without bias ever again.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |

    When is he going to talk about the issues and not President Obama. this old guy is such a loser. they want to look into every conversation or party Obama has attended his whole life. this is truely sad. mcsame and mcpalin are both stupid losers. I feel sorry for them. they have tried everything. so for once try talking about the issues and stop trying to put fear in everyone. mcsame and pitbull are fear mongers and war mongers. total losers.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Red, Red WHINE!!

    McCain ol boy, your blatant lies and utter incompetence are no longer acceptable. Perhaps the navy felt it was ok for you to be a failure, and perhaps Vietnam appreciates your service to them, the 32 propoganda films you made for them and the sensitive information you willingly turned over to them. Perhaps Cindy appreciates your inability to be an unfaithful husband. Perhaps the chinese like you for all of our jobs that you have sent to their country.

    But we see your record for what it is, a consistant streak of turning on your country and turning on your wife. We will not let your lies to undermine our great nation persuade us to abandon her, as you so willingly choose to. GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY TRAITOR!

    Obama: Patriotic American who won't ditch his country when the going gets rough.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Palin has misused her power and the campaign money!!!

    This is exactley why you are behind in the polls, we the real American people are sick of hearing the attacks trying to make us afraid to vote for Obama. When will you learn that we are on to you, Bush won the last 2 elections using these same tactics and look where it got us. Your campaign tactics show your character which means that you are dirty liars. I am so sick of the filth of this Repub party. Calling the Democrates none Christian, Socialist,Communist, Marxist, McCarthyism. The Republicans are in deed Facist and they think they are right and everybody else is wrong. I am sick of them and I hope that they don't think that any Independant or Undecided voter would choose to vote for them because they have smeared and lied on their opponants. I am an Independant who will never vote for a Republican especially after watching them this campaign season, they make me sick with their hatred for people who aren't like them or agree with them.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. James

    This guy is just disgusting. He keeps saying we should know the full relationship. Mr. McCain, if you know the full relationship, tell us, tell us how much you know! I thought so! Now shut up you old bag of garbage!

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Irma in North Carolina

    John you and Sarah are disgrace to this Country. John I am waiting for you to loose your home state, I see it is a pretty close race. How come your wife is not out their compaignin for you. As Sarah says it will be a task of God to take you and Sarah out of this election and let you loose. The lord works in mysterious ways.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. lil

    This man just donot quit he is by far the nastiest person I have known to run for president even worst than george bush. I guess hes trying to
    get back at bush for 2000.
    You keep on mccnasty you want have any credibility after the election
    you have distroyed yourself.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Jeffer65

    If Ayers and Khalidi are so bad, why are they not in jail?

    Is this the six degrees of Obama? Where does Kevin Bacon come in?

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. T in the Big D

    Seven days out and he's stil stuck on Ayers. So much for not caring about an "Old washed up terrorist".

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Debra Austin, Texas

    Typical facist. McCain and Palin need to find a country that better repsents his view of government. It might just be North Korea or Iran.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Peter (CA)

    Nice–so he probably has as strong a tie as Obama does.
    Love how the Republicans work the angles.

    I'm sure there will be plenty of right wingers foaming at the mouth about this and trying to find a story in their desperation.

    October 29, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Essay

    Let's see, a dinner conversation versus over $800K in funding. McCain is absolutely clueless. Much like McCain's "pitbull" cohort, this story is all bark and no bite.

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. vj CT

    I choose to vote for the candidate who has given ideas on how to fix the mess this country in. I plan on voting for the candidate who wants this country to be UNITED. I plan on voting for the candidate who is calm and stays on message.

    I will not vote for the candidate who has not given ideas. I will not vote for the candidate who only attacks the other's character. It's one thing to attack policy and a far different one to attack his character. I will not vote for the candidate who wants to divide this country and who insults half the country by calling us "unpatriotic" or "unAmerican".

    Six days.

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. gary

    Mcsame and palin are complete scumbags.No integrity at all.

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Dem in Ohio

    This is from the Huffington Post on 10/28/2008. McCain is taking a big chance that this will backfire on him.
    "During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

    A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, "West Bank: CPRS" on page 14 of this PDF.)

    The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."

    Of course, there's seemingly nothing objectionable with McCain's organization helping a Palestinian group conduct research in the West Bank or Gaza. But it does suggest that McCain could have some of his own explaining to do as he tries to make hay out of Khalidi's ties to Obama"

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. you mean Khalidi the renound international columbia U scholar ?

    Khalidi is a highly respected iternational scholar at 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 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. White Christian Mother for Obama

    OH my goodness... give it a rest already!!

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. KayLynn

    For crying out loud....will McCain ever stop?
    OBAMA/BIDEN in 08

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Sama A.

    There is nothing wrong with talking to a Palestinian.

    But anyway, Obama has more than made it clear who he favors in the Palestinian – Israeli conflict. I don't know any Palestinian that thinks that Obama is for them. All American politicians trip over themselves to denounce Palestine and proclaim their undying love for Israel.
    Obama is no exception. Ask the pro-Israeli/Jews in Chicago. They love Obama.

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Steve

    Looks as though they haven't learned their lesson following the failed Ayers strategy – I think there is some evolution metaphor appropriate here...

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. alex

    This makes no snese Mccain gave money to the man's research center. Why is he complaining about Obama being his collegue. Mccain is sad!

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. W. Fost

    McCain and his crew are really desparate at this stage.

    October 29, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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