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. Friends

    why most of Sen Obama's those 900 so-called friends turn out to be radicals ?

    We only know about 10 of them, where are those 890 hiding ?

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Mike, Vancouver

    I think the great Senator McCain should keep talking about Senator Obama and just keep spewing his drivol and keep wiping his mouth like in the clip I saw the other day. He was so worked up, in a frenzy of some sort as he had to wipe the spit from his lips every 10 words as he was calling Senator Obama down.

    I don't think Vladimir Putin would think he is strong, I think he would see a fool as he does not have a poker face, you can read him like a grade three book.

    His attacks are often followed by a very smug look and crazed smile as he thinks his last spear has done damage.

    McCain does not realize his fishing line is caught on the back of his pants, I cannot wait untill he really pulls hard.

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. HD

    Awwwwwww c'mon, dude. It's over… "Obama said to have intimate ties with Wyle E.Coyote…"

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Republicans for Obama

    McCain himself has an extensive relationship with Khalidi, including providing his group with hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money. In the 90's McCain was the chairman for International Republican Institute , McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars. She should check the facts before she goes out to give her attack speeches and end up looking like an idiot.
    In McCain's eyes anyone who has an acquaintance, friend, or has crossed paths with a person from the Middle East is a terrorist.
    McCain get in one of your 13 cars and drive home to one of your 9 houses and stay there. On the way drop off Palin at the airport she needs to go home as well.

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Sam Jones

    Colin Powell has kissed Yasar Arafat on the head ... does that make him somehow bad?! What kind of non-sense is McCain throwing out – he clearly doesn't care about protecting his reputation.

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Steve

    More desparation tactics from the McCain camp. Also, a bit hypocritical based upon McCain's group giving this individual grant money. I can't wait for Tuesday to be here.

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Dawn

    Duh! He most like has more skeleton's in his closet than Obama. People meet people, remember Sarah Palin's husband is a card carrying member of the AIP? She abused her power? She gives the the Christians a bad name. I may not be a Christian, but I was actually baptist one, Christianity is suppose to be all about love. Sarah Palin you better find your witch-hunter Priest and ask for more protection!

    Go Obama/Biden08/12

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Stef

    John McCain is so jealous of Obama, he can taste jealously, this man is about the have a nervious breadtown, he can't take the competition. Someone in the Republican party needs to tell him to take a chill pill. He looks so tired and frustrated, while Obama is handsome as ever, so cool and calm. Michelle you Go Girl!

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. MGR, Orlando, FL

    So what.....

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. JW

    tit 4 tat

    Play with fire and you will get burned!

    Continue to fabricate schemes and story's about an individual, to further your personal goals, is morally and ethically wrong. Use sterotypes and derogatory language to offend half the globe with these ridiculous claims of Anti-Americanism. All you accomplish is dividing this counrty and instilling the same fear and aggression to our allies.

    You have just hepled the Terrorists, My Friends!!

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Heidi From OKC

    I tried very hard to come up with a statement that would not sound like I was a freak, but in all reality I am very upset that McCain would suggest that because you are born a Palestinian you are part of the PLO. I also do not feel it is right to say Obama has tied to the PLO because he taught at the same school as Khalidi. Or that he will not give up on the Ayers thing.

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Karen Sullivan

    Pathetic....McCain that is. And they have the nerve to say the press is biased against them??? I mean, they create their own negativity. Just reporting on their tactics does make the press bias; it simply is what it is. McCain's camp has sunk to knew lows. And he with his Keating 5 backround and definate involvement has the nerve to spew this stuff out? He is grasping at straws. The numbers must be much worse for him than I can possibly imagine for him to stoop to this level. It's not even enough of an excuse anymore. He has become a pathetic human being and Palin is worse. Good riddens to both of you!

    October 29, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. fed up republican

    When is McCain going to realize that the smears are not working.We know how he feels about Obama. I want to know how he plans to fix the economy, end the Iraq war, health care and energy. He said he wants to balance the budget in the first term he is in office. I want to know what his plan is to achieve his goal. I see McCain as McSame. Just more of the same. It is really about the economy stupid. I have been a registered Republican for the past 25 years. White female Christian conservative. I am jumping ship an voting Democratic. I early voted for Obama and everyone else who wasn't a Republican. I am sure that there are plenty of Republicans just like me. Who knows the great state of Texas may surprise you and turn blue.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. kinglywarrior

    This is the most childish campaign I have ever been a part of. McCain has no message, only constant finger pointing and attacks on his opponent. He has made NO effort to reinforce what MCCAIN stands for, only weak repeat attempts to slow the Obama train that is barreling down the tracks toward him...

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. CitizenAJ

    Yet another asked and answered accusation, just like Bill Ayers. Wow, do you now have to ask people you meet and befriend what is your faith, interest and political background now in this country? Unless you can prove that Senator Obama was supportive of anti-semitism or actually spoke out against Israel, then get off of it. What we have heard from Senator Obama is support of Israel. You have Jesse Jackson sharing his views, but not those of the candidate and now the McCain-Palin ticket bringing up old news to stir up tension in the Jewish-American community on the eve of the election. Pitiful!

    What is really sad, other respectful republican politicians have bought into this way of campaigning. Elizabeth Doles ad in North Carolina is suprising yet telling of the desparation of the republican party. I never thought she would stoop to these tactics.

    When you campaign this way, bringing up false accusations, the other side investigates YOU for similar instances. What did they find, McCain gave the foundation this guy was with and/or ran $450K. Seems to me it is a wash but giving this "suspected Israel hater" that large sum of cash is a bit more damaging to me than sitting at a farewell dinner with him. Again, here is a guy who is teaching in American institutions. This is so hypocritical.

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. TAYO, NY

    This man has lost all his honor. He has nothing to offer to American people and the only thing he can talk about is making false attacks on his opponents.

    Well, American people will not buy this.

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. independent for Obama

    McCain funded this man's group for 1,000,000.00. McCain and Palin worry me because of the way they run their campaign. It indicates how they would run the country. They don't check facts. They just spout out hate and devisive remarks and hope americans will just buy into it.

    Then they gave this idiot Joe the plumber a microphone and a platform and he is out there spouting out hateful things as well. John McCain has to know that after this election is over we will all have to live in this country together. He is making it hard for the healing to happen. I pray for him and his campaign because they are full of so much hate.

    God help them

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Moxie

    Where does all of this vile hate come from? I could care less who wins this election, that is how sick and tired I am of the entire process; but between the lack of language skills and spelling of most of these posters – and the back and forth lies from the 2 camps, why would anyone still listen. People will believe what they want to believe. It doesn't matter one whit what either of them have to say. If you have decided to vote for Obama, then that is who you will vote for, no matter what McCain says. And vice versa. The fact that this nation has been reduced to a nation of whiners and viscious posters tells me all I need to know. I just find it interesting that BOTH of the men are telling lies and half truths, but Obama's fans don't seem to recognize the possibility that their hero is capable of this disgusting behaviour. And as for McCain's followers, where were they when GWB was lying through the fog in his head. I seem to remember Bush decrying the shameful corruption and bipartisanship in Washington, and how he was going to "clean things up". A lot of people fell for that too. Get the facts for yourselves Americans or heaven help us all!!
    (Try posting this one for a change, will you?)

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Steven

    I voted for Obama today in Georgia. Please do your part too.

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Sue

    McCain should have tossed out the Karl Rove play book long ago.

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Abe

    I am still waiting for McCain to tell me what he'll do to get us out of this economic recession.

    Does he really thinks that people will vot for him by simply bashing the other candidate and not providing any new policy???????

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. lmc in Seattle

    We all better start keeping track of every single acquaintance, every person we meet, just in case we are called on it later! Has the US become a police state? If we don't meet and talk with people of all races, countries, religions, political persuasions, how will we ever learn about the world? Palin and McCain are desperately picking at every detail they can think of to win–part of their "winning is everything" strategy. Let's pick apart some of McCain's acquaintances! Or better yet, let's worry about whether he could have been brain washed! Most of the public is interested in important issues, not these negative diatribes!

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Rose the white woman

    So if they both have limited ties to the same person why would McCain want to bring that attention to himself. I am SO tired of the RNC in this election. And Obama raised this large amount of money from people like me. I donated $15 to the Obama campaign which was all I could afford. I'm sure the RNC will want to look into me, too!

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Pooya

    I used to see allegations like these thrown around by the fundamentalists in the IRANIAN "elections" when I lived in Iran.

    Go figure!

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Julie

    Issues McCain...stick to the issues.
    You will get a lot more people listening to you.
    You are looking like a desparate man. You should of stuck to your regular plan of going on the issues and the race clean....
    It is now a muddy mess!
    Mr. McCain you are the one with mud of his face.

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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