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. Alex

    Rubbish tactic or negative campaigning. Issue needs to be thrown in the trash. It is less than a weak and RNC is utilizing vauable time with cheap blows that won't even stick. Think harder RNC...

    October 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    WAAAAAAAAA... all they do is CRY and WHINE....

    Tell us more about the KEATING SCANDAL and McCain's ties to that?

    How about some spin on Palin's ABUSE OF POWER in Alaska????

    WAAAAAAAA.... cry away, losers... and then go buy a new record; we're tired of this broken one....

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Rose Black

    i pray that McCain and Palin can ride into the sunset and is never heard from again. i am so sick of their devisive campaigning.and lies . They both seam to be stooping to all lows possible just to get elected.

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. jaye

    John McCain is laughable!
    I think we Americans need to know about John McCain's adultery – about him leaving his crippled wife and his sons in order to commit adultery with the young rich Cindy – we need to know more about John McCain's gambling and drinking problem – we need to know if he really did abuse his wife and call her filthy names – we need to know more about Cindy's record of stealing drugs from her own charity.....ETC. ETC.
    Come on John....fess up!

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Tim

    Hmmm, maybe they should look at McCain's relationship with Khalidi as well.

    In 1998, McCain, as chairmen of the International Republican Institute gave $500k to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies. A group, Khalidi helped found.

    So does that mean McCain is supporting Neo-Nazis?

    Peter, how about an update to this story?

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Chi4Obama

    Ho Hum, Grasping for straws.

    I'm just waiting for the GOP to release more rhetoric related to Rev. Wright. McCain and his campaign are so predictable, and pathetic.

    Barack the Vote
    Obama-Biden

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. McCain: liar, cheater, adulter

    You are a disgusting OLD FART!

    Obama has been kind enough not to bring up about your past which shows he is a man of intelligence. I wish he would especially about your black illegitimate child!

    Your next stop: Old Folks home or a tombstone with your name carved on it, in Hell!

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. STOP THE HATE

    What about Iran Contra John, What about Charles Keating and your buddy Joe??
    What about Palin's support of the AIP, John, my friend...

    As Obama said so well. The way you are running your campaign says so much more about YOU than it does about him.

    God, I can't wait until Wednesday November 5th so these LOSERS in every sense of the word will be DONE.

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Kate

    John has been funding a terrorist?

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Pete

    Why don't you do the same, so we can see the tape and make up our minds?

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. michael

    What are you Libs afraid of???

    October 29, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Don't we need a President who can sit down among leaders with many different viewpoints-and lead them towards a unified reality?

    Sounds like good training to me.

    Too bad Obama wasn't able to sit at a few luncheons with GW Bush before he became President. Perhaps some restraint and common sense would have rubbed off!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. AJWTexas!

    We are observing the most racially motivated and profiling smear campaign ever witnessed by our wonderful country. I am truly amazed and yet ashamed of the evil spirit of my fellow "sister".

    Palin has been a disgrace to not only the Republican party but also to the female species. Her demeanor, opinions and lack of intelligence has been so obvious to the American people that our comedians are banking on Palin"s short comings.

    McCain"s VP selection of Palin was to "inspire" the female voting constituencies. Instead, we, the strong and determined women of America, are ridiculed by this gesture.

    The internal Republican party divide regarding Palin"s selection speaks louder than any commentary, editorial and news soundbite than one could ever imagine.

    It is the year for change,unity and for a positive movement within our country. We can no longer accept the old line of division that the Republicans are so opening representing.

    --------------------------–

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Chi4Obama

    Hmmm,
    Is this the big "October surprise", that the Rethuglicans have been warning us about??

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. jaye

    John McCain is laughable!
    I think we Americans need to know about John McCain's adultery – about him leaving his crippled wife and his sons in order to commit adultery with the young rich Cindy – we need to know more about John McCain's gambling and drinking problem – we need to know if he really did abuse his wife and call her filthy names – we need to know more about Cindy's record of stealing drugs from her own charity.....ETC. ETC.
    Come on John....fess up!
    Now, lets talk about Sarah Palin and her misdeeds.....

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    THIS TOO WILL BACKFIRE ON MCCAIN AND PALIN. NEITHER MCCAIN OR PALIN SUPPORT ISRAEL, THEY ONLY USE ISRAEL FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES. CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF.

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Janet Jacme

    Oh my God, John! That changes everything! How can I vote for Obama, when he has connections to ter- Oh wait- I already voted early.

    Maybe I'll vote for you and your idiot running mate in 2016. Don't hold your breath though.

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. STEVE

    I haven't believed a word McCain said ever since I heard he claimed to have invented "The Blackberry".

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. J P from MD

    Should the Press stoop to McCains level?????????????

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. bruce

    So he also had ties to this person...
    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.

    so perhaps we should be afriad of McCain on this issure as well.
    Come on Jonh...talk about the problems and what you are going to do to fix this nation..stop the negative...if that is all you have to offer then shut your campaing down and go home.
    We want the issues discussed not smears and innuendo....perhaps Obama should bring up the statement you sighned as POW?

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Wake me when it's over

    According to McCain, Obama is a terrorist, a socialist, a communist and now an enemy of Israel. What will McCain call Obama next? A reincarnation of Hitler?

    I've had it with McCain and his smears. November 4th can't get her soon enough.

    October 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Tiff of lithia springs

    Can we say BACKFIRE! For the umpteenth time.

    Apparently all of these people Ayers Obama this new guy Khalidi were all professors at the same college.

    Nov the 4th can't get here fast enough.

    Heaven help us!

    Georgians hang tight in those lines.

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. David

    Wow, how much more of the sketchy past can come out? Both of these candidates are not worthy of our vote. They will not serve us. It is time for a viable third party that will truly adhere to the Constitution and not pay it lip service like these candidates.

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. wycliffe, NJ

    McCain should stop listening to Sean Hannity...and the Hardline republicans. We do not need this silliness. I am an Independent voter, even with the release of the tape, it wont sway my heart to his directions. I am concerned with the economy, not who had dinner with who, who contributed what to who

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Kristine

    It would be really great if McCain and Palin could focus on the real issues (the economy, health care, outsourcing) that deeply affect Americans on a day-to-day basis. The closer McCain and Palin get to Election Day, the more they focus on irrelevant issues and the false idols they have created to cover their lack of substance and cohesion. I agree with Scott in Atlanta that this is not a winning formula...

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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