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)

    McCain will do anything.....ANYTHING.......to steal the Presidency for the BUSH people! SHAME ON HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the more reason WHY he should not become the president of the USA.

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. Already Voted Obama

    The only reason McCain's ties to all sorts of unsavory people aren't constantly being cited in the press is that Obama's campaign has decided it doesn't need to play these stupid games. They could talk about the Keating Five and Cuban terrorists all day long if they wanted to. There's a pretty simple reason McCain just spends all his time smearing Obama: he doesn't have anything to say for himself. The GOP ticket has no vision for this country, no real ideas, and that's why we've seen such a swerving, erratic, confused message coming from them.

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Georgia for Obama

    McCain would say and do anything to win this election,,,,,,,McCain need to tell Palin to pack her bags and go home

    McCain by the way I took 10 people to the poll and we voted early for Obama/Biden.....McCain/Palin are crooks and lier

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. bernadette

    once again the McCain/Palin/Rove/Bush/Cheney campaign are resorting to disgusting tactics. They can't seem to win an election unless they play dirty. McCain, meanwhile, conveniently leaves out his connections to funding the group he is trying to taint Obama with. Hypocrite!

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Harry M

    This is a tape that no one has supposedly seen and yet the right have all the details of it, that there was a story in April about this in the LAT and that this is the only copy of. If this was a news event, there wold have to be a dozen copies. I am not going to defend this one way or the other until there is proof this tape exists. This claim comes from Sean Hannity, a huge liar and manipulator that is doing everything he can to Keep America on the wrong track so he and his buddies can get richer. Produce a tape, there has to be more than one if there is any, and prove this and stop the speculation.

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. edd

    Again McCain being a desperate idiot!

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Cyrus K.

    You just handed the election to Obama. Thanks for the last straw.

    Why do you keep thinking that every Palestinian is a member of the PLO?

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. RepubNoMore

    The level of filth the McCain/Pailin camp has resorted to has left me speechless. The more John McCain spreads his disgusting, hypocritical rhetoric, the more confident I am in my vote for Obama–and I was very confident in my choice to begin with!

    –Signed, a former republican!

    October 29, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Colm

    Fox news and McCain at it again. Shameless!

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. SIX MORE DAYS!!!


    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. Brian

    McCain's comments show he is a racist..... How can the Palestinians negotiate with him? A vote for McCain = War i the Middle Eat for the next 4 years.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Ron , West Coast

    Fear and smear, thats all John McBush has to offer the American people . The professor mentioned by McBush, teaches at the university of Chicago , if he is a terriost , then he should be arrested.
    It seems to me , if this person is a threat to Isreal , then it should be up to Israel to handle the situation . John McBush should consentrate on the many problems we have here in America , not those side issues concerning other countries . We have Americans homes being foreslosed , rising health costs , weak dollar , collapse of wall street , job losses , higher food prices , and so many other things he should be concerned about .
    Dont get me wrong , I am not an anti semite , not by any stretch , but I say " Put America first , take care of Americans, and our needs ", then we can offer our generosity to others around the world....

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. wycliffe, NJ

    Go tell it to Obama on His face

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Lisa P

    Sad old man. Only seven more days now and you can go back to your Senate office and mark the time until you retire.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. CanIcallyouJoe

    Racism is now GOP national policy.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Zen

    Ok, now this is just pitiful.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. The World for Obama

    Who cares? McCain and Palin are just slinging mud in desperation. If this person is so bad, then why is he teaching at one of the most prestigious universities in the world? Wouldn't Dubya's Homeland Security goons carted him off to Git-mo by now if he was even a remote threat to our nation?

    McCain's ties to Bush are well documented and Bush has the greatest harm to America in our history. Bush is a war criminal, has lied to the American people for his own political and personal gain and has destroyed the once great name of America, all the while being aided and supported by McCain and the rest of his GOP comrades. He is walking out of the White House a free man while our nation lies in ruin. Shame on you McCain.

    I don't care who Obama ate dinner with .. he will be a great leader and begin to set a sustainable course for America. It can't get any worse under him than it has become under McCain's FRIEND: GEORGE W.BUSH

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Craig

    Why is John McCain now speaking about himself in the 3rd person? I guess even he can't stand himself anymore.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Suzan

    McCain/ Palin are desperate...
    I'm an Arab American who was not planning to vote but now I will vote for Obama...
    I'm not a terrorist, the same as many Arabs and Muslims who live in this country...It is shameful to go that low

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Concerned Citizen

    Funny that MCCain is not elaborating what kind of relationship he had/has with Prof. Khalidi.

    Found this comment on foxnews.com by Enos ....

    "McCain Funded Work Of Palestinian His Campaign Hopes To Tie To Obama
    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.”

    The GOP should be extremely ashamed for the kind of campaign they have and are still running. However, no sin goes unpunished! McCain and Gov. Palin, lets see who gets the last laugh come Nov. 4th.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Patsy Madison, TN

    After watching John and Sarah, nothing is above their sleeze. They do not have any new ideas so they have to try to ruin one's character. The way that John treated his first wife, he can not open his mouth about anyone or anything. All I want for John to do is to shut his lying mouth and Sarah, too.

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. SA

    This liar/Sarah Palin should be sued for defamation by Khalidi.

    1. Khalidi was BORN IN NEW YORK, he is not an Palestinian. And Khalidi is an AMERICAN CITIZEN. CNN PLEASE CORRECT YOUR FACTS!

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Chi4Obama

    John McCain's 5 favorite phrases:

    5) "The Surge..."
    4) "POW"
    3) "My Friends"
    2) "Joe the Plumber"
    1) Barack Obama (followed by anything negative)

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Adam in CA

    When did John McCain become Joe McCarthy?

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Joe

    This race is over and has been for well over a month. It is time for McSane to give it up. He cannot continue to fixate his time on Obama and expect people to vote for him because he knew Ronald Reagan. What a clown, I predict him or Palin wouldn't even get re-elected to their current seats after this thing is all over. Two clowns who couldn't ene get hired by Barnum Baily Circus. LOL!

    October 29, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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