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"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain/Palin "October Surprise" Boomerangs


Professor Rashid Khalidi

Today both John McCain and his sidekick, Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of having ties to a PLO radical. (CNN) -- Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday said Sen. Barack Obama has ties to a Columbia University professor who she said is "a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization." Gov. Sarah Palin says it's "not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record."

The Obama campaign said on its Web site that "ugly insinuations about Barack Obama's relationship with a former neighbor and university colleague ... are completely false." The professor has denied he was a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, which the U.S. and Israel consider a terrorist organization.

"It seems that there is yet another radical professor from the neighborhood who spent a lot of time with Barack Obama going back several years," Palin said at an event in Bowling Green, Ohio. "This is important because his associate, Rashid Khalidi ... in addition to being a political ally of Barack Obama, he's a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization."

Sen. John McCain's campaign repeatedly has sought to tie Obama to former 1960s radical William Ayers, who co-founded the Weather Underground. Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois.

Khalidi is a leading scholar of Middle Eastern studies at Columbia, and he was a contemporary of Obama's while on the faculty of the University of Chicago. He has been a harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and has accused the country of "occupying" Palestinian territories. But he has denied acting as a PLO spokesman during a seven-year period in the 1970s and 1980s. Khalidi said Wednesday, "I am not speaking to the media at this time, and certainly not until this idiot wind passes."

The Obama campaign called Palin's remarks "another recycled, manufactured controversy from the McCain campaign to distract voters' attention from John McCain's lockstep support for George Bush's economic policies."

WHAT JOHN McCAIN IS HIDING!

"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."

Really?

During the 1990s, John McCain, while serving 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".)

The relationship between Khalidi and McCain extends back as far as 1993, when McCain first 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."

McCain's organization helping a Palestinian group conduct research in the West Bank or Gaza should raise questions to be asked of McCain, including why he chose to hide this information and attempt to paint Obama as a radical, when in fact he raised significant money for Khalidi.

Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan responds as follows:

This is just another recycled, manufactured controversy from the McCain campaign to distract voters’ attention from John McCain’s lock-step support for George Bush’s economic policies. Barack Obama has been clear and consistent on his support for Israel, and has been clear that Rasheed Khalidi is not an adviser to him or his campaign and that he does not share Khalidi’s views. Instead of giving lectures on media bias, John McCain should answer why, under his own chairmanship, the International Republican Institute repeatedly funded an organization Khalidi founded, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, over the course of many years.”


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