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October 29th, 2008
08:23 PM ET

Rashid Khalidi: "scurrilous" charges

The McCain campaign has accused the Los Angeles Times of “intentionally suppressing” a videotape the newspaper obtained of a 2003 banquet where then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his friendship and frequent dinners with fellow University of Chicago professor Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist. The Times says making the tape public would violate an agreement with its source. Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin now claim Khalidi had been a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Khalidi denies that. Below are excerpts from a 2003 interview when Khalidi appeared on MSNBC to explain that he supports dialogue in the Middle East, and is not anti-American and anti-Israeli.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Professor, let me begin with you and just ask you to defend yourself against these charges that you are anti-American or that you are anti-Israeli.

RASHID KHALIDI, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't think I should have to defend myself. The charges themselves are scurrilous and the people who are making them are not very reputable themselves. I am somebody whose record and what I've written is well known. I'm somebody who thinks that the United States has made some mistakes in the Middle East and that these are things that are not in the best interest of the United States or the American people.

And the kind of people who would call critics of this or that policy unpatriotic or un-American, I think, are doing the United States and the people of the United States a terrible disservice.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Rashid Khalidi • Raw Politics
October 29th, 2008
04:45 PM ET

McCain campaign accuses L.A. Times of 'suppressing' Obama video

Editor's note: We're looking at McCain's charges on this today.  Be sure to watch Dana Bash's report tonight on AC360°. Here is the L.A. Times' account of the story.

L.A. Times staff writer
L.A. Times

The Times says its promise to a source prevents the paper from posting the video, which shows Barack Obama praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 banquet. The story first appeared in April.

John McCain's presidential campaign Tuesday accused the Los Angeles Times of "intentionally suppressing" a videotape it obtained of a 2003 banquet where then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist.

The Times first reported on the videotape in an April 2008 story about Obama's ties with Palestinians and Jews as he navigated the politics of Chicago. The report included a detailed description of the tape, but the newspaper did not make the video public.

"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 Times on Tuesday issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape.

"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. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Rashid Khalidi • Raw Politics