Wash. Times reported on Obama's "association" with Khalidi, but not McCain's

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

A Washington Times article stated that Sen. John McCain "drew fresh attention this week to Mr. [Barack] Obama's friendship with Rashid Khalidi" regarding "a 2003 party in Chicago honoring Mr. Khalidi where Mr. Obama gives a speech." But it did not note McCain's own reported "connection to Khalidi": His role as chairman of an organization that awarded a $448,873 grant to an organization Khalidi co-founded.

In an October 31 Washington Times article, in which he asserted that "the politics of association has been the preferred tool of attack" in this campaign, Capitol Hill correspondent S.A. Miller wrote that Sen. John McCain "drew fresh attention this week to Mr. [Barack] Obama's friendship with Rashid Khalidi." Miller added that McCain "called for the Los Angeles Times to release a videotape it has of a 2003 party in Chicago honoring Mr. Khalidi where Mr. Obama gives a speech." However, in the article, which purported to discuss the candidates' "association[s]," The Washington Times did not note what ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper described in an October 29 blog post as McCain's "own connection to Khalidi."

As Media Matters for America has noted, Tapper documented that while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (a position he still holds), the IRI provided "$448,873 in 1998" to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, which Khalidi co-founded. Tapper noted in an October 29 update to his post that while the "IRI said a grant made to the CPRS in 1999 was later 'de-obligated,' ... [t]he 1998 payment of $448,873 is NOT in dispute." In a subsequent post published October 29, Tapper reported that the IRI released a statement that day "confirming that it gave money to Khalidi's group ... and also trying to distance the organization from Khalidi himself." Additionally, The Huffington Post's Seth Colter Walls reported on October 28 on McCain's chairmanship of the IRI and its funding of Khalidi's organization, as did The Washington Post in an October 30 article.

From Tapper's updated October 29 blog post:

But McCain has his own connection to Khalidi.

In 1993, McCain became chairman of the International Republican Institute. He still chairs that respected organization.

That same year, Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as "an independent academic research and policy analysis institution" created to meet "the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine." (Its archived website is HERE.)

Khalidi was on the board of trustees through 1999.

According to tax returns, the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 (click HERE to see the tax return)* as first reported by Seth Couter [sic] Walls at HuffPo.

The IRI continued to give money to the CPRS after Khalidi left the group as well.

[...]

This post has been updated after the IRI said a grant made to the CPRS in 1999 was later "de-obligated." A spokeswoman for the IRI says the organization is going over its books to get further clarification of the funds it gave the organization. The 1998 payment of $448,873 is NOT in dispute. When IRI gets back to us, we will share the information with you.

From Colter Walls' October 28 Huffington Post report:

In regards to Khalidi, however, the guilt-by-association game burns John McCain as well.

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."

Of course, there's seemingly nothing objectionable with McCain's organization helping a Palestinian group conduct research in the West Bank or Gaza. But it does suggest that McCain could have some of his own explaining to do as he tries to make hay out of Khalidi's ties to Obama.

From The Washington Post's October 30 article, "McCain Again Points to Obama's Associates":

Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for Obama, called the issue "just another recycled, manufactured controversy" and rejected the implication that Obama should be tarnished by his association with Khalidi.

"Barack Obama has been clear and consistent on his support for Israel, and has been clear that Rashid Khalidi is not an adviser to him or his campaign and that he does not share Khalidi's views," Sevugan said. He noted that a nonprofit group that McCain chaired once helped fund a polling organization founded by Khalidi.

The International Republican Institute, which McCain has chaired since 1993, awarded a grant of $448,873 in 1998 to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, which was co-founded by Khalidi, according to IRI documents.

From The Washington Times' October 31 article, "Candidates attack political associations":

Mr. McCain drew fresh attention this week to Mr. Obama's friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian university professor who has condemned Israel and has been accused of being a Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman and an apologist for its terrorism. He called for the Los Angeles Times to release a videotape it has of a 2003 party in Chicago honoring Mr. Khalidi where Mr. Obama gives a speech.

The newspaper published an article in April about Mr. Obama attending the party and cited the videotape as corroborating the story. Editors refused to disseminate the videotape, saying it was provided by a confidential source on the condition that it not be released.

"Now why that should not be made public is beyond me," Mr. McCain said in a radio interview in Miami. "I guarantee you if there was a tape with me and [Republican vice-presidential nominee] Sarah Palin and some neo-Nazi ... you think that tape wouldn't be made public? Of course, Americans need to know, particularly about [William] Ayers, also about the PLO. ... It's really unfortunate that we have to go through this."

Network/Outlet
The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Times
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.