Trailing in the polls with six days to go, the presidential campaign of John McCain has decided to revive the Obama associates with terrorists line, by criticizing the LA Times for not releasing a videotape of Obama at a 2003 farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi. I guess this is their version of an October Surprise.
“This associate, Rashid Khalidi, he — in addition being a political ally of Barack Obama — is a former spokesperson for Palestinian Liberation Organization. The twist here is there’s a videotape of a party for this person. A celebration of him. Barack was there. Some very derogatory things were said there of Israel and America’s support for that great nation. Among other things, Israel was described there as the perpetrator of terrorism rather than the victim. What we don’t know is how Barack Obama responded to these slurs on a country that he professes to support, and the reason we don’t know is the newspaper that has this tape, the Los Angeles Times, refuses to release it.”
Palin completely distorted Obama’s association with Khalidi, in fact, this smear originated with a February story by Aaron Klein of the right wing political tabloid World Net Daily As CBS News pointed out, Klein’s articles on Obama are known for their distortions, but this is what the McCain campaign has latched on to. Palin didn’t both to her mention that her own running mate in linked to Khalidi through grants McCain secured for his foundation.
Palin also accused the LA Times of covering for Obama, “‘In this case we have a newspaper willing to throw aside even the public’s right to know in order to protect a candidate that its own editorial board has endorsed. If there’s a Pulitzer Prize category, for excellence in kowtowing, the L.A. Times wins.'” Michael Goldfarb of the McCain campaign also accused the newspaper of suppressing the video, “A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi. 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’s editor Russ Stanton said, “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. The Times keeps its promises to sources.” In fact, the Times did describe the tape in detail in the original story which you can read here.
I think there are three reasons why the McCain campaign is doing this. First, they still think that they can scare voters through the Obama associates with terrorists smear. Secondly, they are trying to move Jewish voters in Florida away from Obama, and thirdly, they are looking to build the excuse that they lost the election because the media was in the bag for Obama. Why they would waste what precious little time that they have left, talking about this instead of the economy boggles the mind, but they seem committed to defeat, and this is the quickest way to get there.