Middle East studies in the News
Palin Accuses Obama of Ties to Second 'Radical Professor' [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
by Dana Bash and Peter Hamby
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."
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 PLO spokesman.
Palin said her assertion "is not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record."
"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. Read: Palin blasts Obama for ties to Palestinian professor
Khalidi 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."
In April, the Los Angeles Times published an article about a going-away dinner for Khalidi that Obama attended in Chicago, Illinois, in 2003. Khalidi was leaving to become a professor at Columbia.
The paper reported that a young Palestinian-American woman recited a poem at the farewell party that accused the Israeli government of terrorism for its treatment of Palestinians and was highly critical of U.S. support of Israel.
The McCain campaign accused the Los Angeles paper of "intentionally suppressing" a videotape it obtained from that dinner and demanded that it release the footage. Read: McCain pushes Obama connection to Khalidi
The Times said it won't release the footage because a reporter promised a source that the video would not be made public.
Asked why the McCain campaign was bringing the matter up six months after the article appeared, an aide replied, "Because we are one week away from potentially electing Barack Obama."
At an event Wednesday in Raleigh, North Carolina, Obama said McCain has spent the last few days calling him "every name in the book."
"I don't know what's next. By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich," Obama said.
Palin said she and McCain are determined to put the country on "a path toward energy independence" and charged that an Obama administration would hinder that process.
Palin pointed to her experience as governor as evidence she can help the U.S. achieve energy security.
"Whatever the good ol' boys are running these days, I know it's not the state of Alaska," she said in Toledo, Ohio.
Palin said that by relying on oil from the Middle East, "we not only provide wealth to the sponsors of terror, but we provide high-value targets to the terrorists themselves."
The Alaska governor stressed expanding drilling, using nuclear power and tapping into the "American ingenuity" to solve the energy problem.
"Energy security is one of the great questions in this election," Palin said. "Sometimes I think it's no wonder that our opponents don't want to talk a whole lot about this, because they don't get it."
Achieving energy security, Palin said, requires a "clean break" from the policies of the Bush administration and from "30 years' worth of failed energy policies in Washington."
Palin described the energy plans of Obama and Sen. Joe Biden as a "long, labored agenda of inaction."
The Obama campaign sent out a response from Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, which said, "Palin attacked her own running mate's record today by blaming our oil addiction on '30 years of failure' in Washington."
Later Wednesday, McCain was scheduled to appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 9 p.m. ET.
That interview comes after a 30-minute Obama campaign ad, which airs during prime-time television Wednesday.
It's the first time in 16 years that a presidential candidate has bought a slot in prime time to make his closing argument. The half-hour ad was set to run on NBC, CBS, Fox and Univision at 8 p.m. ET.
The spot, which is estimated to have cost about $5 million, includes a live segment from Florida, with voters discussing their problems and Obama laying out his plans for the country.
CNN declined the Obama campaign's request to air the ad. CNN said it did not want to pre-empt its programming lineup with a 30-minute paid commercial program.
Obama's closing effort also includes an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and a late-night rally in Kissimmee, Florida, with former President Clinton.
Republicans have been poking fun at Obama's prime-time blitz. The McCain campaign released an ad Wednesday morning that says, "Behind the fancy speeches, the grand promises, the TV specials lies the truth ... Barack Obama lacks the experience America needs, and it shows."
The poll of polls consists of eight surveys: ARG (October 25-27), IPSOS-McClatchy (October 23-27), Pew (October 23-26), ABC/Washington Post (October 24-27), Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby (October 26-28), Gallup (October 26-28), Diageo/Hotline (October 26-28), and IBD/TIPP (October 24-28). There is no sampling error.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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