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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/30/08

McCain funded Rashid Khalidi and now criticizes Obama for meeting with him

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The latest in embarrassing episodes about to explode on the McCain campaign is that the person he is criticizing Obama for associating with is someone McCain funded to the tune of half a million dollars through a group that he chaired. The Huffington Post broke the story, "McCain Funded Work Of Palestinian His Campaign Hopes To Tie To Obama" explaining:

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...

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."

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In its last minute desperation, the McCain campaign is trying to make a big deal of the fact that at a meeting in 2003, Khalidi lavished praise on Obama. So, McCain gave Khalidi money, but he is trying to say Obama is a bad guy because Khalidi said nice things about him. With the discovery that McCain funded him, either Khalidi is a bad guy and people should be more upset at the idea that McCain funded him as opposed to Khalidi saying nice things about Obama, or he isn't a bad guy and this whole episode is a non-issue other than the McCain campaign raising a red herring. The latter seems more likely.

While this seems obscenely stupid, contradictory and inept of the McCain campaign, if you have been following them as I have, it is no longer surprising. Less than a week ago, I reported how the McCain and RNC purchasing of $150,000 in clothes for Sarah Palin violated McCain's own McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, see .

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One of the things about this clothing purchase I realized after I wrote this article is that Palin has only been the Vice Presidential nominee since late August. Between late August and November 4, there are around 75 days. McCain and the RNC bought Palin $150,000 worth of clothes to wear for 75 days and Palin happily accepted them. If that isn't out of touch and elitist, I don't know what is. Joe Six-packs, take note!

When historians look back at the McCain campaign, I am certain they will decide that the defining aspect of the McCain Campaign is the lies, contradictions and missteps concerning everything they do.

Want more proof?

You know the big deal that McCain and Palin are making of the phrase "Spread the Wealth around?" Not only is what McCain and Palin saying about Obama's utterance of that phrase misleading to the point of being lying, it turns out that Palin said just about the same thing only a month ago. As this article in Think Progress reports, regarding Alaska's oil revenue wealth, Palin said:

And Alaska—we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs. … It’s to maximize benefits for Alaskans, not an individual company, not some multinational somewhere, but for Alaskans.


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So, when Obama says 'spread the wealth’, it's 'Socialism' but when Palin says it, then it's OK? You betcha!

If you think that is bad, it gets better still. McCain is attacking the Obama tax plan because Obama concentrates his cuts on the middle class and offers no cuts for the wealthy. Obama knows that the engine of America's growth is and has always been the middle class. McCain offers less tax cuts for the middle class and more for the wealthy and says Obama not doing the same is more 'spreading the wealth' and 'socialism'. Here's the punch line, while McCain supported most of Bush's policies and tax cuts, when McCain was discussing the first round of Bush tax cuts on the senate floor in 2001, McCain said:

I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief.

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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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