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30.10.2008 US & Canada

McCain, Palin criticize Los Angeles Times for withholding Obama video


U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin Wednesday criticized the Los Angels Times for not making public a video in which their Democratic rival Barack Obama praised a Palestinian scholar.

McCain said in a radio interview in Miami that he thought the tape could shed light on Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground leftist group that carried out some bombings as part of their anti-Vietnam movement in late 1960s.

The McCain campaign has highlighted Obama's relationship with Ayers in last few months, saying that it casts doubt on Obama's judgment.

The Los Angeles Times in an April story about Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans in Chicago mentioned the video of a 2003 event, in which Obama attended a farewell dinner for Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi and made a warmly speech. The story did not say that Ayers attended the event.

Although the newspaper said it had obtained a copy of the video, it decided to withhold it due to a promise to a confidential source.

"We should know about their relationship including, apparently, information that is held by the Los Angeles Times concerning an event that Mr. Ayers attended with a PLO spokesman," McCain told Miami's WAQI radio.

To support McCain's statement, the McCain campaign cited an account in the New York Sun newspaper. That story also did not say that Ayers attended the event, but mentioned that a commemorative book associated with the dinner included testimonials from friends and political associates, including Ayers.

Meanwhile, Palin Wednesday accused the Los Angeles Times throwing aside the public's right to know by withholding the video in order to protect Obama, who the newspaper has publicly endorsed.

"It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organizations looking after his best interests like that," Palin said at an event in Ohio.

The Los Angeles Times said in a statement Tuesday that it did not publish the video because it was provided by a confidential source who did so on the condition that the newspaper not release it.