Former IRI President: McCain personally supported grants for mainstream Khalidi group.

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Harper’s Ken Silverstein reports today that former International Republican Institute (IRI) President Bruce McColm revealed to him that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), as chairman of the IRI board, directly supported funding for Professor Rashid Khalidi’s Center for Palestine Research and Studies in the early 1990s. McColm explained to Silverstein:

All our [grant] proposals had to be approved at board meetings with John McCain in attendance and in agreement. John did think highly of these grants. … Ironically, it was Khalidi’s academic background and his known coolness to the PLO that attracted our interest. How strange to see the McCain campaign use Khalidi as a “type of terrorist” with whom Obama hangs around.

Over the last week, the McCain campaign has attempted to smear Khalidi as a radical and link him to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).