In the Holy Land, Romney to Court the Jewish Vote

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JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty Images

Mitt Romney speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 7, 2011.

Every four years, a Republican presidential candidate claims he can lure Jewish voters away from the Democratic Party. And every cycle, most of those voters stay put. Mitt Romney isn’t going to win the bulk of the Jewish vote either. But he doesn’t need to. Romney’s latest overture to Israel, a weekend trip to Jerusalem beginning this Saturday, is a bid to peel off enough Jewish votes to carry closely contested swing states like Florida. And there’s a chance that might work.

Throughout Obama’s presidency, the GOP has attacked him for allegedly abandoning America’s foremost ally in the Middle East. In January, Romney said the President “threw Israel under the bus” by calling for a return to pre-1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations toward a two-state solution. Republicans criticize Obama’s calls for Israel to stop settlement activity on the West Bank and note that the President has had a tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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These arguments have convinced some longtime Democratic donors that Romney would be a better friend to Israel. “I wrote a couple of checks and voted for [Obama],” says Susan Crown, a Chicago philanthropist. “But a year after he took office, it became clear to me that he’s not the friend of Israel I assumed he was, so I started looking for a new candidate.” Deterred by Obama’s calls for a return to pre-1967 borders, Crown became a Romney supporter. She has hosted four fundraisers for the Republican’s campaign, including one on July 9 in her Aston, Colo., home that raised $2.6 million.

According to a June Gallup poll, Obama’s support among Jewish registered voters has slipped to 64%, a 14-point plunge from the 78% he garnered four years ago. That same poll found that only 29% of Jewish voters support Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is trying to chip away at Obama’s advantage during his visit to Israel, where he will host a $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in Jerusalem on Sunday, meet with Netanyahu and hold a conference outlining his Middle East policy. In his speeches, Romney frequently asserts that there should be “no daylight” between U.S and Israeli interests — a dig at Obama for his argument that it can be healthy for allies to differ, as well as help the U.S. maintain credibility with Arab states.

“One of the reasons that Israel is facing a lot of international pressure is because under the Obama presidency, they perceive daylight between the U.S. and Israel,” says Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “It’s a very untenable situation for Israel on critical issues like Iran.”

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Democrats say U.S.-Israeli relations are closer than ever. The President has spent $3 billion in foreign-military financing — the largest amount of funding for Israel in U.S. history, according to the Obama campaign. Obama opposed the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the United Nations, a move that Netanyahu called a “badge of honor.” In the wake of the Bulgaria bus bombing on July 18 that left five Israelis dead, Obama reaffirmed the U.S.’s “unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security” and condemned the “barbaric terrorist attack,” which Israeli leaders suspect can be sourced back to Iran.

In a conference call this week, Obama campaign aide Colin Kahl said the President plans to visit Israel in his second term if he’s re-elected. “I don’t think this is a really serious policy difference,” Kahl said of criticism of Obama for not visiting Israel in his first term. “It’s basically a distraction.” But perhaps Obama has started to sweat a little; he sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Israel last week to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Obama has history on his side. Since 1976, 54% to 64% of American Jews have identified as Democrats, according to a new study conducted for the Solomon Project, a nonpartisan public-policy group. A meager 8% to 20% identified with Republicans. (Religion seems to pull Jews to the right politically: a Pew Research Center analysis found that Jews who attend weekly worship services are more likely to vote Republican.) Romney’s trip to Israel is an attempt to re-create the success Ronald Reagan enjoyed with the Jewish vote. In 1980, Reagan received the GOP’s all-time-high record of 39% among Jews, leaving Jimmy Carter with an unprecedented low of 61%. “I think there’s a real opportunity for Governor Romney to continue a trend that we’ve seen over the last couple of decades,” says Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “I think he’s going to continue that trend of the Republicans making real inroads into the Jewish vote.”

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While Romney is looking to earn Jewish support on a national scale, the key question is whether he can receive enough votes in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania to possibly decide the election. If 2012 proves to be a tight race like 2000 was, appealing to the Jewish community could be critical. “The Jewish vote is clearly important, especially if you look at Florida, where 537 votes made the difference in an election,” says University of Miami professor Ira Sheskin, who runs the Jewish Demography Project at the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. Sheskin notes that although Jews may be only 3% to 4% of the population, about 90% of them are registered to vote, and 96% of those registered voters cast ballots. In particular, the elderly Jewish population in swing states like Florida may have doubts about Obama’s support for Israel. “People in the Jewish community are worried about if Obama has the kishkes factor, which in Yiddish means your gut,” Sheskin says. “Does Obama feel the importance of Israel and the emotion in his gut?”

Jews who don’t think so could cause a fundraising problem for Obama. Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson backed the Republican Jewish Coalition’s multimillion-dollar advertising campaign called “My Buyer’s Remorse,” which features testimonials from people who regret voting for Obama in 2008 because of his policies on Israel and the economy. Adelson has pledged to donate $100 million to oust Obama.

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And yet Jewish voters don’t simply vote according to foreign policy. A Public Religion Research Institute survey this spring found that only 4% of Jews cast their ballots based on Israel. Like most Americans, Jewish voters are expected to cast their ballots based on key domestic issues like the economy. “American Jews are multi-issue voters,” says David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. “Israel may be one, but the economy is another one — and according to our data, it’s the bigger one.”

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor agrees. “The majority of Americans feel strongly about Israel as an issue they have in mind, but at the same time, I do think that domestic issues and the economy will be priority No. 1 for most people,” says Meridor, who cautions that as tensions heat up in the region, the focus for voters could change. And if it does, Romney’s decision to court the Jewish vote would be worthwhile. “I think from the perspective of the candidates,” Meridor says, “every vote counts.”

MORE: How Mitt Romney Was Shaped by His Mother’s Political Career

115 comments
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alfredjones
alfredjones

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Filips
Filips

my roomate's

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ahandout
ahandout

http://www.humanevents.com/201...

 The Left is all about power.  Concepts like “racism” have no

meaning until they are placed in a power context.  Only certain people

can be racists, or victims.  It’s a very ugly world-view, which is why

so many people must go thousands of dollars into debt so their kids can

hear prettied-up versions of it from tenured professors.

ahandout
ahandout

Liberal hypocrisy.  In a tizzy about trumped up discrimination, then they open their mouths and show themselves to be the ones that love to label people and constantly put them in groups and say this group believes this and votes this way...blah, blah, blah.

Because they don't have the mental capacity to form a logical arguement, when a liberal is cornered they call names.  

Jackson
Jackson

what Marcus answered I didnt know that you can get paid $9400 in 1 month on the internet. did you see this website http://LazyCash49.com

sacredh
sacredh

Jackson, get an honest job. Scamming people isn't the way to go. Have you tried the Nigerian Prince angle?

propheten
propheten

When Putin came to Holy Land he knelt at the Christ sites, when M.Romney comes he will celebrate a $50 000 dinners with a "gamblers" and casino mogul Sheldon A. in the King David hotel... and promise a support for a war. In what the  name...?

pargerpaser
pargerpaser

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Jackson
Jackson

as Brandon

replied I am in shock that any one able to earn $9121 in a few weeks on

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Parger
Parger

my best

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sacredh
sacredh

groovecity, would you like to make a friendly bet on the election? If Obama loses, I have to stay here until at least the next day so that I can eat my words. Would you care to bet that if Romney wins, I stay off of swampland for a month? If Obama wins, you stay off for a month.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Liberals whine about how much Romney screwed up in Great Britain.

What most liberals are too dumb to realize is that the Great One insulted the British in his first week in office. He removed a bust of Prime Minister Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British embassy in Washington.

This bust had been loaned to the white house as a gift of solidarity with the American people after 9/11. This was a grave insult to our closest ally in the world.

Any comment Romney made in London doesn't hold a candle to the insult and ill treatment by Obama of the British nation and its people.

As I said before most Liberals are too dumb to understand reality.

 

Diecash1
Diecash1

Who's too dumb to understand reality?

Says James Barbour, press secretary and head of communications for the British Embassy, “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill, by Sir Jacob Epstein, was lent to the George W. Bush administration from the U.K.’s government art collection, for the duration of the presidency. When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington D.C. The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March.”

.

“That’s not really what’s important here,” Barbour said. “Both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have repeatedly underlined that our two countries remain the closest of allies. The Churchill Bust story is a silly diversion – let’s get on and focus on seeing who wins most medals in the Olympics.”

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po... 

Looks like you're clueless yet again, Mr. Magoo.  At what point will you take off your partisan blinders and stop being a complete hypocrite?  My guess -- Never.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Diacash,

Wow.

 “It has ignited a fiery blog post from normally serene White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer."

If Dan said so it must be true. All the rest of the WH staff agree.

“The Churchill bust was removed to make room for a bust of Abraham Lincoln and sent back to the British.

I didn’t know the Oval Office is so small there was not room to display two busts.

Yes I was born on Sunday but not last Sunday.

These Bull Sht excuses by the WH Communication Director are still excuses that don't hold water.

The Great One insulted the British by returning the bust and on many other occasions.

Most World Leaders have very little confidence in Obama as a world leader. They see him as weak.

 

Diecash1
Diecash1

Gramps -- Can you not comprehend what you read or post?  From the link you provided:

"When that [Bush] administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador's Residence in Washington DC," the Embassy said. "The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March."

I don't care what Pfeiffer says as it's not central to the point:  Whether or not Obama "insulted" the British when he returned the bust.  It's clear that he did not so you can quit peddling that lie already.  The spokesman for the British Embassy is quoted from the link that you provided and in the one I posted previously.  Have someone explain to you what his statement means.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Diecash,

You lose. It turns out that Dan Pfeiffer has been caught in a lie on the same day he lied.

"(CBS News) The White House's case arguing President Obama never returned a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill turned out to be somewhat of a bust itself."

The British Embassy on Friday confirmed to Mediaite.com that despite caustic pushback from an Obama administration official, conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer was correct when he wrote in his column this week that Mr. Obama "started his presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office."

For your humble review.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50...

No need to apologize. We are all wrong on occasions.

Diecash1
Diecash1

Nice try, gramps, but that's another one of your patented failures of logic and reason.  I quoted the press secretary for the British Embassy, not Pfeiffer.  

3xfire3
3xfire3

Diecashi,

Always an excuse to protect the great one.

A half truth is still a lie.

The British government offered to extend the loan of the bust so that it could remain on display in the WH.

Barack Obama said no thanks, removed it from the oval office and sent it to the British embassy.

That was an major insult to the British people and nation.

Get your facts streight.

Diecash1
Diecash1

Try actually reading the quoted text and the article, dumba$$. Perhaps then you'll see the difference between facts and the garbage that you put forth.

sacredh
sacredh

There were two busts. The entire thing was explained in another post. Next  false outrage please.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Sac,

Always an excuse which is almost always a lie to cover up the truth.

You guys are very dishonest.

sacredh
sacredh

The truth isn't an excuse. The truth is the truth. It's only liars like you that come up with this nonsense.

Jackson
Jackson

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jacksoncrew
jacksoncrew

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sacredh
sacredh

They do have a personal oven but actual cooking is a relative term.