Obama slams 'ugly smears' from Jewish community
A group of Jewish friends was enjoying their Sunday morning coffee and chatting. Politics? They all turned to look at the foreigner among them. There are still two days to go. Do we really have to talk about it? Of the six present, four would bother voting in the primary, all for Hillary Clinton. In any case, the vote would be symbolic - the Democrats would have no delegates from Florida.
Clinton was in Florida on Sunday for a small fund-raising event. After the loss in South Carolina came the news that the Kennedy family had come out for Obama. But even with the big Kennedy fish in the net, Obama did not neglect the small fry. One of his important Jewish supporters, Lee Rosenberg, was dispatched to ask former Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon why he had come out in an article against Obama.
Rosenberg is on the board of directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and his support for Obama is a trump card of Obama's campaign for anyone who doubt's Obama regarding his friendship for Israel.
Ayalon told Rosenberg that the article was misunderstood, but that yes, he sees Obama's lack of experience in the international arena as a problem. Rosenberg promised to send Ayalon material so he could learn more about Obama. Ayalon had the impression they parted friends.
Yesterday the campaign sent the senator himself for a long talk with reporters about his relationship to the Jewish community. Obama mentioned his many Jewish supporters, like Rosenberg, especially in his home state of Illinois. He reminded them that on Martin Luther King Day, he called on the black community in America to renounce anti-Semitism within it, And for the umpteenth time, he distanced himself from the radical anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan.
With regard to policy, Obama repeated his well-known stands. He believes in Israel "as a Jewish state"; he does not accept that the Palestinian right of return should be interpreted "in any literal way"; he opposes talks with Hamas until the organization recognizes Israel; and yes, he believes in a two-state solution but only after the Israelis "will have security" that the Palestinians will not only sign an agreement but implement it. Obama also said he would offer Iran "carrots and sticks."
Obama compared the present smear campaign against him to that against John McCain in South Carolina in 2000, when Bush's supporters spread rumors and half-truths about him. McCain overcame that trauma last week when he won in South Carolina. He is now locked in a close contest with Mitt Romney for Florida.
Some of Romney's supporters were waiting for him at the Palm Beach Airport at 6 AM yesterday. His silvery hair blowing gently in the breeze, Romney warms up quickly, promising to fix what needs fixing.
Win or lose, Romney, like Rudolph Giuliani, is setting his sights on Super Tuesday. Giuliani, who has built his campaign around Florida, hopes for a victory in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. Next week Jewish voters in those states will impact the future of the former New York mayor, but less than he would like, since most will be voting Democrat.