When presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney visits Israel next Sunday for meetings with the prime minister, the president and the opposition leader – and to attend a campaign fundraiser – he won’t have to work too hard. That’s what big-time supporters like Sheldon Adelson are for.
Ahead of Romney’s trip to Britain, Israel and Poland, the Republican Jewish Coalition, which lists the casino mogul as the chairman of its board of directors, has launched a multimillion-dollar “My Buyer’s Remorse” ad campaign targeting Jewish-American voters.
The ad blitz attacks President Barack Obama’s positions on Israel and the Middle East. “These folks, in telling their own stories, give voice to the nagging doubts that many in the Jewish community feel about Obama,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said.
The first ad presents a testimonial from 48-year-old Michael – “Democrat. Jewish. Voted for Obama” – Goldstein of New Jersey. “I was a big Obama supporter, had a fundraiser in my home, gave money to his campaign, really believed in him and what he stood for,” Goldstein tells viewers.
Goldstein expresses his displeasure with Obama’s belief that the 1967 borders should be the starting point for peace negotiations with the Palestinians. And he feels that Obama was “disrespectful” to Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visited the White House.
“I think in the second term we’ll see the real Barack Obama, he won’t have politics to deal with, voters to deal with. He’s going to change the game for Israel, to place them in a place where they are in danger,” Goldstein asserts.
Goldstein ends by declaring that Obama “is a terrible economic president,” and that he, Goldstein, a lifetime Democrat, is going to vote for a Republican for president this time.
More testimonies are to be aired, targeting Jewish audience in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and most importantly, Florida. In addition, the organization plans to target Jewish voters in a wide-ranging social media campaign.
Asked by Haaretz whether he has any concerns about the unprecedented influence of Adelson, a single donor who pledged to spend up to $100 million on the campaign to unseat Obama, the RJC’s Matt Brooks replied he does not.
“No, I’m not worried about that, and even Jewish Democrats took down their online petition against him because they realized they’ve been engaged in an unfair character assassination of one of the Jewish community’s most important leaders, who’s done more philanthropically for Jews around the world than anyone else.”
Brooks said he heard the same sentiments from American Jews living in Israel during his last trip to Israel with former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. “The U.S. voters in Israel are overwhelmingly supportive of Governor Romney over President Obama; everywhere Ari Fleischer and I traveled, we heard concerns about the erosion of relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. They are concerned whether this president has Israel’s back.”
Brooks said that Adelson is not directly involved in campaigning, and RJC is not coordinating its activities with the Romney campaign.
On Sunday, However, Adelson and other prominent donors will attend the Republican candidate's fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
Polls show that Obama still has an overwhelming lead over Romney among the Jewish voters in the U.S. – 67 percent to 25 percent, according to a Gallup poll covering June 1 to July 22.
But Tevi Troy, a Romney campaign adviser and former Bush administration official, said that even if Romney doesn’t win the majority of the Jewish vote, defections of Jewish voters from the Democratic camp could be painful.
“I foresee that a majority of Jewish voters will vote for Democrats as they did the previous elections; the question is what percentage. The range over the last 30 years or so is between 11 percent, which George H.W. Bush got, to 39 percent, which is what Reagan got. And close to 39 percent would be a whole lot better news for Governor Romney and a whole lot worse news for President Obama. Republicans can get more than the 22% they got in the last election.
“What difference does it make? There are a lot of Jewish voters in many of the important swing states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Arizona and North Carolina, and if the overwhelming majority doesn’t vote for the Democrats, it could pull down Democratic totals in areas where they expect a high turnout,” Troy said.
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