Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: March 16, 2016

Obama to nominate Jewish Judge Merrick Garland | Trump will skip GOP debate to deliver speech at AIPAC | Who is Trump's Eddie Jacobson?

Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Feb. 4, 2016.
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2016 WATCH: "Donald Trump Takes 3 States; John Kasich Wins Ohio" by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: "Donald J. Trump rolled to victory in the Republican presidential primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina on Tuesday, driving Senator Marco Rubio from the race and amassing a formidable delegate advantage that will be exceedingly difficult for any rival to overcome. But with a victory in Ohio, his home state, Gov. John Kasich denied Mr. Trump one of the night’s biggest prizes and made it harder for him to clinch the nomination outright before primary voting ends in June."[NYTimes]

Kasich backer Brad Kastan emails last night... "Just drove back to Columbus from the Cleveland celebration. It really was a great night for Kasich, Ohio and the country. The Governor showed, as he puts it, "that you do not have to take the low road to the highest office in the nation"... The Jewish Community continues to play a very active role in the Kasich effort... not surprising, Ohio Jewish Republican's strongly supported their Governor. It was exciting to note that we also saw significant number of traditional Jewish Democrats switching to the Republican Party to show their support of Gov. Kasich. It is quite clear that no candidate will have the 1237 delegates needed when we get to Cleveland in July for the convention. Polling shows that Rubio voters may break to Kasich by a large percentage. Financial support is no longer something I lose sleep over. Lot's of work to do, but lots of folks offering to help. As we say in Kasich world, 'we are the little engine that could.'" 

Cruz Senior Advisor Nick Muzin: "I'm thrilled that starting today, I'll get to work again with all my friends who had been on Marco's campaign. We've essentially been fighting the same battle for months, and we now need everyone's help to take this all the way to the convention - and win. What happens the next few weeks is critical because we cannot afford a President who is neutral between Israel and the Palestinians or who wants to roll the dice on a "deal". Nor can we allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. So if I don't call you today, please call me - and let's get this done."

Rubio thanks God, quotes the bible as he suspends campaign: "I want to leave with an expression of gratitude to God in whose hands all things lie. He has a plan for every one of our lives. Everything that comes from God is good. God is perfect. God makes no mistakes. And he has things planned for all of us. And so I leave tonight with one final prayer, and I use the words of King David because I remain grateful to God: "Yours O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth. Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and you exalt yourself as head overall. Both riches and honor come from you and you rule over all. And in your hand is power and might and it lies in your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.”[CSPAN]

William Daroff: "Classy and humbled Marco Rubio quotes Torah -- King David's prayer to G-d -- in announcing suspension of campaign." [Twitter]  Jeffrey Goldberg: "Counting out a very talented, very young politician like Marco Rubio is a mistake. See: Bill Clinton, for one." [Twitter]

HOW IT PLAYED: "Inside Marco’s Hollow Campaign" [PoliticoMag]  "Marco Rubio's Long Goodbye"[Forbes]  "Rubio’s demise marks the last gasp of the Republican reboot" [WashPost "The Rubio Campaign Ends Where It Began" [TheAtlantic]

Dem strategist Hank Sheinkopf emails his take: "It seems like it's 1968 all over again. Populist sounding Republican outsider Trump keeps winning big states with large number of blue collar white voters, driving party elites nuts. He'll be tough to get past. Clinton continues to win in most cases states with significant African American voters and losing to Sanders in more white blue collar states. 1968 and 2016 look alike: racial cleavages, economic class cleavages, and an electorate disliking the usually powerful and challengeable elites. Sanders remaining means he will remind voters of Clinton's Wall Street and elite connections. Not good for democrats Trump can be elected president and Clinton can lose is what it all means." 

Jonathan Kopp, Managing Director at Glover Park Group and a J Street activist, tells us regarding Sanders' Judaism: "Unlike Joe Lieberman, who wore his faith on his sleeve, Sanders seems to approach Judaism the way Obama handles being African American. It informs his identity and world view, but it doesn't define him."

In victory speech, Hillary hits Trump on foreign policy: "We live in a complex and, yes, a dangerous world. Protecting America's national security can never be an after thought. Our commander in chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it, engage our allies, not alienate them, defeat our adversaries, not embolden them. When we have a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn't make him strong, it makes him wrong." [YouTube]

Chris Matthews: "With Rubio Out, Jewish Neo-Cons Will Support Hillary Over Cruz" [NewsBusters]

"Soros, Alarmed by Trump, Pours Money into 2016 Race" by Zachary Mider: "The liberal New York financier George Soros, whose effort to unseat President George W. Bush in 2004 shattered political spending records, is returning to big-ticket giving after an 11-year hiatus. Soros has expressed alarm over the past few months at the candidacies of Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz." [Bloomberg]

"Adelson Signals Support for Trump: ‘Why Not?’" by Jacob Kornbluh: "Adelson seems at peace with the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2016. “Trump is a businessman. I am a businessman. He employs a lot of people. I employed 50,000 people. Why not?” Adelson said during a gala honoring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on February 27 at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. The comments were reported by Israeli political blogger Tal Schneider, who obtained a video of Adelson’s remarks at the event." [JewishInsider]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: More than 1,300 attendees gathered for the FIDF National New York Gala Dinner at the landmark Waldorf Astoria New York. The gala raised a record-breaking $33.1 million to support the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces IDF, featured a keynote address by Israel’s minister of defense Moshe Yaalon, and honored Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson who pledged $10M. 

Spotted: Israel's Amb. to the U.N. Danny Danon, Consul Gen. Ido Aharoni, Malcolm Hoenlein, Liz Claman, Arthur Stark, Rabbi Peter Weintraub, Nily Falic, Larry Hochberg, Marvin Josephson, Meir Klifi-Amir, Galit Brichta, Sam Schear, Izzy Tapoohi, Shahram Yaghoubzadeh, Avi Posnick, Josh Block, Joel Mowbray, Melvin Salberg, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Amir Sagie, Ken Abramowitz, and Benny Shabtai. 

18,000 -- the number of registered delegates for AIPAC's upcoming policy conference, their largest ever. 

SIREN: Trump to skip debate for AIPAC speech -- "Republican presidential frontrunner will skip the final GOP primary debate in Salt Lake City on March 21, opting instead to deliver a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. Trump made the announcement on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” saying that “nobody told me about the debate” prior to committing to the speech." [InJo]

Shmuel Rosner: "To Invite, or not to invite: Parsing the AIPAC and Trump question"[JewishJournal]

Chemi Shalev: "Trump/AIPAC Conference Could Embroil Israel and Inflame American Jews"[Haaretz]

"Do Jewish Grandchildren Solve Trump’s Israel Problem?" by Ron Kampeas: "Every president has an Eddie Jacobson, even — especially — the ones who have a tense relationship with Israel’s leadership. The guy who earns the president’s confidence by making his case to the Jewish community until it’s time for a quiet conversation with the president that starts: “You know, your Jewish critics may have a point.” It was Stuart Eizenstat for Jimmy Carter, Max Fisher for Ronald Reagan, Alan Solow for Barack Obama. Who is Trump’s Eddie Jacobson? Does he have one?" [ForeignPolicy]

"Trump: I consult myself on foreign policy" by Eliza Collins: "Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things." [Politico]

James Kirchick: "Donald Trump Is Turning Me Liberal: The real reason Jewish conservatives hate Trump. Hint: It has nothing to do with Iraq." [TabletMag]
**Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We'd love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Billionaire Patrick Drahi Goes From Slashing to Spending" [Bloomberg] "How many Israeli startups does it take to fill a flight to San Francisco?" [YNet]  "Luxury Shoe Brand Aquazzura Calls Out Ivanka Trump for 'Stealing' Designs" [Fortune]  "NYC Developer Extell Brings in Partner to Help Fund Projects" [Bloomberg "Ratner affiliate buys Williamsburg Social rental building for $55M" [RealDeal]

DRIVING THE DAY: "Obama to Announce Supreme Court Nominee" by Michael Shear:"President Obama will announce on Wednesday his choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, even in the face of Republican vows not to consider his nominee, Mr. Obama said in an email to supporters sent from the White House." [NYTimes]

"Jewish Judge Merrick Garland Could Be Obama Choice for Supreme Court" by Julia Edwards and Joan Biskupic: "President Barack Obama will today at 11 a.m. announce either Judge Sri Srinivasan or Judge Merrick Garland as his pick for U.S. Supreme Court nominee, a source familiar with the selection process said." [Forward]

David Frum: "Footnote to history: Merrick Garland is married to the granddaughter of the man who coined the phrase, “New Deal,” Samuel Rosenman." [Twitter]

BIRTHDAYS: Former Citigroup CEO, Sanford ("Sandy") Weill, turns 83... Professor of computer science, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, turns 72... Comedian and telethon host, Jerry Lewis, born Joseph Levitch, turns 90... Actor Victor Garber turns 67... Tech inventor and entrepreneur, Philippe Kahn, turns 64... NPR's Scott Simon turns 64... Comedian and actor, Judah Friedlander, turns 47... Maccabi Tel Aviv defender, Yoav Ziv, turns 35... Stuart Smith... Judy Karta... Jay Ruderman... Amy Kaplan... Jackie Stern... Gail H. Sonnenfeld...

** The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University presents: "On March 28th, an evening discussion on Where Do We Go From Here? The U.S.-Israel Relationship After Obama, featuring a conversation between Tamara Wittes, Director, Center for Middle East Policy and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution; and Michael Doran, Senior Fellow, The Hudson Institute; and moderated by Jordan Hirsch, Visiting Fellow, The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies." [IIJS]
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