It became clear on Wednesday that, despite an abundance of meetings with representatives of the Jewish community this week, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was not done yet with the 2% of the U.S. population, when he announced a new campaign group: The "Jewish Americans for Romney coalition."
Romney said in a statement released on Tuesday, "The Jewish community has made contributions to American society that stand in amazing disproportion to its numbers, and I am genuinely honored to have so many of its leading thinkers, diplomats, and political leaders support my campaign."
The coalition is co-chaired by the Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former Hawaii Jewish Governor Linda Lingle, former Senators Norm Coleman and Rudy Boschwitz, and Adam Hasner, a Florida congressional candidate.
The group's advisory board of 39 included top advisers to his campaign who have served in previous Republican administrations, among them Tevi Troy, Dov Zakheim and Den Senor.
Romney also referred to his recent visit to Israel in his statement, saying that, "Having just visited Israel at a critical juncture in the history of the Middle East, Iam persuaded that now, more than ever, America needs to stand with Israel. I will extend the hand of friendship because our partnership is not merely a strategic alliance but a force for good in the world."
The House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, co-chair of the coalition, urged all U.S. Jews, "Democrat, Republican, and independent alike, to give a serious look at Mitt Romney's candidacy."
Romney, he said, has been "an unwavering supporter of the state of Israel," who will "leave no stone unturned in the effort to keep Israel secure.”
It's quite certain that along with the barrage of new anti-Obama ads produced by the Sheldon Adelson-backed Republican Jewish Coalition titled "My Buyer's remorse," Romney's supporters will also leave no stone unturned in trying to make this 2% at least hesitate in polling stations. To judge by the current polls in battleground states with a serious Jewish presence, it's an uphill battle. According to the Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times polls, Obama is leading in Florida with 51%-45%, in Pennsylvania 53%-42% and in Ohio 50%-44%.
Romney landed in Israel on Saturday evening for a one and a half day visit. On Monday morning, he held a fundraiser, attended by some 40 wealthy Jewish-American supporters in Jerusalem, during which he made remarks against Palestinian culture that were interpreted as a racist slur. In an op-ed published in "The National Review," on Tuesday, titled Romney made it quite clear he was not planning to apologize over the remarks, but admitted his comments stirred some controversy.
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