Campaign Confidential

Bagels, Lox and Barack

By Brett Lieberman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Supporters of Barack Obama readily acknowledge a lingering reluctance among many Jewish voters to embrace the presumptive nominee. The campaign has recently stepped up its outreach to Jewish voters and the Jewish community at large, including naming long-time adviser Daniel Shapiro to a formal role in the Obama campaign.

Jewish and political leaders say the effort to win over voters has proven particularly difficult in South Florida.

But could the solution to Obama’s problem be as simple as noshing on a bagel and lox?

Maybe, says U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who has been tapped by the Obama campaign to speak with Jewish leadership councils in Florida and addressed the Denver-area council over the weekend.

“He just has a learning curve with our voters, which he’s going to rapidly close when we bring him down and take him around for some bagels and cream cheese in the condos,” Wasserman Schultz said Sunday during a National Jewish Democratic Council reception outside the Golda Meir House in Denver.

Senior citizens and South Floridians are beginning to embrace Obama because they understand that beyond the issue of Israel Republican John McCain is not in sync with Jewish voters on domestic and social issues, she contends.

Other Jewish leaders, though, say the Obama campaign’s outreach efforts have been hampered because most of the Illinois senator’s Jewish surrogates are more liberal or progressive.

“He needs a Joe Lieberman type,” said Rabbi Marc Schneier, referring to the Connecticut Democratic senator turned Independent who has been supporting McCain. Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president, remains a popular figure with many Conservative and Orthodox Jews.

Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and a past president of the North American Board of Rabbis, says it’s critical for Obama to have more conservative surrogates if he is going to be able to acquire wider support within the Jewish community.

“You cannot ignore those and the standing of the orthodox Jewish community,” he said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Florida, Joseph Lieberman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Marc Schneier, Barack Obama

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.