Campaign Confidential

Democrats Feeling More Confident About the Jewish Vote

By Brett Lieberman

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Every four years, Democrats go through a period of hand ringing. Will the Jewish vote turn out for Democrats – as usually is the case – or will that be the year that Republicans make inroads with the Jewish vote?

“There is not going to be a problem with the Democrats with the Jewish vote,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told leading Jewish Democrats.

Dean, addressing the National Jewish Democratic Council annual Washington conference, called this “crisis of confidence” a specious issue.

Democrats and the Jewish community’s core relationship based on a set of shared values – strong support for Israel, a sense of community, commitment to others, separation of church and state, support for health care, justice and the belief in science as a legitimate discipline – remains strong, he said.

“Those values are passed on at the Passover table, they are passed on in Shul,” Dean said.

As for support for Israel: “We can go toe-to-toe with the Republicans on support for Israel. Actually, I think we’re smarter in terms of how we get there,” he said.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is doing a better job to bridge gaps with the Jewish community and other groups, including Evangelical Christians by emphasizing areas of agreement. Among those Dean cited was addressing concerns about global climate change, poverty and genocide in Darfur.


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