Campaign Confidential

Catch a Nice Jewish Girl and the Biden/Palin Debate

By Brett Lieberman

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“I’ll introduce you to some Jewish women,” offered Suzanne Kurtz, spokeswoman for the Republican Jewish Coalition.

It wasn’t exactly the typical sales pitch to attend a political event and there was no official matchmaker, yet it proved effective.

A joint vice presidential debate-watching party that RJC’s National Women’s Committee co-hosted with the Republican womens’ groups RightNOW! and Women Impacting the Nation (WIN) drew a crowd of a couple hundred Republicans including many Republican Jews to cheer Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and jeer Sen. Joseph Biden to a downtown Washington law firm.

The event attracted a crowd of mostly young women, but also a large number of men, who not surprisingly gave Palin stellar reviews for her debate performance.

“Sarah Palin is going to kick some tuckus,” Shelley Hymes, a member of all three organizations predicted during a reception prior to the debate.

Hymes was not disappointed in the Republican vice presidential nominee’s performance.

“I thought she was amazing,” she said immediately after the 90-minute debate ended. “She surpassed expectations.”

Thursday night’s event was one of a number of events planned by RJC’s women’s committee since GOP nominee John McCain selected Palin as his running mate.

Though analysts say Palin’s selection may scare off some Jews concerned about her lack of foreign policy experience, it’s been a boon to the women’s group.

“For groups like mine, this is an unprecedented time,” said Lisa Spies, the group’s executive director. Spies said she’s receiving 20 to 30 e-mails a day compared to three to four a week pre-Palin.

The group is planning other watch parties for upcoming debates and election night, but no major fundraising push is planned to take advantage of the enthusiasm.

“Right now I’m just excited to get people participating, to have people excited,” Spies said.

Like many Republicans, Jews and non-Jews, in the audience, Michael Berenhaus, an optometrist in nearby Bethesda, Md., worried before the debate about about how Palin would perform because of several shaky recent interviews with Katie Couric on CBS News and Charles Gibson of ABC News. So, he was relieved when she took strong and unwavering positions, and particularly her staunch support for Israel during the debate.

“I was nervous, but deep down I knew she could do it,” said Berenhaus, who added that “The difference between her and Democrats is she’s not going to change how she feels about Israel the next day when the Arabs protest.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council did not host a similar vice presidential debate watch party. But a spokesman said that the group doesn’t need to use promises of dating opportunities to lure guests to its events.



Comments
Wendy Rosenthal Fri. Oct 3, 2008

It is beyond me how Jewish people can support McCain and Palin especially when it comes to Israel. It is a mockery on all those Jews who worked for Civil Rights. She had no knowledge, just rote answers that she was coached on because she couldn't answer the questions she was given especially on foreign policy. McCain & Palin do not want peace in Israel, only constant war (it's more profitable), and if you really think Palin "loves Israel" I have a bridge in Alaska to sell you!

esthermiriam Fri. Oct 3, 2008

And how does she feel about Israel? willing to let (nearly urging) Israel act in ways that caring allies would advise against! Her ignorance is matched only by her fervor, and both are extremely dangerous. As for Jewish Republicans, always have been and will be, led most recently by Joe Lieberman -- one can only challenge as needed, educate as possible and not worry too mu h about.

Lucidity Sat. Oct 4, 2008

A golem, she makes a mockery of traditional Jewish respect for learning.

hyperfrumm Sat. Oct 4, 2008

A more appropriate name for the RJC would be "The Bengelsdorf Group". (cf. Philip Roth's book, the Plot Against America.) Show me one issue where the RJC's position has differed from that of Evangelical Protestants! Ans: None - - including support for the Bush veto of stem cell research - legislation which the ENTIRE Jewish community, from secular humanists to the ultra-Orthodox, backed! Face it: mutatis mutandis, the RJC is the political equivalent/counterpart of "Jews for Jesus' .

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