Campaign Confidential

Pa. Republicans Fire Strategist Over Obama 'Smear' E-Mail

By Brett Lieberman

The Pennsylvania Republican State Party has fired a strategist over an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that warns a vote for Barack Obama would be a “tragic mistake” with parallels to the “ignored warning signs of the 1930s and 1940s.”

The e-mail, which a GOP spokesman says was sent without the party’s authorization, falsely warns that Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee “taught members of Acorn to commit voter registration fraud” during his community organizing days.

The e-mail was signed by several prominent Pennsylvania Republicans who are supporting GOP presidential nominee John McCain. They were Sandra Schultz Newman, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice; developer Mitchell L. Morgan, a top fund-raiser from the Philadelphia area for McCain as well as other Republicans including President Bush and former U.S. Sen Rick Santorum; and I. Michael Coslow, a steel industry exec.

A spokesman for the state party, Michael Barley, tells the New York Times, that state party leaders repudiated the message sent Friday and that Bryan Rudnick, the strategist who helped draft it, had been fired.

“There were some points that were accurate, there were two that we cannot substantiate, however; as a result of them we’ve let him go,” Michael Barley told The Times.

“There are points that could have been made and he touched on some of them, but he definitely went a little bit farther than the facts would support,” he said.

Democrats blasted what one Jewish Democrat calls a “blatantly false and incendiary e-mail” that was “just one more vicious smear.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., and state Rep. Josh Shapiro, both of whom are leading Obama surrogates held a conference call with reporters Saturday afternoon to respond to the e-mail.

Keep reading for the full, unedited, text of the e-mail that was provided to the Forward:

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Barack Obama, John McCain, Bob Casey, Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania, Presidential Election, Republicans

Ed Koch: U.S. 'Safer' With Obama

By Brett Lieberman

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who bucked the Democratic Party and endorsed President Bush over Democrat John Kerry in 2004, has no regrets about that decision. Kerry did not fully understood the need to support Israel at the time, he says.

“That is not an issue in this election,” Koch writes in a statement today. “Both parties and their candidates have made clear, before and during this election campaign their understanding of the need to support Israel and oppose acts of terrorism waged against it by Hamas and other Muslim supporters of terrorism.”

For him, it comes down to who will “best protect and defend America.”

The answer, according to Koch, is that “the country is safer in the hands of Barack Obama, leader of the Democratic Party and protector of the philosophy of that party.”

Besides issues such as civil rights, health care, taxation and abortion rights, Koch writes that “Frankly, it would scare me if [GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin] were to succeed John McCain in the presidency.”

Here’s Koch’s full statement:

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Republicans, Election, McCain, Obama, Israel, Democrats, President, Koch

Too Much or Too Little Faith in Politics?

By Brett Lieberman

From Muslim imams to conservative rabbis and practically every faith in between, religion and religious leaders were front and center at the recent Republican and Democratic political conventions. Expect more of the same in the coming two months as Barack Obama and John McCain and their political parties court the religious vote.

But is this a good thing?

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, a frequent opponent of the intersection of government, politics and religion, says “This may be good politics, but it is not healthy for our nation” as he weighs in with an Op-Ed for JTA.

What do you think?


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Obama, Election, Politics, Religion, Democrats, Republicans, Conventions, McCain

Lieberman Still Part of GOP Convention Schedule

By Brett Lieberman

Republicans apparently couldn’t pass up the chance to include Democrat-turned-Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman as part of their convention program, and of course the chance to poke Democrats.

Lieberman, who was scheduled to speak during Monday’s opening program that was abbreviated because of Hurricane Gustav, will speak Tuesday night, the Associated Press reports.

The changing line-up means that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be bumped.

Lieberman told CNN he plans to talk about ” “why I am an independent Democrat voting for Sen. McCain,” according to AP.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: McCain, president, election, Lieberman, Democrats, Republicans

Schumer Plans Florida Swing to Court Jewish Vote

By Brett Lieberman

Hoping to make up ground in a key battleground state, Democrats are sending in some of their big guns to court the Jewish vote.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer will pinch hit for Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama in the Sunshine state this weeend.

Schumer, architect of the Democrats’ gains in the Senate, will speak with voters at the Turnberry Jewish Center in Aventura, Temple Solel in Hollywood and Temple Beth Shalom in Century Village in Boca Raton on Sunday, Sept. 7.

Republican John McCain has stronger than usual support for a GOP candidate in part because of concerns about Obama among Jewish voters. Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman has also provided a critical boost for McCain among Jewish voters.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Voter, Florida, President, Obama, Schumer, McCain, Democrats, Lieberman, Republicans, Election

Report: 'Rove Tried To Kill Lieberman VP Pick'

By Brett Lieberman

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman rejected a request by former presidential aide Karl Rove to withdraw his name from consideration as John McCain’s vice presidential pick, according to a report by Politico.

Three sources confirmed the effort by the controversial architect of President Bush’s election and one person told the news organization that Lieberman refused to make the call.

There’s strong support for choosing Lieberman within the McCain campaign, according to columnist Robert Novak, who warns picking Lieberman would be disastrous.

The Democrat-turned-Independent senator has campaigned for McCain, the Republican presidential candidate and a good friend, because Lieberman supports his stances on Iraq and foreign policy. His support for McCain, and sharp criticism for Democrat Barack Obama and Democrats, has widened a rift between Lieberman and his Democratic friends.

Reports say that McCain has selected his running mate and will notify that individual on Thursday. The pair will make their first joint appearance at a large campaign rally in Ohio on Friday.

While Lieberman appeals to many moderates and Independent voters, Jewish voters and the move would bolster McCain’s reputation as a maverick, conservatives such as talk show host Rush Limbaugh have warned such a move would blow-up the Republican Party. Lieberman and McCain agree on foreign policy matters, but Lieberman’s support for abortion rights and many other social and domestic issue positions run counter to conservative and Republican agendas.

Selecting Lieberman would certainly shake up the presidential race and be seen as unconventional – two things that analysts say McCain need to do.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Lieberman, Independents, Democrats, Vice President, Republicans, Obama, McCain, President, Election

Democrats Predict 'Historic' Jewish Vote for Obama

By Brett Lieberman

Barack Obama is under-performing in his support among Jewish voters compared to Democratic candidates’ historical performance, according to pollsters. Yet Jewish leaders in Congress predict the soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee will exceed Democrats’ usual support within the Jewish community.

“We believe there is broad, deep and enthusiastic support for Barack Obama in the Jewish community,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said in a news conference announced after elected officials from Florida voiced concerns about the response to Obama in that key state.

Obama’s been a strong and unwavering supporter of Israel — “He never flinched from it,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. — and has also supported legislative proposals to prohibit U.S. pension funds and companies from doing business with Iran, Democratic leaders said.

“Let the Jewish community know that Barack Obama is a friend of Israel,” said U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Obama’s support for abortion rights, gun control, health care, Social Security and other domestic issues is more in sync with the views of Jewish voters, they said.

Earlier this week, pollsters Anna Greenberg and Mark Mellman said that Obama is garnering the support of around 60% to 62% of Jewish voters, which puts him at the low end of the spectrum that Democratic candidates have historically enjoyed. Since the early 1990s when the Republican Party embraced the evangelical community, the Jewish vote has shifted heavily to Democrats, who have won close to 80% of the Jewish vote.

The lawmakers contend that Obama’s support will grow to record levels by the November 4 election.

“The support that Sen. Obama enjoys …is substantial and growing,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla.

California Rep. Adam Schiff predicted “historically high” support for Obama.

Nobody doubts that Obama will win a majority of the Jewish vote. But the question remains whether the margin will be a historically high or low.

“I believe Obama is poised to do well,” said Wexler.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: President, Election, Obama, Democrats, Republicans




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