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Jewish Clinton backers warn Pelosi on meddling

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Twelve of the 20 Clinton backers who warned Nancy Pelosi to keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries are Jewish.

The 20 signatories to the letter sent recently to Pelosi (D-Calif.), the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, are major donors to the Democratic Party and strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

The donors were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party “superdelegates” should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has a nearly insurmountable lead in the pledged delegate count and in the popular vote. But he cannot lock up the nomination because 800 delegates – split between elected officials and local party leaders, including a handful of party elders – have unpledged “superdelegate” status.

Early counts showed the superdelegates leaning to Clinton, although in recent months some have switched to Obama as he has taken the lead among pledged delegates.

The donors’ letter appears to warn Pelosi that she could lose their support in important congressional elections. “We have been strong supporters of the DCCC,” it says, referring to the Democratic congressional elections campaign.

“Superdelegates, like all delegates, have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee,” it says. “Both campaigns agree that at the end of the primary contests neither will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination. In that situation, superdelegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party’s strongest nominee in the general election.”

In a statement, Pelosi’s office responded: “The speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters. This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes.”

The donors’ letter was revealed this week by Talkingpointsmemo.com, an investigative news Web site.

Among the 20 signatories are Haim Saban, the Israeli-born entertainment magnate who is a funder of Middle East peace initiatives; Sim Farar, a media investor known for his closeness to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Mark Aronchick, a top Philadelphia lawyer; and Alan Patricof, a new media investor.

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