Beware the bubbies, Fla. Dems warn

Ask any general: Tales from the frontlines have a way of upsetting the best laid plans.

Strategists at a National Jewish Democratic Council session at the Democratic Party’s Denver convention appeared to be in agreement on why Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee, appears to be losing support among Jewish voters.

Obama was not disliked, suggested Richard Baehr, a conservative analyst and the editor of American Thinker, as much as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), his Republican rival, was favored among Jews.

The challenge for Democrats, agreed Mark Mellman, a top party strategist, was redefining McCain as a hard-line conservative.

Nuh-uh, according to two leading Jewish state legislators from Florida: It’s not that McCain was beloved, it’s that Obama was “hated” among elderly Jews in the state.

“We need to recognize that here’s a problem,” said State Sen. Steve Geller, the Democratic minority leader in the state senate. “When you’re saying that they just like McCain you’re wrong.”

Geller, who represents parts of Broward County, said he had come close to being chased out of the “condos” – shorthand for retirement communities – when he said he backed Obama.

State Sen. Nan Rich, a former National Council of Jewish Women president, whose constituency is in Broward and neighboring Miami-Dade, said Obama’s Jewish surrogates have come away from the condo tours “shocked” at the intensity of dislike for their presidential candidate.

“I want everyone to leave here knowing we do have a significant issues that has to be addressed if we’re going to have any chance of getting the state of Florida,” she said.

Both state senators recommended an aggressive campaign against rumors that Obama is untrustworthy on Israel, and that the candidate tour the “condos” in person.

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