Two weeks ago in Denver, Jewish congressional Democrats refused to acknowledge at a press conference that some South Florida Jewish Democrats were wary of voting for Barack Obama – even though a number of Florida state legislators had told reporters that they saw significant resistance to the Democrat when they campaigned for him at condos in the region. But the Obama campaign is taking those reports about Florida seriously.
According to a press release, the campaign has launched six Obama Jewish Community Ledership Committees in Florida, “which include nearly 1000 Jewish leaders across the state in Miami, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Sarasota.”
Other details of the campaign’s Florida Jewish strategy were contained in the press release, excerpted below:
Top national surrogates, like Senators Biden, Schumer and Ben Cardin of Maryland have traveled to Florida to meet with the Jewish community, and others like special Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross will continue to do so on behalf of the campaign.
JCLC members make-up a critical component of the campaign’s field operation in predominantly-Jewish neighborhoods and communities, and participate in phone banks and canvasses.
The campaign and JCLC members are hosting Jewish outreach house parties.
The campaign is providing resources for JCLC members and other Jewish supporters to talk about Senators Obama and Biden’s strong records on issues of importance to the Jewish community in Florida, including standing by Israel, strengthening public education, defending the division between church and state, making sure Social Security remains viable and solvent, ensuring healthcare for all, appointing moderate justices to the Supreme Court and protecting a woman’s right to choose.
The Obama campaign has also been bolstered by widespread support of rabbis nationwide, including a number of rabbis in Florida like Rabbi Joel Levine of Palm Beach Gardens.
JCLCs will also be launched in Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other Florida cities between now and November.
A top Florida Jewish Republican has responded. According to Politico, Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner said Sarah Palin will help attract votes among Jews:
Don’t underestimate Gov. Palin’s support in the Jewish community. The Obama campaign’s recent move acknowledges that they have ongoing problem in the Jewish community, and just going around Florida to scare voters about Gov. Palin won’t work. Jewish voters are more thoughtful than just being one issue voters and they wont react well to attacks against her because of her religion – as a religious minority that would be insulting to many Jews.