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Source: Hoenlein aimed for bipartisanship

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A source helping Malcolm Hoenlein organize next week’s Iran rally tells JTA – on condition of being quoted only as an “official” – that Hoenlein genuinely saw the pairing of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential pick, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as an appropriate match for the event.

As I reported earlier, Democrats are furious that organizers, in particular the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations executive, matched a Democratic lawmaker with the number two on the GOP ticket. The official agrees that, in hindsight, Hoenlein’s decision not to approach the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) after he secured Palin (apparently last week) was naive. The official adds, however, that Hoenlein’s decision was fueled by anxiety that, after having secured Clinton early in August, he was having trouble finding a Republican. In other words, Hoenlein’s relief at finally getting a Republican might have gotten in the way of anticipating the fury of Democrats in general and Clinton in particular (she pulled out Wednesday, essentially accusing the organizers of making the event partisan).

Palin has yet to confirm. Officials in the Obama campaign say a surrogate will be there – but would not say if Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), would be the one.

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