Md. Jewish lawmakers sign on for Obama


A slate of Maryland Jewish Democratic lawmakers endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.

State Attorney General Douglas Gansler, five state lawmakers, two officials of suburban Montgomery County and a host of Jewish leaders signed on to an e-mail letter backing Obama as part of a campaign for the Jewish vote ahead of Tuesday’s state primary.

“The time for change, the time for a leader who will heal, unify and make the world a better, kinder and safer place for our children, grandchildren is NOW,” said the letter sent to Maryland Jews. “We believe that Barack Obama is such a leader.”

Along with Maryland, primaries will be held Tuesday in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Obama won the three state contests on Saturday, in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state, beating U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by wide margins.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, dealt a blow to the front-runner status of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with a blowout victory in Kansas and a narrow win in Louisiana. The contest in Washington state was still too close to call. Caucuses in Maine were under way on Sunday.

In his Jewish campaign, Obama is pushing hard against false Internet rumors depicting him as a secret Muslim and hostile to Israel. The Maryland letter addressed those rumors.

“Barack Obama’s friendship with Israel is clear and unwavering despite the vicious and fallacious emails circulating the internet,” it said. “In his own words, he is committed to Israel as a Jewish state.”

Obama proxies were also reaching out in person to Jews in the region. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who is Jewish, met with young Jewish D.C. professionals on Saturday evening. Schakowsky said Obama stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel but understood peace negotiations were the key to ensuring Israel’s security.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), the unofficial top Jewish proxy in the campaign, was meeting with top Jewish opinion leaders at a home in the wealthy Washington suburb of Potomac on Sunday afternoon.

Last week, according to the Forward newspaper, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who is close to Jewish leaders in the state, met with a slate of Baltimore Jewish lay officials on behalf of Clinton.

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