Where’s that mute button?


Shmais.com reports that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appealed for support for his presidential campaign in a conference call Wednesday with Chabad rabbis.

The call, made at the request of McCain’s presidential campaign, included a direct solicitation, according to the report by the movement’s news service: “I’d be grateful for your support, it would mean a great deal to me.” (Here’s the recording.)

Which is a little odd: Chabad-Lubavitch is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and prohibited from political endorsements (something that Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the Washington Chabad office director, emphasizes in the report).

McCain goes on the record endorsing school vouchers and pledges, “We will never allow another Holocaust.”

Forty rabbis representing all 50 states were on the call. (Rabbi Shemtov is here in Denver, by the way, attending the Democratic Party convention. I expect to see him next week in St. Paul, Minn., for the GOP convention next week.

UPDATE: Some commenters think I was suggesting that it was untoward that Lubavitcher-Chabad took the call. Absolutely not (who would turn down a call from a presidential candidate?) I was only suggesting that it was odd that McCain would believe that the movement could deliver an endorsement when (as Chabad officials made clear) they could not.

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