In an apparent effort to appeal to Florida Jews (exactly how many of whom vote in Republican primaries, who knows?), Newt Gingrich’s campaign is using robocalls to hit rival Mitt Romney over his stance on kosher food when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Some, however, don’t think it’s a very kosher line of attack.
Gingrich previously hit Romney on the issue, saying that he “eliminated serving kosher food for elderly Jewish residents” under Medicaid. Gingrich was following up on a New York Post story last week reporting that Romney had vetoed a bill that would have channeled funds to kosher food in nursing homes.
The robocalls, however, took the attack one step further, specifically accusing Romney of denying Holocaust survivors kosher food:
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.
This prompted Commentary’s Seth Mandel to warn that “politicizing the Holocaust, especially when it’s this transparent and forced, is not traditionally the way to Jewish voters’ hearts.”
When Gingrich was asked about the robocalls, he said that he didn’t know about the calls, but added: "You might check and see whether the accusation is true."
Well, Commentary’s Alana Goodman looked into Gingrich’s earlier assertion that Romney had “eliminated serving kosher food for elderly Jewish residents,” and she concluded that the attack was not true:
…Romney’s decision was not, as Gingrich claims, a choice to “eliminate kosher food for elderly Jewish residents under Medicare.” First of all, it was a choice made by the nursing homes themselves, not the Massachusetts government. Second, it was never actually going to prevent kosher residents from accessing kosher food. And third, Romney’s decision wouldn’t have cut anything – he simply vetoed additional funds, keeping funding at the status quo during a budget crisis year. Which means Gingrich’s comments have little basis in reality.