- By Robert ZeligerRobert Zeliger is News Editor of Foreign Policy.
Obama tries to shore up Jewish support, while poll shows he doesn’t have much to worry about
A new gallup poll released today shows that despite recent remarks by President Obama that the 1967 borders should be the starting point in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians — a position that angered pro-Israel hawks — most American Jews still approve of the president. His approval rating among American Jews in June averaged 60 percent, down from 68 percent in May (a change that corresponds with declining numbers among other groups, reflecting the president’s inflated rating in May, post-bin Laden raid, Gallup said). Thirty-two percent of American Jews disapproved of the president’s job in June.
By comparison, Gallup found that his approval rating among all groups in June averaged 46 percent.
The Washington Post reported last week that Obama’s team will “go on the offensive against critics of his stance on Israel,” with the help of Jewish supporters, including community leader Alan Solow, former Congressmen Mel Levin and Robert Wexler, and business executive Penny Pritzker.
Obama’s supporters say the plan is in effect an acknowledgment that conservative attacks on Obama’s Israel stance have made defections among Jewish voters and donors a possibility they must take seriously. Obama’s advisers see a need to push back even harder on the attacks than they did in 2008, in part because Obama now has a record on the issue to defend – a record that even Obama’s supporters concede has not been adequately explained.
Obama won close to 80 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008. Politico reported last week that some Jewish Democratic Party donors were worried that Obama’s stance on Israel could cost him support in 2012 in the Jewish community.
In its analysis, Gallup challenged the Politico article, saying its conclusions may apply to “certain politically active members of the Jewish-American community,” but are “not reflective of the views of Jewish Americans more generally.”
Romney heading to London this week to raise money, may meet with PM Cameron
Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney will be in London tomorrow for a fundraiser, where he plans to try and look the statesman by meeting with a senior British official and perhaps the prime minister himself.
Romney will meet on Thursday with Peter Ricketts, the national security advisor who will soon become Britain’s ambassador to France. According to the Boston Globe, a British official said that David Cameron “planned to drop by that meeting, if his schedule allowed.”
A photo with the leader of one of the U.S.’s closest allies couldn’t hurt — given his lack of foreign policy experience. But there has been criticism of Romney raising money in a European capital, especially after attacking Obama for his “awfully European” outlook.
Things haven’t gone smoothly with the actual fundraiser planning. Originally booked at the home of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and his wife, American lawyer Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the venue had to be moved after Lady Lynn came out as a Jon Huntsman supporter. She held a fundraiser in New York for the former ambassador to China on the day he announced his candidacy in June and called him the “real deal” and “fabulous” in an interview with the Boston Globe.
She had apparently allowed the Romney campaign to use her London home as a favor to a friend, but went on to make some disparaging remarks about the candidate, according to the Globe:
I feel sorry for Mitt Romney…. I think Mitt Romney has the Al Gore problem, which is that he’s perfect on paper but he does not connect with people and I don’t think there’s anything he can do…. And I think his flip-flopping is not a good thing. He’s made too many Faustian bargains and we need somebody who stands up for what they believe. I think Obama would roll him…. I don’t think he can beat Obama.
The Romney campaign will hold the fundraiser instead at the Dartmouth House, a mansion near Hyde Park.
Gov. Perry declares war on drug traffickers
The Texas governor (who hasn’t declared he’s running for president yet, but come on…) has deployed the Texas Department of Public Safety — which includes an air force of more than 20 helicopters and airplanes — to the Mexican border in “unprecedented numbers,” according to an NPR report today, in an effort to more aggressively go after drug cartels crossing the 1,200-mile-long border. Gov. Rick Perry said the 8,000 federal Border Patrol agents working there aren’t enough to “seal the border.”
He told Fox News recently that Obama’s assertion that border security had been strengthened under the president’s watch was not true.
“This president either does not know or does not care what is going on on the border of Texas,” he said.”I don’t want the people of the state of Texas to have to be the catalyst that finally gets the administration to understand that there is great terror on our southern border.”
The governor’s message hasn’t gone over well with everyone in his state. The mayor of El Paso told NPR that Perry was just trying to score political points and was playing fast and loose with the facts.
“The governor has twice said that there’s been car bombs going off in El Paso, not clarifying that it actually happened in Juarez, Mexico, state of Chihuahua,” said Mayor John Cook. “That’s their country, that’s their side of the border. This is my country, this is my side of the border.”