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January 23, 2004 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

N

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Dean statements swayed Jewish backlash in Iowa.

Washington/JTA
ewish voters in Iowa's
Democratic caucuses on
Monday turned to
-
Massachusetts Sen. John
Kerry in large numbers because of a
well-oiled machine that targeted Jews
— and because of ongoing concerns
about Howard Dean, activists there
say.
Alan Koslow, a Dean activist who
hosted a caucus in West Des Moines
— where many of the state's Jews
live — said he and his`wife were the
only Jews in the room vot-
ing for Dean, the former
Vermont governor who was
the early Democratic front-
runner in Iowa.
Iowa has 1,300 Jewish
families.
Dean once called for the
United States to take an
"even-handed" policy in the
Kerry
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
and once referred to Hamas terrorists
as "soldiers." Dean says he now
regrets using the term "even-hand-
ed," explaining that he simply had
wanted to advocate greater U.S.
involvement in the Middle East.
He also says he used the term "sol-
diers" to justify Israel's right to target
Hamas leaders for assassination.
Iowa Democrats may have ended
the political career of one of
Congress' strongest advocates for
Jewish concerns. Rep. Richard
Gephardt, D-Mo., who served as
Democratic leader in the House
from 1989 to 2002, ended his presi-
dential bid Tuesday, a day after he
captured only 11 percent of the Iowa
vote.
Gephardt, 62, previously
announced that he would not seek
re-election to the House, thus ending
a Washington career that began
when he joined the House in 1977.
"A lot of Jewish Democrats are
quite saddened by the apparent end
of Dick Gephardt's political career,"
said Ira Forman, executive director
of the National Jewish Democratic
Council. "He was always a friend,
not just on domestic issues, but on
Israel."
On domestic issues, Jewish sup-
porters said they cannot remember

an issue in which Gephardt and a
majority of the Jewish community
diverged. In his hometown of St.
Louis, Gephardt met over brunch
with Jewish community leaders three
to four times a year, for 15 years.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman was little
more than a ghost in Iowa, and his
decision not to contest that state's
caucuses may come back to haunt
him in New Hampshire next week.
The Connecticut senator, considered
the first viable Jewish candidate for
president, decided in September to
bypass Iowa's Democratic caucus and
focus his limited resources on
the Jan. 27 New Hampshire
contest, followed by primar-
ies a week later in South
Carolina, Arizona, Oklahoma
and Delaware.
The strategy has kept him
largely out of the public eye
in recent weeks and makes it
critical that he do well in
New Hampshire.
The surprise turnout in the Iowa
Democratic caucuses — some
precincts reported three times as
much turnout as in 2000 — showed
that Lieberman's assessment that he
was not viable in the state might
have been an oversimplification.
Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., and
Kerry also were not considered
favorites in September, when
Lieberman made his decision, but
they ended up doing well and likely
will retain momentum. Lieberman,
by contrast, has been an afterthought
in media coverage the past few weeks
as he campaigns in New Hampshire.
And his support has slipped.
The latest American Research
Group poll in New Hampshire,
taken Jan. 16-18, had Dean leading
the state with 28 percent of the vote,
though slipping from a high of close
to 40 percent. Clark was second with
20 percent, followed by Kerry with
19 percent, Edwards with 8 percent
and then Lieberman with 6 percent.
Lieberman received the endorse-
ment Monday of New Hampshire's
largest newspaper, the Manchester
Union-Leader. Given the paper's
tough conservative bent, however, it's
questionable how much it will help
Lieberman's primary campaign. ❑

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