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January 10, 2013 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-01-10

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move faster and in a smarter way than
anyone else doing media outreach"
The Hub had prepared documents
such as op-eds in anticipation of
some subjects that would come up
in the media, such as the debates or
Romney's trip to Israel.
"We were also proactive said
Keyak, "because we had a specialty
area. We were churning out all of
these memos, and we were in con-
stant contact with reporters:'
He said the Hub was fluent when
it came to issues such as the presi-
dent's support for Israel. That fluency
extended to other foreign policy
issues such as Iran, but the Hub knew
that Jewish voters also held social
issues near and dear.
"We knew 90 percent of Jews are
pro-choice he said. "We knew 80
percent of Jews were in favor of
same-sex marriage. So it wasn't dif-
ficult to paint Romney as out of step
with Jewish voters. But we had to get
that message out. We were more than
happy to engage on issues of Israel
and Iran, but the biggest differences
between the two were social issues.
As Republicans worked to reach
out to its base, it only pushed away
Jewish voters in greater numbers.
"This was all about informing the
Jewish voters about their choices in
this election. With all of the predic-
tions from the right-wing media,
Obama got overwhelming support
from the Jewish community despite
tens of millions of dollars to attempt
to smear his record on Israel:'
Keyak, who also previously worked
for the NJDC, had been talking with
Rabinowitz for a while about the
project. Both knew the GOP was
going to come after the Jewish vote.
"We wanted to make sure we com-
bated their smear campaign against
Obama to the best of our ability:' Keyak
said. "It's something Steve Rabinowitz
has done for his whole career:'
The Hub worked with reporters
covering the Jewish vote in nation-
ally known newspapers such as the
Washington Post and New York Times.
It also placed articles or op-eds in
Jewish newspapers reporting on
battleground communities. Op-eds
included bylines from former and
current members of Congress and
other high-visibility supporters,
including Sen. Frank Lautenberg
(New Jersey), former AIPAC
President Steve Grossman and phi-
lanthropist Edgar Bronfman as well
as former presidents of Hadassah,
Jewish Women International and the
National Council of Jewish Women.
The Hub also created websites such
as israelquiz.org , which compared

the Israel records of Presidents Bush,
Reagan and Obama with Romney's. It
created a video of residents of Sderot,
the Gaza border town, praising the
president for the Iron Dome anti-
missile system.
On Facebook, a Hub graphic asked
Romney what he meant by "doing
the opposite of President Obama"
on Israel. There was also the "Jewish
Test:' a site asking people to respond
with their positions on 10 issues.
All of this was in addition to some-
times hourly advice to key campaign
staffers, the Democratic National
Committee, the White House and
other nonprofits on how to send a
message to the Jewish community
and remain in touch with the most
widely read reporters covering the
Jewish vote — as much as the law
permitted, said Rabinowitz.

Obama And The Jews
Rabinowitz said he felt the Obama
campaign was taking the challenge
seriously, hiring Ira Forman a year
and a half before the election as a
connection to the Jewish community.
But Rabinowitz and Dorf thought
there was a huge need for more.
"Obama was under tremen-
dous attacks from the right:' said
Rabinowitz. "There was a lot of money
behind the attacks from people who
were more concerned about bringing
down Obama than keeping Israel as a
bipartisan issue. They've spent years
attacking Obama. And it had to be
responded to. We had to do something"
Forman, the Jewish outreach direc-
tor for President Obama's re-election
staff, said the Hub "was amazing:'
Getting back to the Olympics' moment
of silence, the Hub staff saw an opening.
"Romney:' said Rabinowitz, "had
been completely silent on it. We
thought we could make some hay
of it. The White House went ahead
and issued a statement in support of
the moment of silence. Romney was
hammered pretty well, including by
David Berger's sister.
"We could be critical of Romney;
we just couldn't say, 'Don't vote for
him; but we could be hypercritical.
Everything else we did, though, was
informational:'
Both Rabinowitz and Keyak felt
exhilarated and a bit tired when it
was all over.
"We had a good time, we worked
hard, the NJDC did great stuff, as did
the campaign:' Rabinowitz said. "We
tried to help them along:'



The
I Craig Fahle
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