Who’s Endorsing Whom: Jewish Lawmakers’ Picks

By Jennifer Siegel

Published January 16, 2008, issue of January 18, 2008.
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HILLARY CLINTON

Supporters:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

The Big Winner

Anthony Weiner
Like the other Jewish members of New York’s congressional delegation, Weiner has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Unlike some of them, he also has gone out of his way to take his place on her offensive line. Given that he is set on making a run for New York City mayor, Weiner may have more to gain by boldly sticking by Clinton, even if she loses, than by making a more tepid endorsement that would not risk alienating Obama.


BARACK OBAMA

Supporters:
Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH)
Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) .

The Big Winner:

Robert Wexler
Wexler, who represents the heavily Jewish district in Palm Beach County that was at the center of the 2000 election fiasco, was one of the first members of Congress to give his blessing to the upstart from Illinois. And he has vouched repeatedly for Obama’s Israel bona fides within the Jewish community. While the Democratic candidates are not campaigning in Florida due to the state’s unkosher January 29 primary date, a win here could be symbolically important before the onslaught of Super Tuesday.

Moreover, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Wexler has raised his national profile in recent months by publicly campaigning for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. A win for Obama would help Wexler advance as a leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic party.


JOHN McCAIN

Supporter:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)

The Big Winner:

Joe Lieberman
If Lieberman has lost a lot of love in Democratic circles, he’s been too busy stumping for the Arizona senator to notice. In recent weeks, Lieberman has been a fixture on the campaign trail with McCain — most notably in Florida, where he remains popular with Jewish voters.

Speculation about a McCain-Lieberman ticket may be far-fetched, but if McCain rides his Straight Talk Express all the way to the White House, Lieberman might find himself with a cabinet post, allowing him avoid a second Senate campaign as an “Independent Democrat” from Connecticut.


MIKE HUCKABEE

Supporters:
No one.

The Big Winner:

Mike Bloomberg
As Bloomberg waits for the field to take greater shape, the mayor is no doubt praying that the Baptist minister turned Arkansas governor will clinch the Republican nomination — opening up space in the race for a moderate from the Big Apple.


RUDY GIULIANI

Supporter:
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)

The big winner:

Norm Coleman
When you’re the only one on the bandwagon, there’s lots of space to stretch out.


WAITING TO ENDORSE:
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
Rep. Ronald Klein (D-FL)
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and others

The Wild Card:

Rahm Emanuel
As one of Washington’s most prominent friends of Bill and Hillary, with experience as a senior adviser in the Clinton White House and a successful tenure as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under his belt, Emanuel could stand to gain a cabinet post or ambassadorship by stumping for Hillary Clinton. At the same time, Emanuel is close to Barack Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, and doesn’t want to be left out in the cold should his fellow Chicagoan capture the White House. So far, Emanuel’s maintained his neutrality. But he has the most to gain if Clinton wins — and doesn’t hold his low profile against him.

With reporting by Marissa Brostoff






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