Selling GOP to Jewish Women

Republicans Look To Shift Debate to Economy and Israel

Women’s World: Mitt Romney is hoping to chip away at Barack Obama’s dominant support among Jewish women. The GOP hopes to shift the discussion from reproductive rights and other ‘women’s issues,’ to broader topics like the economy and Israel.
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Women’s World: Mitt Romney is hoping to chip away at Barack Obama’s dominant support among Jewish women. The GOP hopes to shift the discussion from reproductive rights and other ‘women’s issues,’ to broader topics like the economy and Israel.

By Nathan Guttman

Published August 30, 2012, issue of September 07, 2012.
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The GOP platform, adopted by the convention on August 28, states that the party will oppose funding or subsidizing health care that includes abortion coverage. It also declares that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

These views, argued Nancy Kaufman, chief executive officer of the National Council of Jewish Women, run contrary to the consensus within the Jewish community.

“This is as clear as day,” Kaufman said. She was scheduled to speak on a Republican panel debating the party’s platform on women’s issues. The discussion was canceled, leaving unchallenged the platform with strong anti-abortion language. “What I would have said is that we see religious freedom and reproductive rights as inter twined,” Kaufman said.

Steven Windmueller, a professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, agreed that this approach represents the view of all Jewish women’s organizations. “They all hold consistent liberal values on these issues,” he said.

But Republicans still believe they can chip away at Obama’s lead among Jewish women.

The struggle may have gotten just a little bit easier with the recruitment of some powerful and deep-pocketed Jewish women to lead it.

In a pedestrian strip across the road from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which hosted the convention, a sign directed delegates to the Dr. Miriam Adelson “Woman Up!” Pavilion, which was set up by the conservative group YG Network. The carefully designed retreat was intended to provide conservative women attending the convention with a place to discuss politics from a woman’s perspective.

It was named in honor of Miriam Adelson, wife of Jewish casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who, through his multimillion-dollar super-PAC donations, is responsible for many of the Republican attack ads against President Obama. Miriam Adelson is a full partner in the spending spree, which made the couple the top ranking donors from outside groups to the Romney campaign. As such, she is perhaps the most powerful nonelected woman in the party.

The YG Network and Action Fund, formed by a former aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, embraced Adelson, who gave the group $5 million.

“She puts her money where her mouth is,” Carter, policy director of the YG Network, told CNN.


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