Mitt Romney Pushes Economy and Israel

GOP Nominee Tells Jewish Voters He Can Do Better

Mitt’s Message: The GOP convention ended with a rousing cry: We can do better. Does Mitt Romney’s message have a chance with Jewish voters?
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Mitt’s Message: The GOP convention ended with a rousing cry: We can do better. Does Mitt Romney’s message have a chance with Jewish voters?

By JTA

Published August 31, 2012.
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The Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director, Matt Brooks, said that Democrats’ emphasis on abortion amounted to “scare tactics,” claiming that past Republican presidents have not changed the fact that abortion remains legal and that this reality was not going to change. “Being pro-choice does not mean that is the single most important issue you are going to vote for,” Brooks said.

In Tampa, Jewish Republicans, who tend to trend moderate on social issues, were sticking with their party despite its opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

“We are more and more an integral part of the party,” said Rich Weissman, 58, who was attending both as a member of the RJC and the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group. “Over time, things like gay marriage will evolve,“ said Weissman, the owner of a data analytics business in Portland, Ore.

But Romney’s main emphasis, in any case, was on American families and their bottom lines. “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans,” he said, and paused with a smirk, inspiring a rumble of laughter throughout the Tampa Bay Times Forum. He continued: “And heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

Romney outlined a five-point plan that projected energy independence by 2020; promised education reforms to give parents choice in which schools their children attend; pledged new trade agreements with other counties, but warned of “unmistakable consequences” for those that cheat; vowed to reduce the deficit; and called for helping small businesses by reducing their taxes, simplifying regulations and repealing Obama‘s signature health care plan.

National security was a preeminent issue the 2004 and 2008 elections; in each, war heroes who made their biographies central to their pitch lost to candidates who successfully made the case that their national security policies, if not their experience, were likelier to secure the nation. Romney’s pitch has been to first emphasize personal and financial security, and then to underscore his argument that such security is a predicate for a safer America.

“That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother’s confidence that their children’s future is brighter even than the past,” he said, wrapping up his speech to burgeoning cheers. “That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.”

The single convention speech that was dedicated purely to foreign policy, by Rice, the former secretary of state, also had an economic emphasis.

“There is no country, no, not even a rising China, that can do more harm to us than we can do to ourselves if we fail to accomplish the tasks before us at home,” she said.

At least as far back as his first bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nod, Romney has taken a beating from detractors who deride him as colorless. The convention sought to make a strength of that perceived weakness: Drop the risky guy with the lofty visions. The boring, safe guy is the one to address your immediate concerns – jobs and the economy.

Romney’s speech synthesized the two overwhelming themes of the convention: The need to turn the economy around, which underpinned the keynote speech of the vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Wednesday night, and that Romney is the safe and likeable choice to make that happen, underscored in the keynote speech in which his wife, Ann, introduced him on Tuesday night.

Brooks of the RJC said the party was confident that the convention’s rollout of Romney, the family man, would help put him over the top come Election Day.

Voters “understand and get what’s at stake, they understand and get, they’re a lot more sophisticated than pundits give them credit for,” Brooks said at a press conference for Jewish media. “This well be a referendum on the job that the president is doing.”


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