James Besser reports this week that Barack Obama is stepping up his Jewish push. Obama might end up delivering a major address later this month at the plenum of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and has tapped Dan Shapiro, a former National Security Council official in the Clinton administration, to work on Middle East issues and Jewish outreach (Shapiro is leaving Sen. Bill Neslon’s office this week to work for a K Street lobbying firm).
A source familiar with Camp Obama’s strategy says the real goal is to have the Illinois senator give a major policy speech on Israel before next month’s annual Aipac policy conference in Washington. The thinking is that a major talk before then will generate a bunch of stories with Obama at the center. If he waits until the Aipac meeting, he’ll end up competing directly with Hillary Clinton and other candidates for media coverage.