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NORPAC: We Didn’t Snub Obama

The leader of Norpac, a powerful pro-Israel political action committee based in New Jersey, has rejected a blogger’s assertion that the group “has a problem” with presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, based on an email that Norpac sent out to its members.

Yesterday, Ben Smith of the Politico blog argued that Norpac had provided “another indicator that Obama has a problem with the pro-Israel groups.” Obama was not included in an email Norpac sent out instructing members to channel presidential donations through Norpac members involved in the Clinton, McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Brownback, and Edwards campaigns.

According to Choake, Obama was not included because there are currently no Norpac members actively involved in fundraising for the Obama campaign.

“[We have] members who are active, or interested in being very active with [some of the presidential] campaigns, so [we wanted] to alert our membership to focus their donations to those members so that we’re effective,” Choake told the Forward. “The fact that Obama’s off the list has nothing to do with our policy towards Obama, just simply the fact that our membership is by and large very unfamiliar with him. He’s only been in the Senate for two years, [and] he’s a senator from Illinois, which is pretty far away from our core constituency, which is mostly in the Northeast.”

“If one of our members said, ‘You know what, I know this guy, I like him, I’m working with him,’ then we would say, ‘Anybody who’s interested in participating in the Obama campaign, please focus it through this particular member who’s on the finance committee.’ It’s just that simple.”

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