NJDC, RJC spar over campaign ads targeting Jews

NJDC, RJC spar over campaign ads targeting Jews

In an election year, ads run consistently on the television, radio and newspapers. Both the Republicans and Democrats attempt to educate voters on the different issues and where the respective candidates stand.
This year’s election has heavily focused on the Jewish vote, with both sides putting out extensive ad campaigns to reach voters.
Both the National Jewish Democratic Coalition and the Republican Jewish Coalition have their ad campaigns in full swing before the November election.
While neither side will say they agree with their competition on all the issues, both sides did agree that they are educating voters on the issue, and as 501C4 not-for-profit organizations, are not promoting either candidate.
Ira Forman, executive director of NJDC says that RJC has been running an extremely negative campaign, because Republican nominee Sen. John McCain isn’t in touch with the Jewish community.
“They don’t have anything positive to say, because on almost all the issues their candidate is out of sync with the Jewish community,” Forman said. “They have to go very negative and it pains me to say this, but all their ads are major distortions and some even flat out lies. I don’t think it’s a very Jewish thing to do — this kind of sleazy tactic.”
“The RJC specializes in taking a grain of truth and wrapping it in six layers of distortion,” he continued. “I think that is pitiful and sad.”
The ads Forman was referring to are a series of five full-color ads running in Jewish newspapers across the country.
Four of the five ads depict a negative image of Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama. However, Suzanne Kurtz, press secretary for the RJC says that these ads are a necessity to show concerns about Obama’s campaign.
“Our ads, while they may be uncomfortable for the democrats, all highlight legitimate issues of concerns with Obama’s positions, statements and advisors,” Kurtz said. “All legitimate issues are to date, and all are legitimate points of concern with Obama.”
Kurtz also pointed out one particular ad in the series that quotes prominent democratic leaders praising McCain — including Forman himself.
“I have to take my hat off to [McCain] for putting principle in front of politics… I wish there were more John McCains,” Forman said in a JTA story in 1999.
However, Forman cautioned voters not to be taken in by the quote, saying that it was taken out of context and wasn’t properly explained.
“I was saying nice things about John McCain in a JTA article, because McCain had called for throwing Pat Buchanan out of the Republican Party,” Forman said.
Forman had praised McCain back in 1999 for his stance on Buchanan because George W. Bush, at the time governor of Texas, had supported keeping Buchanan in the party.
“I wish we had more John McCains from the 1999 varieties because those McCains don’t exist anymore,” Forman said. “The use of that quote is just another illustration of their willingness to say anything to get a vote.”
The RJC will have anymore ads before the November election, Kurtz simply said, “Stay tuned, it’s possible.”
The NJDC would be coming out with a new ad every week until November, according to Forman.
“We are very comfortable talking about the facts, talking about the real differences and real similarities,” he said. “Leave it to the Jewish voters to determine who is in their best interests and Americas best interest. We don’t believe that you have to resort to lies, distortions and fear to get the Jewish community vote. We rely on their intelligence and knowledge of issues.”
When asked about the RJC’s specific negative ads, Forman had a very simple, short response.
“These guys have no shame.”

(Mike Zoller can be reached at mikez@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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