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Republican Jewish Coalition Funds Anti-Obama Push Poll Smears

Ben Smith has been all over the story of anti-Obama push poll calls to Jewish voters in swing states.  But he got a real scoop yesterday when he forced the Republican Jewish Coalition to fess up that it was funding smeary calls pointing out lies and distortions about Obama’s record regarding Israel:

A Republican group is taking responsibility for a poll that has roiled the Jewish community by asking sharply negative questions about Senator Barack Obama.

The Republican Jewish Coalition…sponsored the poll to “understand why Barack Obama continues to have a problem among Jewish voters,” the group’s executive director, Matt Brooks, told Politico.

The poll asked voters their response to negative statements about Obama, including reported praise for him from a leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas and a friendship early in his career with a pro-Palestinian university professor. Some Jewish Democrats who received the poll…were outraged by the poll, describing it in interviews as “ugly” and disturbing…

Brooks said the RJC, whose board includes advisors and fundraisers for Senator John McCain, had placed 750 calls to Jewish voters in five states: Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He accused the protesters of “intimidation.”

If you believe Brooks, he’s basically a Jewish Boy Scout political scientist interested in exploring the mind of the average American Jew and providing a civics lesson.

The following statement by him is even more preposterous and transparently fake:

Brooks, however, denied that the poll was meant to influence Jewish voters, and said it was a traditional poll meant to gauge the opinions of Jewish voters.

“What we did is test, in standard polling methodology, a number of factual issues that have been reported on in the press and are policy positions to see how they’re resonating in the Jewish community,” said Brooks. “The notion that this is a ‘push poll’ is offensive to us.”

Why sure it wasn’t a push poll. They were just passing off lies about Obama’s record because they’re writing a poli sci college textbook about proper polling techniques in presidential elections. If you believe any of this I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Interesting that Brooks appears to lie about possibly the most egregious question peddled in the poll–asking whether the respondent knew Obama was a Muslim:

Brooks declined to release the script of the poll, but he denied the charge – made by two voters who received it – that pollsters had asked for a reaction to the claim that Obama is a Muslim.

“I went into this whole tirade about how I had read his autobiography and how he wasn’t a Muslim but if he was a Muslim I would vote for him anyway,” said Joelna Marcus, a retired college professor who received the call at a phone number for her home in Key West, Fla.

Who would you believe, Brooks or yours and Joelna Marcus’ “lyin’ eyes?”

Smith does get one thing wrong in conceding at least partial accuracy to all the poll questions:

Most of the statements are true, at least in part…Brzezinski is an informal advisor to Obama

Actually, Brzezinski is NOT an informal advisor to the Obama campaign. This statement has been made by the campaign and confirmed by Brzezinski. However, the charge that he IS a campaign advisor has been made repeatedly by neocon hawks and Jewish Republicans.

Thanks to reader Beth Stuart for alerting me to this story.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • amir September 18, 2008, 1:55 PM

    So taking a poll about true facts is now called a smear.

    On August 24, Mr. Brzezinski, a one-time national security adviser to President Carter, announced in an interview on Bloomberg’s satellite news channel that he was endorsing Mr. Obama, and he has been an adviser to the campaign since.

    A spokesman for the senator’s presidential campaign, Tommy Vietor, said the campaign did not know Mr. Brzezinski was leading the delegation. “The first we heard of this trip was from you,” he said. He added: “Brzezinski is not a day-to-day adviser for the campaign, he is someone whose guidance Senator Obama seeks on Iraq.”

    He’s not an informal advisor. Just someone Obama turns to for advice once in a while.
    http://www.nysun.com/foreign/obama-adviser-leads-delegation-to-damascus/71123/

  • Richard Silverstein September 18, 2008, 5:38 PM

    @amir: The push poll did not call Brzezinski an “informal advisor,” Ben Smith did. The lying push poll called the former an Obama “foreign policy advisor.” There IS a difference. Obama has not spoken directly to Brzezinski since the beginning of the campaign. I read an earlier rpt. that stated the latter had NO role, informal or otherwise. It may be that Smith is right as of Aug. 24th. But the push poll still lies any way you look at it.

  • Marsha September 19, 2008, 12:20 AM

    After readin this story on campaign smear tactics, I can imagine substituting any corrupt nation’s name in place of the US (A latin american dictatorship or a corrupt government in Asia perhaps?) and seeing readers shake their heads in pity.

    BUT ITS WITHIN OUR BORDERS THAT THIS IS HAPPENING. This is what this country has come to? Lies upon lies upon lies? And the sad thing is that we let the liars get away with it from the whitehouse on down to our community.

    We will pay for this dearly.

    Marsha

  • ellen September 22, 2008, 3:48 AM

    Richard,
    I wonder if you have considered promoting your blog among the “Jews for Obama” groups?

    I was at a meeting of such a group last night. One of the topics was the virulent anti-Obama propaganda. I brought up some of the tricks by the Republican Jewish council which you blog about, and the “obsession” film, and most of the people there had not heard of these.
    I referred them to your blog. {I am not very good at recalling details.}
    Next time, I will bring some print-outs of that particular topic.
    I have an ulterior motive in wanting other Jews in particular to read your blog! The Jews for Obama that I have met – a small number of people but I believe they are representative – focus a lot on proving that Obama is “good for Israel”. The question of Palestinians is somehow absent from the conversation, only lurking in the background as a “threat”.

    Last night, one person kept asking, “But is it true Obama once supported Palestine?” I pointed out to the group that one of the speakers had named the Jewish tradition of “mercy, compassion and decency”. Given that, I said, I had no problem with Obama supporting the Palestinian people.

    I expected to be denounced, but to my surprise, a few of the people there expressed agreement. One of the people later said that Israel was not the only issue Jews should be concerned about. Which I agree with, but that’s not a sentiment commonly expressed at the meetings I’ve been at. So now I feel that I can have a good effect, by going and articulating my (minority) position.

    And if “Jews for Obama” people go to your blog to inform themselves about anti-Obama dirty tricks, and stay to read about the Free Gaza movement, well…who knows?

    Some eyes and hearts may be opened.