TheIndependent: All roads to the White House

For Barack Obama, all roads to the White House lead through Florida – and Israel
President battles to dispel Republican accusations as he woos the key Jewish vote
When Barack Obama spoke at a rally near Cape Canaveral two days ago to press home his support for the local space industry, a single heckler persistently shouted from the back of the crowd, “What about Israel?”. It was a reminder – as if he needed it – that his hold on the crucial Jewish vote in South Florida may be in jeopardy.

For weeks now, the Mitt Romney campaign has been touting the notion that when it comes to Israel, the United States has not been the friend it is meant to be under President Obama. And it is being brazenly trumpeted up and down the interstate highways in this part of Florida with billboards proclaiming, “Obama… Oy Vey!”

In 2008 Mr Obama won the votes of 78 per cent of Jewish Americans; Mr Romney making inroads into that support could have important consequences, particularly in swing states with small, if significant, Jewish blocks like Ohio, Pennsylvania and especially Florida, where the margin of victory for either side might be very slim indeed. George W Bush took Florida in 2000 from Al Gore, with the help of the US Supreme Court, by 537 votes. Last night Bill Clinton was due in Miami to address grassroots supporters.

The sudden focus on the Jewish vote is a reminder that Mr Obama is in essence fighting multiple campaigns at once. There is the national platform with its overarching theme of defending the middle class, and beyond it there are sub-campaigns tailored to a wide range of key individual constituencies, including women, retirees, gays, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, veterans (and, yes, even space industry employees). Appealing to those groups – each was assiduously wooed from the stage at the Democratic convention – is especially important in an election which hangs on a sliver of undecided voters in only seven or eight states. READ MORE:–and-israel-8126161.html?origin=internalSearch