Democrats still talking about Israel-related plank
An omission over an Israel-related plank in the Democrat's Party platform continues to see fall out. After catching a lot of flack over leaving the issue out, democrats have now added it back in. But a voice vote at the convention shows a still divided party. Our Nick Reisman has more.
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A day after the Democratic platform was amended to include references to God and that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Democrats are trying to explain how the unforced error occurred.
“I like to think of it as a typo,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
The party is trying to declare a mulligan and move on, but the episode re-opened concerns that President Obama would have difficulty marshaling votes from the Jewish community. Democrats staunchly defended the president on his stance toward Israel.
Stringer said, “I think it's very clear to everybody that previous Democratic platforms have always recognized Jerusalem as part of Israel, united Israel, the capital of Israel and that will never be compromised as part of the Democratic platform.”
The news of the missing language initially angered Jewish leaders and other supporters of Israel and left some questioning what happened.
“Let me tell you. I was one of those people really pushing to amend it. I was very angry when I heard it was taken out. But it was put back in, it was put back in at the request of President Obama,” Representative Eliot Engel said.
The problem could be especially acute for Obama in Florida, a swing state that could mean the difference in the election.
“Whatever you think about the merits of the policy and they're very complicated and nuanced, taking the language out without giving a heads up to Jewish activists at a time when you're trying to calm the concerns of the Jewish community, it's one of the dumbest political moves I've seen in a long time,” said Larry Levy of the center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.
New York Senator Charles Schumer told reporters the original plank was a mistake and in a speech Tuesday night insisted the president stands with Israel.
Schumer said, “When it comes to one of our closest allies, Israel, President Obama has been resolute.”
Naturally, Republicans pounced on the news, saying the stumble was a sign that Obama is distancing the U.S. from Israel.