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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Bush tells AIPAC "Israel has every right to defend itself" (duh)

(This is Big News - see NewsMap.)
Jewish vote -about 4% of electorate- could prove pivotal in November

U.S. President George W. Bush smiles as he receives
applause from members of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, in Washington May 18, 2004. Bush
today pushed his Mideast peace effort as his
administration tries sway Jewish voters who could
prove crucial in a tight election. At left is AIPAC's
executive director Howard Kohr and at right is AIPAC
president Bernice Monacherian. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

AP: The president got two dozen standing ovations in an address before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group whose political support has been courted by the administration, particularly as Bush faces re-election.

Jewish voters preferred Democrat Al Gore over Bush by a 4-to-1 margin in 2000, but Bush's political advisers think even a slight increase in support among Jewish voters could help the Republican incumbent in what they expect to be another tight election. . . .

Lawrence Grossman, editor of the American Jewish Yearbook, published by the American Jewish Committee, said Bush seems intent on winning a larger share of the Jewish vote."

Exit polling showed Jewish voters constituted about 4 percent of the electorate in 2000.

Grossman said Jewish voters are concentrated in three states that Bush most wants to win, including Florida, with 620,000; Pennsylvania, with 282,000; and Ohio, with 149,000. The disputed 2000 election was decided in Florida by 537 votes. Bush narrowly won Ohio, and lost Pennsylvania.