Kadima to portray Netanyahu as 'sweaty populist'

Strategists will try to persuade voters to have Livni as PM instead of "recycling Netanyahu."

netanyahu bibi boyish 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
netanyahu bibi boyish 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Kadima will run a personality-based campaign that highlights the differences between party leader Tzipi Livni and front-running Likud candidate Binyamin Netanyahu, Kadima strategists said Sunday. The campaign's steering committee met for the first time on Sunday at the party's Petah Tikva headquarters. Political consultants Reuven Adler, Lior Chorev, Eyal Arad and Kalman Geyer discussed strategy with Livni, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi. Sources who were present at the closed-door meeting said the goal of the campaign would be to "take off Netanyahu's costume." They said they would not run a campaign of personal attacks against Netanyahu, but would present him as "a sweaty populist who gives into pressure, makes unstatesmanlike decisions and who took away people's pensions." The campaign will also suggest that electing Netanyahu would harm Israel's relations with the United States, disenfranchise the poor and prevent any chance of reaching peace with Syria and the Palestinians. The slogan, "Kadima: What's good for the country," is intended to convey a message that Livni puts the nation ahead of her personal interests, while Netanyahu puts himself first. Another strategy will be to persuade the public to give Livni a chance to be prime minister instead of "recycling Netanyahu." "This elections is about who will sit in the driver's seat and lead the country," said Itzik, who will chair the campaign. "There are those who were there before and were voted out. We have people who are new and not recycled." A participant in the meeting said the campaign's leaders were not concerned about Friday's polls that indicated a lead of six to 11 mandates for Likud over Kadima. "There are no worries about the polls," he said. "The polls won't dictate when we worry, just like previously they didn't dictate euphoria."