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Likud, Labor, Kadima lament campaign mistakes
Gil Stern Stern Hoffman
02/09/2009
Likud MKs complaining about campaign mistakes that prevented an initially expected landslide victory.
A day before Tuesday's election, MKs in the Likud were already complaining about mistakes made in the party's campaign that prevented a landslide victory that was initially expected. The MKs said they still expected to win, but the predicted small margin of victory would make it much harder to govern. It would also likely result in the Likud having fewer ministers, and in some MKs who expected to join the cabinet being disappointed. MKs complained behind closed doors that they had not been included in the campaign, had not been asked to speak at rallies and had not been featured in commercials. The only MK involved in decision-making for the campaign was Gideon Sa'ar. The campaign's ads featured the party's recent additions, former ministers Bennie Begin and Dan Meridor and former IDF chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon. But when Netanyahu shifted rightward following Israel Beiteinu's rise in the polls, the dovish Meridor was removed from the ads. The MKs said many party activists had complained that the party had not utilized them and that there had not been enough rallies. They also complained that the party had not put enough activists on the party payroll. They said that instead, the money had gone toward an Internet campaign, modeled after US President Barack Obama's Web site. Unlike in Obama's case, they said, Netanyahu's use of the Internet had not proven successful. Another problem Likud officials cited was that Netanyahu hired too many advisers, who stepped on each other's toes. There were also complaints among Labor and Kadima MKs regarding their own parties. The Labor MKs said chairman Ehud Barak had harmed himself by shifting his goal from winning the premiership to remaining defense minister. In Kadima, meanwhile, MKs said Livni was currently riding a wave of momentum, but during the Gaza war she shifted to the right and presenting herself as a security authority, neither of which appeared credible.
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