Jewish Democrats secret weapon: Barbara Streisand

Legendary singer and longtime Democrat releases a National Jewish Democratic Council video emphasizing women's rights.

Barbra Streisand (photo credit: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
Barbra Streisand
(photo credit: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
WASHINGTON – As the US election campaign enters its final days, Jewish Democrats think they’ve hit upon a real show-stopper: an endorsement for US President Barack Obama from Barbra Streisand.
The National Jewish Democratic Council released an endorsement video on Friday featuring the Broadway icon, on the heels of videos with former New York mayor Ed Koch and former US Middle East adviser Dennis Ross singing Obama’s praises.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, in contrast, offered up a video of a slightly lower-profile advocate for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, but one who is an Israeli immigrant.
The RJC production stars Bryna Franklin, former chairwoman of Democrats Abroad Israel and a 2008 Obama voter, who is originally from Missouri and now lives in Jerusalem.
In the video, she explains that her switch in allegiances stems from Obama’s treatment of Israel.
Streisand, for her part, defends Obama’s Israel and Iran policies.
“President Obama continues to stand strongly with our ally Israel and in preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons while implementing the strictest sanctions ever,” she tells the camera.
The videos are part of the last-minute push by the two sides to get Jewish voters to back their side on Election Day, Tuesday.
Both groups are also engaging in phone banking, mass emailing and leafleting.
With polls showing the race as razor-close, the relatively small numbers of Jewish voters have taken on heightened significance, particularly because the RJC has made an unprecedented $6.5 million effort to attract a constituency that votes reliably Democrat.
The enterprise includes what the RJC describes as the most sophisticated and comprehensive list of Jewish voters in key swing states ever compiled.
Jewish Democrats have a somewhat more modest operation. NJDC President David Harris put the dollar amount the group has raised for its campaign as “into seven figures,” though he wouldn’t give the actual number.
In addition, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications raised upwards of $300,000 for a dedicated Jewish media outreach and rapid-response team, though the company also didn’t provide a precise dollar amount.
Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio are the three swing states where the Jewish community is likely to make the biggest difference, with both sides concentrating their outreach there.
Current forecasts tend to predict Ohio and Pennsylvania going for Obama and Florida going for Romney, but the difference in polls are often within the standard margin of error, making the outcomes far from certain.