He Thinks It's Not Kosher!

He Thinks It's Not Kosher!

He Thinks It's Not Kosher!

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 31 2012 2:12 PM

He Thinks It's Not Kosher!

WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Count me among the people who muttered "whuh-huh?" when they heard Newt Gingrich use this line yesterday. I heard it at a rally in Tampa.

Governor Romney imposed on Catholic hospitals a position against their conscience. Governor Romney cut off kosher meals for Jewish senior citizens on Medicaid for $5 a day.
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The story originally came from Geoff Earle at the (c'mon, one guess) New York Post, who explained what happened. In 2003, as Massachusetts was coming out of the early Aughts recession, the state legislature passed a $600,000 subsidy for kosher meals; Romney vetoed it. The most interesting part of the story had been that it was pushed by Dov Hivkind, a Democratic assemblyman who first backed the GOP candidate for Anthony Weiner's seat, and is now backing Newt Gingrich. But no, this is way more interesting: Via Ed Kilgore, a robocall from the Gingrich campaign.

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.

Maybe this will win Florida for Gingrich. Odds are it won't. In 2008, only 3 percent of the GOP primary electorate was Jewish, compared to 9 percent in the dysfunctional Democratic primary.* The vote was so small that exit pollsters couldn't really determine who Republican Jews were voting for. Robocalls are targeted, of course, and it's only good journalism that brought this out into the mainstream, but man, what was it supposed to achieve?

*Democrats and Republicans both punished Florida for moving up the primary. Democrats took away all of the state's delegates. Republicans merely halved them. As a result, no Democratic candidate competed in Florida, and Hillary Clinton won the state by default, with a better than 2-1 landslide among Jewish voters.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.