President Kohn

A time line chronicling the rise of the first Jewish president

 January 26, 2004 (Sun-Sentinel): In an annual survey released this month, the influential American Jewish Committee found that the number of Jews who considered themselves Republican had increased from 9 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2003. The GOP sees this as a big opportunity for the party, and South Florida is a major battleground for Jewish ballots.

March 1 (New York Times): Sen. John Kerry told dozens of Jewish leaders in New York on Sunday that he would continue the Bush administration policy of vetoing any U.N. resolutions seen as one-sided against Israel. He also repeated that the barrier Israel is erecting to separate Palestinian from Israeli territories is a "fence," not a "wall."

April 15 (Washington Post): In declaring that Israel should be able to keep some of the occupied territories and block Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel, President Bush followed a familiar pattern of finding common cause with Jews. That Bush's move was good politics was evidenced by Kerry's quick move not to let the president outflank him among pro-Israel voters. "What's important obviously is the security of the state of Israel," the Massachusetts senator said, approving of the Bush-Sharon action.

Christopher Smith

April 20 (Miami Herald): John Kerry sought to buttress critical support among Jewish voters in Florida on Monday, boasting of a "100 percent'' voting record in support of Israel and the backing of Joe Lieberman, who wowed the community in 2000. The remarks came as the White House stepped up outreach efforts to court Jewish voters.

May 15 (Miami Herald): Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Bush administration's war in Iraq to the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County on Friday, declaring that Israel would benefit from a new democratic government in the region. "It was a fabulous moment for the Jewish people," said William Bernstein, the federation's executive vice president.

May 28 (Boca Bugle): Still stinging from the vice president's fabulous moment with the Jewish people, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry made an unannounced visit yesterday to the Flakowitz Bagel Inn, where he harangued a half-dozen retirees for more than 20 minutes. "Did I call it a fence?" Kerry asked his bewildered audience. "I really liken it to a porch screen. It's like a big, beautiful porch screen, and I find it absolutely charming. Did I mention I'm half-Jewish myself?"

June 2 (Hallandale Herald): President Bush, whose polls suggest that he lost two crucial South Florida Jewish supporters earlier this week at a Boca bagel shop, promised the Broward County chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition that, if reelected, his administration would not stop with Iraq. "My heart is with the Jewish people," the president said, tipping his new red, white, and blue yarmulke to the crowd. "And that's why we're going to invade Syria. Bechtel has already won a contract to construct the new Rosho-Disney World there. It's good stuff." Bush also ridiculed Kerry's touting of his Jewish heritage, which the Massachusetts' senator only recently learned about; his grandfather, Fritz Kohn, changed his name and converted to Catholicism. "I will not be outflanked on this issue," the president said.

May 14 (Hollywood Haaretz): John Kerry made a surprise return to South Florida yesterday, riding up to the David Park Tennis Center on a borrowed Harley-Davidson. The Democratic contender, who wore a week's growth of beard and a black suit, gave what he called a "major policy speech regarding the Middle East" during which he promised to gain the support of the United Nations to make the kingdom of Jordan part of the new "Mega-Israel." Despite his promises, at least one tennis player could be heard to say, "I'm feeling less than wowed." Then two other players politely asked the candidate to remove his motorcycle from the court so they could finish their third set.

June 22 (Tamarac Tattler): During a campaign swing through Florida, President Bush wooed Jewish voters at the home of political mercenary Harold Wishna. In the Democrat turned Republican's Tamarac home, the president described his plans for new Israeli security. "My opponent called it a wall, then said it was a fence before finally settling on porch screen," Bush remarked. "I don't operate that way. See, I know Israel's future, people, and it comes in the shape of a death ray gun. I'm talking nuclear particle beams and all kinds of real neat stuff here. I'm gonna put a death ray gun up for y'all, and if an unauthorized Arab tries to cross, well, he'll get it in the tuchis." John Kerry, keeping his much-talked-about new beard, also backed the death ray gun initiative. "Ditto," said the challenger when told of the president's plan. "I'm actually in favor of a more advanced death ray gun than my opponent -- a kind of super-duper death ray gun, if you will."

September 1 (Delray Beach Banner): John Kerry went on the offensive in a speech at Temple Emeth, attacking the president for failing to appoint any Jews to his Cabinet. The criticism prompted a strong rebuke from the White House. "What dreck," said President Bush, continuing his recent practice of sprinkling his speech with Yiddish words. "My department of defense is practically run by Jews, especially since Rummy resigned. Wolfy ain't no Lutheran, from what I can understand. And everybody knows my father happens to be Jewish -- you might remember him as a certain mensch called Jesus Christ." Kerry's strange transformation, meanwhile, continues: His hair is growing long, he's never without a hat, and he dons only black suits. Some speculate the Massachusetts senator is turning Amish.

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