Jewish Democrats Asked to 'Schlep' Home for Obama
The Great Schlep. Note: video contains foul language.
By Ed O'Keefe
"If Barack Obama doesn't become the next president of the United States I'm going to blame the Jews."
So says Jewish -- and infamously potty-mouthed -- comedienne Sarah Silverman in an edgy new video at TheGreatSchlep.com, a Web site designed to encourage young Jewish voters to "schlep it" to Florida -- a state with a substantial Jewish population -- and other battleground states to persuade their older Jewish relatives to vote for Obama.
In the video, Silverman suggests that if relatives are concerned about Obama's background, "Explain to them that we're all the same inside." Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Silverman ticks off what she says are some similarities between African Americans and older, Florida Jews: They "can't get enough" of track suits, both enjoy driving Cadillacs and "like things and bling and jewelry and stuff."
"Barack is a Hebrew word. It means lightning," Silverman deadpans. "I'd much rather have a president who's name means lightning than a president named John who's name means toilet."
All joking aside, the Web site is an off-shoot of JewsVote.org, the Web home of the Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER), a political action committee supporting Obama. GreatSchlep has also established a Facebook.com group that provides instructions on what to do and say when members "schlep" home to campaign for Obama on or around Columbus Day. It is also considering radio and television advertisements, Moore says.
"Our goal is to get as many people as possible to travel down to Florida to do what they can to talk to Jewish voters who remain undecided. We think there is a significant number of them," says Mik Moore, co-executive director of JCER.
Moore says he is alarmed by the large percentage of undecided Jewish voters, since a majority consider themselves Democrats. Aggregated results from the Gallup Daily tracking poll find that those Jewish voters who have decided on a candidate break heavily for Obama, 66 percent to 26 percent for John McCain.
The group has placed an emphasis on voters in Florida but will also help coordinate efforts in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. There has been no coordination among the group, the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign, Moore says.
Silverman is the first Jewish celebrity to appear in a GreatSchlep video, and Moore says the group is working on similar efforts. Her sister is a rabbi who lives in Israel, and she has starred in several movies, Comedy Central productions and a popular YouTube video (Warning: NSFW) that co-stars actor Matt Damon.
Posted at 2:58 PM ET on Sep 25, 2008
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