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October 7th, 2008
06:54 PM ET

Florida voters: "I find her offensive"

Gov. Sarah Palin in Florida today

Gov. Sarah Palin in Florida today

Tristram Korten
Salon.com

John McCain was making a bid for South Florida's Jewish voters, a crucial demographic in a purple state. But then he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate.

The local retirement community known as Century Village is just one outpost in a statewide network of Century Villages, Florida's largest chain of retirement complexes. It is also a time capsule of the New York Jewish gestalt, circa 1965, transplanted intact to the golf greens of Palm Beach County. If a small, unscientific sampling of the shoppers in the Hamptons Plaza mall, directly across from the complex, is any indication, John McCain's choice of running mates may have pushed the residents of this heavily Democratic enclave back in Barack Obama's direction.

"I was leaning towards McCain," growled Marvin Weinstein, 74, as he strode to an appointment in a doctor's office. "But I think his choice of her has turned me off."

"What I hear is she's an awful anti-Semite," George Friedberg said as he sat curbside in his Escalade. "She won't be getting my vote." Friedberg's wife, Florence, appeared at the passenger-side door, shopping bags in hand. "I was leaning towards McCain, but after he selected her I've ruled him out completely. I find her offensive."

Just a month ago, Florida was not considered top of the list among likely electoral vote pickups for Barack Obama. Since the spring McCain had held a consistent lead in the state, which dovetailed with rumors that many of South Florida's Jews, a major building block of the state's Democratic coalition, were wary of a black candidate with a Muslim middle name.

But that was before Wall Street's meltdown - and before the full import of the Palin pick began to sink in. A poll from Quinnipiac University put Obama ahead of McCain in Florida by a substantive 51 to 43 percent as of Sept. 29, and cited "Gov. Sarah Palin's sagging favorability," among other things, as an influence.

Only about 5 percent of Florida's voters are Jewish, according to exit polls from the 2004 election. But this is a swing state with 27 electoral votes and elections here are often decided by slim margins. "You never, ever take a vote for granted in Florida," notes Democratic pollster Thomas Eldon, of Schroth & Eldon Associates. "All the votes here count, even if we don't count all the votes." George Bush owed his victory in Florida in 2000, and the presidency, in large part to the difficulty that the elderly Jewish voters of Palm Beach County had with a butterfly ballot.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. nancy

    Hi Me: I don't think John McCain or Cindy could be called racists. They adopted a baby of color and she is now 17 years old and they consider her their very own. Check on these things before you call names. I think John sees barry as having no experience and being the most far left in the Senate and I think he knows Barry's past and does not think of it as being of good character. Maybe you should check barry out and find out about his life and friends. You are still judged by the company you keep. Ayers was not "just a neighbor down the street". Michelle worked with Ayers wife in a law office, coincedence? I don't think so.

    October 9, 2008 at 1:44 am |
  2. Nancy - Virginia

    Get a grip, the only person who will raise taxes on the middle class is McSame, he doesn't know what it's like to struggle, he has so many homes and cars he can't keep track of them. If anyone thinks he can relate to anyone other than the rich they are very misguided. Palin is such an ass, I can't stand the sound of her voice, she's abrasive and ignorant and a real plus to the McCain campaign--for the democrats. This campaign has become a joke, we have one candidate and one angry old man trying to force people to think the same way he does, look out ,next he'll have one of his temper tantrums because things aren't going his way. By the way Nancy, you have no idea what you're talking about, its people like you who voted for the great George W. Bush TWICE!!!!

    October 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  3. Tiffany White Eyes, Ft Thompson, SD

    McCain/Palin are mudslinging because they are losing the race. What's scarey is tht they are promoting racial hate. During rally in Florida why didn't they respond to those vicious comments made by audience "kill him(Obama)!" to say thts not wht our campaign is about. And nothing was said to those audience members when they were yelling "terrorist" I'm disgusted! I feel that because McCain/Palin didn't adress it, they are allowing and supporting the racist, hate mongering comments. While wasting their time hating, it's a positive advantage for democrats because I think Americans are better than this and have moved on from those segregated days.Americans are ssmarter than that and McCain/Palin haven't given their own constituents tht respect. America is not Hate!

    October 8, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  4. Bob Hartley

    as an Alaskan (and a dad), I can tell you that Sarah Palin is a very competent and effective leader. She is NOT a racist nor a radical. She is a very impressive person who could bring a great deal of positive change for the rest of the country. I'm personally offended by the attacks on Sarah and her family.

    October 8, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  5. Antenna Wilde

    Why isn't the media talking about her refusal to testify in troopergate when a federal judge issued subpoenas to her and her husband? I guess since Cheney and Rove don't do it, so she doesn't either. Do we want another VP who is above the law? Or has Dick just changed the laws for everyone in the "inner circle?

    October 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  6. Lisa from NC

    NANCY
    I have researched Obama's record...guess what–McCain and Palin are lying. I am white, and Obama doesn't scare me. Try as you Republicans will, it won't scare us this go round. We are united, and we will not be diverted. I am appalled that Palin/McCain are minimizing the very real problems facing families by resorting to a campaign of fear and racism.
    Now, if you do a little research on Palin (and McCain), you can find some pretty scary stuff, and it is documented. Palin actually has a terrorist pal. He laid hands on her in her church, and it is on video. He asked that she be protected from all forms of "witchcraft". This man is from Kenya, and he terrorized Kenyan women he labled as witches. In fact, I think one of them was killed. That, Nancy, is domestic terrorism. Palin gives him credit for aiding her political career.
    McCain and Palin can run naked with their hair on fire across the stage screming Obama is a terrorist, and we will not be diverted. We know the truth. Obama has remained steady, knowledgable, empathic, pragmatic, and focused. I want this kind of leadership. He does get it....McCain doesn't. His day has passed. He is too old and out of touch.

    OBAMA /BIDEN STEADY AND READY THE LEADERSHIP WE NEED.

    October 8, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  7. nancy

    George: Obama will do anythng and say anything. He has voted to tax people earning 42,000 a year 2 times! Get the facts before you make a mistake. Educate yourself, read Obama's books. Look up on Google "Black Theology" see what he learned for 20+ years and I can tell you it is very racist, so, unless your a Black this doesn't work for you. Anti-American views passed on by the "'uncle" Rev. Wright.

    October 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  8. nancy

    Jennifer, you think Obama will solve the world's problems? If he had the magic potion don't you think he would say so? He has NO idea what he is doing!! Axelrod tells him what to say, he has NO experience in anything at all. don't be foolish, we need a president with experience in all phases of life. No a "community organizer", he managed ACORN, ACORN is his baby. This man has little character~ Ask yourself no why did he have friends that are questionable, but why did they have him?

    October 8, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Lisa NC

    I find her offensive. The recent comments made about Obama are reprehensible. It is a sad day when one has to resort to such vicious personal attacks to promote him/herself.

    "YOU CAN NOT OPPRESS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AFRAID ANYMORE"

    "UNLESS WE CHANGE DIRECTION, WE ARE LIKELY TO END UP WHERE WE ARE HEADED"

    October 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  10. Diane N.

    I'm a Florida voter. I don't see her as offensive. I just don't see her. I see McCain and my choice for the vote. No matter what CNN contributors say to sway my vote...my mind is made up and has been for a very long time.

    October 8, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  11. cheri

    it makes me sick when people down sarah palin
    she is such a breath of fresh air
    so she is not polished on politics
    thank GOD for that
    polished politicans is what got us in this mess
    thank you CONGRESS full of nothing
    we have went down hill when democrats took over the congress
    before that we were fairing well
    hang on sarsh way to go girl

    October 8, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  12. me

    Diane, you are so wrong with 2 left shoes. How can you say he's an idiot when all of his education and common sense???? Don't hate because American don't want an old racist as President. Times have change and noone with the good sense God has have given want the same crap that we've had for the last 8 years.

    October 8, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  13. Lisa from NC

    I find this woman horribly offensive, racist and crass. She is spewing vile filth and lies into this campaign, and she is inciting hatred. McCain and Palin owe Barack Obama a public apology. I can't believe the McCain people actually asked for a public apology when Obama was speaking about the failed policies of McCain/Bush, and he referred to it as "lipstick on a pig"...they said "Oh, he is calling Sarah a pig..WHAT???"

    My God, these fascists are spewing terrorist accusations at a man? I am outraged as many should be!!

    October 8, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  14. Maureen / Newman, California

    @Cindy in GA – No way. More like for every 2 Palin supporters, there are 8 that think she is an incompetent, narrowminded, fanatic woman. This is why Obama is ahead in the Electoral College polls. If Palin has 3 supporters to 1 over Obama, the polls will be very different. This is America we are talking about. Not Fantasyland.

    October 8, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  15. clarence jonesville

    Some peoples are confused with the political process and some just dont have a clue about any part of it, and just go on the first neg.thing they can keep in mind.So dianne try to understand whats best for the country and who can get the country back to where it use to be.If your shallow mind can comprehend just a little you might get a clearer picture

    October 8, 2008 at 11:31 am |
  16. Mike O'Brien

    Sometimes.., I think that Sarah Palin lives in a 'fastasy world'. When 'reality' sets-in, today, tomorrow or a week from now.., with last Thursday nights 'debate' and previous 'interviews'.., Sarah Palin is "not" ready for prime-time or to be Vice-President or President. Sarah Palin is way over her head and 'out of her league'. Senator Joe Biden, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric proved that. The best thing for the Democratic Party is Sarah Palin. Mike in Montana

    October 8, 2008 at 11:17 am |
  17. carrie

    Diane: You said, I do however have issues with someone who thinks he is smarter than the average voter (Obama).

    Truth be told, he is smarter than the average voter and thank
    God. I am not looking for a President who "gosh darn, wink, wink" took 5-6 years to get a journalism degree and who get upset with the media for throwing her those hardball questions like "What newspapers do you read".

    We are in a National crisis unlike anything we have every seen. Not to mention, the International issues that we face.

    I WANT someone smarter than than me in the White House. We are not voting for an American Idol. We are voting for the leader of the Free World.

    October 8, 2008 at 11:03 am |
  18. Wanda Ford

    It's not too hard to figure why our Country is bankrupt.. "free trade" agreements have shipped our jobs overseas. The war in Iraq is costings billions every month. Refusal of the Bush regime to find other sources of energy, which makes us slaves of the middle east.
    People have been stripped of decent paying jobs, or have totally lost their jobs, due to the greedy corporations, who have been allowed to do it. Open borders, and no check of illegal immigration. Trouble is, no one seems to know what to do about it.

    October 8, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  19. Mark Cowan

    The more I see and hear from Sarah Palin the more I wonder if she will have a governorship to go back to in Alaska. She' clearly far right of Bush, to the point I'm not sure she believes in Democracy unless
    the vote agrees with her. She should be arrested for inciting to riot with the lies she says at political events. She is playing to peoples fears and racist tendencies rather than asking us to raise above all that. You have to wonder about someone who beleives shooting wolves from helocopters is fair or efficient. Thats costing over $8000/wolf. pretty expensive animal control for the tax payers.- Oh I forgot-Alaska has lots of oil from that non-existent pipeline she keeps saying is being built as we speak-like the bridge to nowhere!!!!

    October 8, 2008 at 10:31 am |
  20. Shana Overhulser

    After reviewing all candidates in both parties from the primaries to recent events, I come to believe that America's future will be best layed in the hands, and heart ,of John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin.

    October 8, 2008 at 10:27 am |
  21. Shana Overhulser

    I'm a 37 year old woman living in the State of Florida. I have been very impressed by both Sarah Palin and John McCain. After doing much research into all the candidates issues in the primaries, I find that Americans have a promising future with John McCain as president of our great nation.

    McCain's most recent strategy regarding our economy includes: taking the near-term actions needed to provide immediate help to American families while also taking the longer-term steps necessary to secure America's economic prosperity and leadership in the world.

    McCain believes that a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" must remain ever faithful to that noble charge. America needs leadership devoted to the public interest, not the special interest.

    As the 11th Governer of Alaska, Sarah Palin has her top priorities in order. She has topped the list with; energy development, ethics reform, education and workforce development, public health and safety, and transportation and infrastructure development. She has brought Republicans, Democrats and Independents together to work to change the status quo in Alaska! I think it's time for a big change in Washington DC and I think that McCain and Palin will be well suited to start on all issue facing this country immediately.

    Thank you.

    October 8, 2008 at 10:20 am |
  22. Debbie from Virginia

    Anderson – why is it only one network reported on the hatred Sarah Palin was spewing in her stump speech yesterday in Florida? She incited the crowd so much trying to link Obama as friendly to terrorists that someone in the crowd cried out "Kill him". Those of us who support Barack Obama are worried for his safety and that of his family. Who is the real terrorist here? Is this more of the divide and conquer philosophy that has pitted one American against another? We are all in this together. And as one Christian to another, I can tell you my church does not advocate this kind of hatred.

    October 8, 2008 at 9:42 am |
  23. Cindy

    Oh I am very sure for every one person that says that they find Palin offensive there are two or three who will say the same about Obama. This is Florida we are talking about.

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  24. Nicole from NoDak

    This is ridiculous, she is just doing what needs to be done because the severely liberal media hasn't done specials on it and the conservative base is sick of it. You cnn peeps should know, your a part of it. Only a liberal with a record like Obamas and absolutely no experience would be able to be in the running for prez. I hope people get their head out of the sand in time, but I'm doubtful....

    October 7, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  25. Jennifer in Bradley Illinois

    I have a family to support. I do not want to hear trash talk about Obama. I have real problems. The cost of gasoline and groceries has changed my budget dramatically. I need to know what our candidates have planned for the future of our country.
    It has become clear that McCain only cares about the McCain. He has doesn't have to worry about paying bills.
    Sarah Palin is very offensive. Mrs. Palin actually thinks she is fooling Americans. She tries to "act" folksy, but there is nothing genuine about her behavior.

    October 7, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  26. Diane

    I do not find Sarah Palin half as offensive as the smug picture Obama presents. I was all for him early on, but now am backpeddling due to his off the wall remarks and smug personality. I am a republican who votes for candidates on the issues and their projected resolution. I did not vote for Bush against Gore, but did against Kerry as he (Kerry) was too scattered in his responses. I will never think that George Bush is truly representative of the American Voter objectives. I do however have issues with someone who thinks he is smarter than the average voter. Obama is an idiot, and the press needs to stop telling us how to vote. I Don't like Bush, You don't like Bush, but Obama is another Jimmy Carter......................................Yipes.

    October 7, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  27. George

    McCain got religious not out of faith but out of convenience. McCain will do and say ANYTHING to become President.

    October 7, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  28. Madeline

    Four (and counting) anti-McCain blogs in one day....and on the day of the debate. You must really believe it's over for McCain. C'mon guys, give us the facts and let us decide. I don't want to have to watch Fox News to balance out what I see on this show and read on this blog.

    October 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm |
  29. Latrese Magee

    Anderson, Do they care about my vote?

    I always hear about the middle class, but what about us here in the

    impoverished neighborhoods,who want to become productive

    citizens? I have done just about every thing i can, but the door is shut

    every time i think i am on the right track. what will they do to restore

    our hope?

    October 7, 2008 at 7:05 pm |