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GOP voters seem unpersuaded by anti-Israel accusations aimed at Campbell

Campbell Former Rep. Tom Campbell, one of three Republican candidates vying to replace Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer later this year, took plenty of heat from his GOP rivals last month over his allegedly soft support for Israel (Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center went so far as to say that some of Campbell's votes as a congressman "send real alarms that this is someone who maybe doesn't ... fully support a strong ongoing relationship with the state of Israel"). In Republican -- and some would say Democratic -- politics, lock-step support for the Jewish state is something of a third rail; declaring that a candidate has an "Israel problem" can derail a campaign in a hurry.

The Times' editorial board examined Campbell's voting record and wrote in a Feb. 27 editorial, on the question of whether it indicates he's an anti-Semite or soft on terrorism, "So far, we're not persuaded." Neither are the state's Republican voters, according to a new Field Poll. The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday:

Former Rep. Tom Campbell has a six-point lead over his closest challenger in the three-way Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, whose popularity has significantly eroded in the past two months, according to a Field Poll released today.

The survey found Campbell leading former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 28 percent to 22 percent among likely Republican voters in the June 8 primary, while Assemblyman Chuck DeVore had support from 9 percent. But most prospective GOP voters, roughly 40 percent, were undecided.

While Boxer's races have historically been sleepy affairs, the poll indicates that Californians could be in for a barnburner this year. Boxer is in a statistical tie in trial matchups with both Campbell and Fiorina. In January, she had substantial double-digit percentage-point leads over all three GOP challengers.

Campbell's front-runner status may be due in part to the fact that most of us are not yet paying much attention, but it's still somewhat remarkable that he's polling ahead of Fiorina considering he was still mulling a gubernatorial bid while the former Hewlett-Packard CEO's campaign was months underway.

This is not to say the anti-Israel accusations will never resurface in the campaign, even beyond a GOP primary victory for Campbell. Boxer, who is seeking her fourth term as senator, faced in 1998 a strong Republican opponent in the form of Matt Fong. She ended up winning reelection by a comfortable margin, but in the weeks preceding election day Fong still posed a viable threat. Shrewdly, the incumbent ran TV ads portraying Fong as an anti-environmentalist who'd expose your kids to toxic waste and super-imposing a faint nuclear radiation warning sign over a menacing image of her opponent (I can't find a clip online, but the spot was ridiculous enough to burn itself into my memory). Imagine the possibilities for an opponent accused of harboring an anti-Israel bias.

Last year, Campbell held down one side of an online debate for The Times on fixing California's budgeting process. He fleshed out in some detail -- the kind that's a little too technical for short TV spots and effective campaign messages -- his thoughts on taxation, budgeting and GOP politics. Click here to read the discussion.

(Note: This post in no way indicates an editorial board endorsement.)

-- Paul Thornton

Photo: Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Campbell discusses his decision to switch to the U.S. Senate contest during a news conference in Sacramento on Jan. 15.

Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press


Comments () | Archives (18)

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Just because Obama may not serve Yeshua, the God of the U.S. and Israel, does not mean that God will not use Obama to serve the U.S. and Israel.

If Yeshua leads Obama into a war with Iran then it will be a Muslim attacking Muslims - for a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Mark 3:24



You mentioned Boxer's ads against Fong. Correct me if I am wrong, one ad that really damaged Matt Fong was the one that had a Chinese flag in the background while attacking Fong. Fong is a California-born Chinese American. He even joined the U.S. Air Force. This ad was despicable, and it really said a lot about how low Boxer can go.

Will there be a Boxer ad attacking Tom Campbell with Osama Bin Laden's picture in the background? It remains to be seen. But I doubt it will work this time.

Paul Thornton

@Jim: I don't recall that ad, but it would be shocking if any candidate today were to run something like Chinese flag piece you describe. Then again, there was this spot in 2006:

tiffany dante

There are 4 candidates in the GOP Primary. The fourth is named Al Ramirez and has he quite a following in spite of a lack of equal coverage and misrepresentation of the facts on the race by the media. No wonder newspapers are going out of business when people can get the right information for themselves just by using Google.



Apparently, I have faulty memory. Here is what came up from Googling:

The ad, which attacks Fong's position on health maintenance organizations, shows the United Nations, and juxtaposes the words ``Matt Fong'' and ``foreign diplomats.'' It claims that Fong ``wants laws that mean just about the only people in America who can't be sued are foreign diplomats and HMOs.''

---From an AP report on October 22, 1998 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19981022&id=Qug0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=KCEGAAAAIBAJ&pg=6949,6303934)

This untold story remains one of the most shameful chapters in modern California politics.

in america

if only there were such concern that politicians were pro-AMERICAN


Wow, a politician that actually wants to represent the people electing him and not the religious psychopaths in Israel.


Of course the next logical progression will be that candidates will campaign on their anti-Israel stance. Nothing will be as dangerous to Israel as a grassroots "America First!" movement. Propaganda through media shills doesn't work anymore because the facts are easily found through a 5-minute Google search. Whether or not the power structure can limit internet access to the facts, Israel is doomed to suffer the consequences of its many reprehensible actions.

Adam Cohen

As a Jewish American, I intend to vote for Campbell. I despise what Israel has done to the reputation of Jews worldwide, and I want representatives who put America first. This is my country, here. Those who love Israel more than America should shut up and move there.

Paul B

Why on earth is a politician's views on Israel of such importance to America? Is America a State of Israel? If people see Israel as so important why don't they move there instead of enjoying the (former) wealth of America while simultaneously working to subvert its destiny to that of Israel.

Scott Mollett

Since Barbabra boxer and Dianne Fienstien became our senators CA has lost over a quarter of every dollar sent to WA DC. When these "tireless workers for Israel" (you can find many jewish websites describing both these ladies this way) took office CA recieved .93 cents for every dollar sent to the feds. Last year we got back .68 cents.

These tireless workers for Israel are trading CA's share of the federal pie for yes votes to send our wealth to Israel.

Every state that sends tireless workers for Israel (jewish Americans) to the US Senate is in the same boat as CA.

I told myself I would never again vote for a democrat or a republican but if Tom Cambell looks like he can beat Boxer he has my vote. Tireless workers for Israel should move to Israel.

No Name

In the 70s I listed to two LA mayoral candidates leap-frog each other as to how loyal they were to Israel. If I had not known better, I would have thought this race was for the mayor of Tel Aviv, not LA . If Campbell puts American interests above any foreign interests - bravo!

Ed Amador

Senator Boxer has done 2 things for California: jobs at a good wage and protects the environment.

Tough hauling this time due to the downturn in the economy. But her voting record and actions speak louder than this GOP patty-cake dance that always produces a loser in November!


Every anti-Israel word, motion or utterance of any kind by polticians weakens Israel and strengthens potential anti Western terrorist agendas.! They are in essence cutting America's own throats.!

andrew nelson

The fact that there are more Jews living in the United States, than there are Jews living in Israel might account for the fascination, in the press, with Israel.

But there are approximately 220 other nations that the United States must deal with, and I do not think a candidate must pass a litmus test in regard to Israel, in order to be considered a good American choice.

This is the United States of America. If Israel would like to petition to become the 51st State, that's another matter.

But, until then, they need to get in line like everyone else.


Uh, Israel ain't the only democracy in the middle east. There's a country called Iraq and they just had their vote.


Scott makes sense. This is America, not Israel. All relationships need to be re-evaluated from time to time, and the time has come to re-evaluate our so-called friendship with Israel.

andrew nelson

Israel would probably embrace this guy over anyone in the current Obama Administration. I'd also point out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an editorial in all the major Israeli Newspapers, publically reminded Rohm Emanuel that he was Jewish.

Frankly Clinton, Biden, and Obama, are just plain wrong on so many levels, there cannot be a full discussion on this topic in the space you provide. The most glaring incompetence of this Administration is NOT DOING IT'S HOMEWORK BEFORE GOING TO ISRAEL. If they had simply read the Israeli Papers, (1) They would have known about the upcoming anouncement, (2) they would have known that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an Interior Minister that was completely unaware of the politics of the upcoming anouncement, (3) they would have known about the collaborative, not heirarchical, organization of the government, (4) and would have, should have, understood that the timing was wrong to force a Biden visit. They continue to 'react' to world events, time and time again, instead of accurately understanding the situation, predicting possible outcomes, correctly gaming possible 'courses of actions' to mitigate those outcomes, and as a result - are unable to shape United States Foreign Policy to meet our objectives. They are woefully unskilled and inept in Foreign Policy. The Foreign Policy 'Team' in the Obama Administration needs to resign.



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