Barack Obama ... Oy vey!
The Republican signs greeted Vice President Joe Biden as he began campaigning Friday in the heart of South Florida’s Jewish community.
The visit came 24 hours after Israeli Prime Minister Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s United Nation’s speech when he held up a drawing of a mock-Iranian atomic bomb and drew a red line through it.
But voters and speakers in Boca Raton’s Century Village and Tamarac’s Kings Point spent relatively little time talking about Israel and Iran, and far more about Medicare and Republican plans to change it.
It was another sign that, for all of the Republican efforts to sway Jewish voters, they remain a solidly Democratic bloc of the electorate.
“Netanyahu was speaking to the converted to the degree he was being political at all,” said Ken Werden, a 73-year-old resident of the mammoth retirement community.
“Jewish voters back Obama because, historically, we didn’t see Republicans as friends of the Jewish community, especially when it comes to civil rights or Medicare.”
Werden, though, acknowledges he’s a minority of sorts: An Orthodox Jewish voter who’s siding with President Obama.
“For many Orthodox, the number one issue is Israel,” Werden said.
That was clear across the street at the Orthodox Chabad Weltman Synagogue, where congregants feel that President Obama hasn’t been tough enough on Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Obama is courting Ahmadinejad; he’s not standing up to him,” said Simon Mizrachi, a Republican member of the synagogue.
“The leader of the United States and the nations of the world have not done enough about Iran,” he said.
In speaking to the 850 or so speakers in Boca Raton, Biden tried to rebut that idea by talking about the "special obligations" of the United States.
"One of those is Israel," Biden said.
"I want to tell you how proud I am to stand shoulder to shoulder with a guy who has done more for Israel’s physical security than any president I have been able to serve under," Biden said.
Most of his speech was about Medicare and Social Security — an issue that dominates the political discourse.
Biden stood by the campaign’s decision to criticize Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, for voting for a congressional budget plan that could have raised out-of-pocket costs for future Medicare recipients by an average of $6,400.
Romney and Ryan have repeatedly said it’s an old plan and that they support a different proposal.
But Biden said Ryan’s vote was enough to prove that Republicans would hurt seniors and Democrats wouldn’t "willingly and knowingly" do that.
Biden cited a Harvard study showing how future seniors might have to pay more under Romney and Ryan’s plans. Republicans pointed to a University of Minnesota study showing how Obamacare cuts benefits for seniors in every state.
But polls suggest that most voters in must-win Florida have already made up their minds. Democrats are voting for the Democrat. Republicans for the Republicans. And the independents are splitting down the middle, but seem to favor Obama right now.
Republicans like Mizrachi conceded that the Jewish vote will overwhelmingly break for Obama.
“I hope not,” his wife, Caroline Mizrachi, chimed in. She said she voted as a Democrat for Obama in 2008. But like her husband, Mizrachi said she plans to vote for Mitt Romney in November.