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Side by side: where the candidates stand on issues

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The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reviews the positions of presidential candidates Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on key issues of importance to the Jewish community. These analyses are not meant as endorsements for either candidate.




Obama says he is “committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose” and has suggested that the Supreme Court decision affirming abortion rights — Roe v. Wade — is “probably hanging in the balance” this election. Obama has opposed efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood, citing its work as a provider of women’s health care services.


The Republican nominee vows to be “a pro-life president” and has repudiated his previous backing for abortion rights, though he supports allowing abortion in instances of rape, incest and danger to the health or life of the mother. He wants the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, thus allowing states to set their own abortion laws.

Romney has said he would support a constitutional amendment that defines life as beginning at conception. He advocates ending federal funding of Planned Parenthood, citing its role as an abortion provider.


1_newsHealth care


The president says the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — often referred to as “Obamacare”— is a historic advance. The law aims to make coverage universal by offering federal subsidies for many insurance buyers, expanding Medicaid eligibility for low-income families, setting up health insurance exchanges to offer choices, and mandating that everyone has insurance or be subject to a penalty. It bans discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions and prohibits lifetime caps on coverage.

On Medicare, the president touts the health reform law’s provisions that he says help close the “doughnut hole” in the program’s prescription drug benefit and achieve an estimated $716 billion in savings.

He opposes what he characterizes as Romney’s plan to turn Medicare into a “voucher” program, arguing that it would be costly for seniors. He also opposes the Republican nominee’s proposed cap on federal Medicaid spending and touts the health care reform law’s requirement that insurers cover contraception.


The Republican nominee promises to work immediately to repeal the health care reform law. He says individual states should have the ability to craft their own approaches to health care. He says he wants to promote greater competition in the health care system and give consumers more choices.

Romney proposes transforming Medicare into what he calls a “premium support system” whereby seniors would receive a defined contribution amount from the government that could be applied toward an array of private insurance options, as well as a traditional government-provided Medicare option that would compete with the private plans. If a plan’s premium exceeds the government’s contribution, seniors who choose such a plan would pay the difference. He promises Medicare would remain unchanged for current beneficiaries and those now nearing retirement age.

He accuses the president of cutting $716 billion from Medicare in order to pay for the other provisions of the health reform law.

Romney has called for transforming Medicaid into a program in which the federal government gives block grants to the states and allows them greater flexibility to define eligibility and benefits. He would place a strict cap on the annual rate of increase in the federal government’s contribution to Medicaid, limiting it to 1 percent above inflation.


President Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 25   photo/jta-courtesy obama campaign
President Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 25 photo/jta-courtesy obama campaign

Iranian nuclear program


The president has called it “unacceptable” for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and says the United States is “going to take all options necessary to make sure they don’t have a nuclear weapon.” He has ruled out the possibility of simply containing a nuclear-armed Iran.

Obama says his administration has “organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history,” noting the damage that has been done to the Iranian economy.

In any negotiated deal, he says, the Iranians would have to “convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program,” and that there should be “very intrusive inspections.” Obama says Iran would not be allowed to “perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.”

He accuses Romney of having “often talked as if we should take premature military action.”


The Republican nominee calls a nuclear Iran “the greatest threat the world faces, the greatest national security threat.” He says Iran must be prevented from getting “a nuclear weapons capability.”

Romney says he supports the further tightening of sanctions against Iran and accuses the Obama administration of not moving aggressively enough on this front.

Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, says the Obama administration has failed to convey to the Iranians that there is a credible threat of U.S. military action. Romney later said “military action is the last resort. It is something one would only, only consider if all of the other avenues had been — had been tried to their full extent.”

Romney says Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be indicted for incitement to genocide over his verbal attacks on Israel’s existence.


Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Worthington, Ohio, on Oct. 25   photo/jta-courtesy romney campaign
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Worthington, Ohio, on Oct. 25 photo/jta-courtesy romney campaign



The president points to what he calls his administration’s “unprecedented” commitment to Israel’s security, citing the growth in U.S. security assistance and funding for the Iron Dome system to intercept rockets from Gaza. He has promised to do “what it takes to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge — because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”

He has pledged to pursue a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that “a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.” He has called for using the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps as the basis for negotiating the borders between Israel and a Palestinian state.

Obama opposed Palestinian efforts to gain statehood recognition at the United Nations and says the path to a Palestinian state is “negotiations between the parties.” He has demanded that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and abide by past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

While the Obama administration has criticized Israeli building in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, it also vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activities.


The Republican nominee says Obama “has thrown Israel under the bus” and has tried to create “daylight” between the United States and Israel. He says the “world must never see any daylight between our two nations.” He vows to “never unilaterally create preconditions for peace talks, as President Obama has done.”

At a meeting with donors that was secretly recorded, Romney expressed pessimism about current possibilities for Israeli-Palestinian peace, saying the Palestinians don’t want peace. He suggested the best that could be done would be to “kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.” But in a later speech he promised to “recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.” He says he “will reject any measure that would frustrate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

He has promised to increase military assistance to Israel.


Religion and state


The president says the “constitutional principle of a separation between church and state has served our nation well since our founding.”

He says he “expanded the federal government’s faith-based initiative because it is important for government to partner with faith-based organizations,” citing the role they play in delivering social services. He says he does not support school vouchers, including to religious schools, because they “can drain resources that are needed in public schools.”

Obama says his administration found a way to respect religious freedom while also ensuring that employees of religious-affiliated institutions have contraception covered by their health insurance.


“The notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning,” the Republican nominee says.  He says America’s founders “did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square.”

Romney says he would allow low-income and special-needs students to use federal funds designated for them to enroll in private schools, including in religious schools where permitted by states.

He criticizes the administration’s application of the health care law’s contraception coverage clause to employees of many religious-affiliated institutions, saying it infringes on religious liberty.


cover illustration/cathleen maclearie


Posted by craven_maven
11/02/2012  at  09:59 AM
Was This Site Hacked Yesterday?

This site was down yesterday.

Was it hacked?

Will the staff even admit it if it were, or are they like their lying far-left darling, Obama, who for 2 weeks refused to publically acknowledge that the attacks on the Benghazi consulate and annex was the work of al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists?

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Posted by craven_maven
11/02/2012  at  10:01 AM
Obama is no friend of Israel

The majority of Israelis would vote for Romeny if the election were held in Israel.

According to the “Israel Times” yesterday, 40% would vote for Romeny, while only 29% would vote for Obama.

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Posted by rocky
11/02/2012  at  03:05 PM

Fortunately for Obama, he is not running for prime minister of Israel.

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Posted by concerned
11/04/2012  at  03:42 PM
The existential issue is Iran

With the future of the Jewish people hanging in the balance, this “strictly non-partisan” “Jewish” paper takes a stand against the Jewish people.

At a time when Israel’s destruction is threatened by an evil Islamic-fascist state on the verge of nuclear weapons with which it boldly states it seeks to incinerate Israel, every “Jewish” group should be taking a stand against Obama.  Every “Jewish” paper should be urging American Jews to attempt to save our people by voting him out of office.

Any American Jew who cares for our people knows that Obama cannot be entrusted with the survival of Israel – to fulfill his weasel-worded claim that he will bomb Iran’s nukes.  He has repeatedly LIED to the Jewish people about his “support” of Israel to get their votes.

Obama has proven himself to be the most blatantly dangerously anti-Israel US president in history, actively attacking her for four years, and causing untold damage with his appeasing foreign policy.

The American Jewish institutions are infected with a cancer of “progressivism” – the extreme leftist politics which places its extreme partisan agendas before the welfare of the Jewish people.  This is reflected in the “position” of this publication when it comes to the most crucial issue to face the Jewish people in a generation.  The consequence of Iranian nuclear weapons is terrifying – threatening a second Holocaust.
All this is ignored by those “progressives” who control this and other “Jewish” publications, who instead absurdly attempt to distract American Jews – who they must consider fools - with “issues” like “weaker unions” or “funding education” more, or attacking some states’ voter-ID legislation.

Imagine yourself looking back after Iran obtains and uses its nuclear weapons, at having cast your vote for the candidate who allowed this to occur, because of those small partisan issues.

This is a moment of crisis, of grave danger to the Jewish people, when American Jews can at least try to make a difference.  There was a time in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s when the world had the opportunity to attempt to save the Jewish people.

The question which we used to, and in this dangerous world should still be asking, is “what is best for the Jews”?  Individually and collectively, as Jews our first responsibility is to ourselves and our people.

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Posted by Gersh
11/05/2012  at  11:42 PM
Misinformed comments

Many commenters here are spreading misinformation. President Obama has been a good ally to Israel, contrary to the republican party. Read these two articles:

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