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[UPDATED] Berman v. Sherman: how Obama and Clinton fit in

by Jonah Lowenfeld

October 24, 2012 | 12:22 pm

President Bill Clinton was in Irvine yesterday, supporting a number of Democratic congressional candidates. And though Brad Sherman has touted Clinton’s signing on as his highest profile supporter, Sherman wasn’t on the list of candidates Clinton was pushing.

Yesterday evening, meanwhile, Howard Berman was at a small event in Beverly Hills to benefit American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Jewish Journal Editor and Publisher, Rob Eshman, spoke at the event, as did the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles David Siegel. But when Berman took the floor -- even though his counterpart at the politically-themed event, Republican Jewish Coalition California Regional Director Arie Lipnick, would make the case that Mitt Romney would pursue a more pro-Israel agenda as President than Barack Obama has -- Berman focused less on the President and more on his own record of achievements the importance of Tel Aviv University and high-tech innovation while emphasizing that support for Israel should be a bipartisan issue.

Did you follow that?

Sherman, who notes Clinton’s “support” prominently on his Web site but doesn't have his “endorsement,” went unmentioned at an appearance by the former President. Berman, who has gotten winks, nods and one highly publicized carpool ride with Obama, in a room with 40 or 50 Israel supporters, didn’t explicitly push them to support the President.

In other words, while Berman can claim the support of many more Senators and Congressmen than Sherman, and Sherman has frequently talked about having the endorsements of all the elected officials who live in the 30th district aside from the one who worked for Berman, when it comes to the current and former occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, everyone’s being pretty cagey.

UPDATE 1: After some additional reporting, it seems like Berman really didn't focus on politics of any sort, at least in his initial remarks. He later gave a defense of the President's record on Iranian sanctions, whose position he's been very well connected to. But the spirit of the evening appears to have been mostly apolitical -- an unusual departure for a guy who's been on the most closely watched Congressional campaign trail in the state.

UPDATE 2: And, as if to illustrate one point made in this post, the Berman camp announced that Rep. Henry Waxman (D) and Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) have both recorded anti-Sherman robocalls, focusing attention on Sherman's grabbing Berman during a debate at Pierce College earlier this month.  "Please, do not send Brad Sherman back to Congress," concludes the script for both calls. "His behavior is unacceptable.”

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