NEW YORK (JTA)—Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman defended Sarah Palin during a conference call with Jewish leaders and supporters Sunday
During the morning “tele town hall” meeting, McCain said his running mate was criticized as a “threat to the left-wing feminist liberal movement,” due to her being the mother of five children as well as a “reformer, a conservative, a tax-cutter and a spending cutter.”
Lieberman, who introduced McCain on the call, described Palin as “very able,” and said that while Palin “holds some positions on social issues which, I’ll be honest, I don’t agree with,” she “holds them in a very respectful way.”
“She respects people who come to the other position,” he said, adding “I find her not to be ideological in a rigid sense. She’s a practical problem solver.”
The Connecticut senator, an Independent, added that the Republican vice-presidential nominee “has a deep love for the State of Israel” equal to McCain’s.
McCain passed up an opportunity to criticize Barack Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose criticism of the United States and Israel led Obama to cut ties to the pastor this spring.
Asked by American-born Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Riskin why he hadn’t raised the issue, McCain responded that the “issue of Pastor Wright is pretty well known by the American people.” On the other hand, he said, “We need to know more about” the details of Obama’s relationship with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers and ACORN, which has been accused of voter registration fraud.
McCain also discussed his views on the status of Jerusalem, saying in his opening statement that “Jerusalem remains undivided” and then repeating twice that the city “is undivided and must remain the capital of Israel.” He added that he would “never press Israel into making concessions that would endanger its security.”
Lieberman later in the call noted the trip he and McCain had taken to the Jewish state in March, and that McCain knows the “historic Jewish claim” to the city and “it’s clear he will not be included in efforts to divide Jerusalem.”
Lieberman later emphasized McCain’s promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem “as soon as he becomes president.
The “tele-town hall” was billed as a meeting with Jewish leaders from various organizations, but judging from the questioners it appeared the audience included many backers of the candidate. Just one of the five questioners identified himself as being affiliated with a Jewish organization (one questioner said he worked for Agudath Israel) and at least four of the questions came from men and women who identified themselves as supporters of McCain.