Obama to Jewish leaders: I probably know more about Judaism than any other president

Via the Standard. He missed the day at school when they explained who ran the “Polish death camps,” but other than that, he’s rock solid.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Obama and White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew met about 20 Conservative Jewish community leaders, thanking them for the work they do to improve communities around the country and discussed their shared commitment to rebuilding the U.S. economy…

“Rather than describe how deeply I care about Israel, I want to be blunt about how we got here,” Obama said, reminding his guests that he had so many Jewish [associates] in Chicago at the beginning of his political career that he was accused of being a puppet of the Israel lobby…

Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it – and wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel about their support to Israel.

They don’t call him “the first Jewish president” for nothing. Well, New York Magazine calls him that. No one else. But still. Another fun detail, also via the Standard:

Now, he said, the Republicans are trying to portray him as not being supportive of Israel by stressing the fact that his father was Muslim and he has a Muslim name, as well as by claiming that he had been overly aggressive in pushing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promote the peace process with the Palestinians.

Forget his some-of-my-best-friends-are-Jewish nonsense. The better evidence that he cares is the fact that he called this meeting to pander even though Jewish voters are a cinch to vote overwhelmingly for him. He won 78 percent of their vote in 2008 and, according to a poll taken in early March, is on pace to approach that number in November. (“We show no slippage in Jewish support for President Obama.”) Not that that’ll prevent the inevitable quadrennial series of “Is this the year the GOP competes for the Jewish vote?” analyses this summer, but still.

The most revealing bit here is his reflexive need to inflate his own reputation at the expense of other presidents’. He could have said that he’s read widely about Jewish history and culture and left it at that, but this is a guy who’s into measuring himself against his predecessors when he isn’t busy exploiting their glory to tout his own “achievements.” Why he thinks he’s read more on this subject than any president, including/especially the last two Democrats who preceded him in office, I have no idea.

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