[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/24/art.hastings0924.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, in the foreground, supported Sen. Hillary Clinton during the primaries but is now urging Democrats to support Sen. Barack Obama."]
(CNN) – Rep. Alcee Hastings told an audience of Jewish Democrats Wednesday that they should be wary of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.”
“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention,” Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida said at a panel about the shared agenda of Jewish and African-American Democrats Wednesday. Hastings, who is African-American, was explaining what he intended to tell his Jewish constituents about the presidential race. “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through,” Hastings added as the room erupted in laughter and applause.
After telling attendees that the most important thing Jewish and African-American Democrats could do to support one another was to get Sen. Barack Obama elected president, Hastings had one more message: “For those of you like me that supported Sen. Hillary Clinton, she lost! Get over it!”
Hastings was joined on the panel by Rep. Steven Cohen of Tennessee, who is Jewish and represents a majority African-American district; Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, who is African-American and whose district includes many of the significant sites in the 1960’s civil rights movement; and Georgetown Law Prof. Peter Edelman, who was a legislative assistant to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
Cohen, who recently remarked that Jesus Christ was a community organizer, took his comments about the founder of the Christian faith further Wednesday. “A lot of what Jesus talks about is wonderful,” Cohen said. “Talks about helping people and lifting them up and caring about people who are sick and all those things. He’s a great Democrat.”
The panel was part of the National Jewish Democratic Council’s annual conference. The Jewish Democratic group recently voiced criticism of Palin’s invitation to an anti-Iran rally timed to coincide with Mahmoud Ahmedinajad’s visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Palin’s invitation was withdrawn by the rally’s organizers after Hillary Clinton announced that she would no longer be attending the event.
The support of Jewish voters is shaping up to be a highly sought after prize in the general election match-up between Sen. Obama and Sen. John McCain. Jews have historically favored Democrats by wide margins in recent presidential races. But, the McCain campaign is making a concerted effort to go after the loyal Democratic constituency and Obama has been plagued by false Internet rumors that he is Muslim which have had particular salience in the Jewish community.