Just when you thought it couldn’t get any nastier, some Florida voters today have been greeted with pre-recorded telephone calls saying Mitt Romney took kosher meals away from Holocaust survivors.
“Holocaust survivors who for the first time were forced to eat non-kosher because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for your grandparents to eat kosher,” the robo-call said. “Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors?” The call ends with these words: “Paid for by Newt 2012.”
When I asked Gingrich about the call, he told me, “I don’t know anything about it” and suggested we “check if the allegation [about denying kosher meals to Holocaust survivors] is true.”
Newt Gingrich himself has made similar allegations on the campaign trail in Florida, albeit without referencing the Holocaust.
“Romney as governor imposed on Catholic hospitals provisions against their religious strictures and Romney as Governor eliminated kosher food for retired Jewish senior citizens,” Gingrich told a crowd in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday. “He has no understanding of the importance of religious liberty in this country.”
It is true that in 2003 Romney rejected $600,000 in additional funds for Jewish nursing-home residents to get kosher meals. The New York Post reported on Romney’s veto of the funds this month. But the Post reported the funds were ultimately reinstated by the Massachusetts legislature. Presumably, some Jewish nursing home residents would be survivors of the Holocaust. But Romney never singled them out.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed to ABC News that the robo-call came from the Gingrich campaign. He noted that the call was not “over the line” and added that the Massachusetts state legislature later voted to override the decision to cut funding for kosher meals.
“It’s sad to see Speaker Gingrich lashing out in a desperate attempt to try and save his floundering campaign,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Huffington Post. “Speaker Gingrich will say anything to distract voters…His record is one of failed and unreliable leadership and simply one Americans can’t risk.”
According to ABC News pollster Gary Langer, Jewish voters accounted for 3 percent of the Florida GOP primary vote in 2008.