Ex-New York City Mayor Koch Plans To Enter ’12 Fray for Obama

Josh Nathan Kazis Writes: Koch, who hasn’t held public office since 1989, reasserted himself as the  go-to arbiter of a candidate’s pro-Israel bona fides last fall. His cross-party  endorsement was widely credited with helping Republican Bob Turner win a  surprise victory in a special congressional election in a heavily Jewish New  York district.

But Koch isn’t satisfied helping win a few races in New York’s outer  boroughs. This year, the mayor plans to fly south to win Florida’s Jews, and  maybe Florida itself (and perhaps, if the electoral math turns out right, a  second term) for President Obama.

Obama may see in Koch a surefire backstop against Republican claims that he  is insufficiently pro-Israel. But Koch isn’t great at staying on message. When  barnstorming Florida for Carter in 1980, Koch said the then-president “should  rot in hell” if he broke commitments he’d made on Middle East policy. In an  election with no margin for error, the mayor could be a liability.

“He’s got a proven record of lighting off Roman candles and carrying dynamite  wherever he goes,” said one Florida Democratic political consultant, who asked  not to be named. “That’s kind of what makes him interesting.”

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