As some of you may know (and if you don’t, take a look at our Facebook photo album!), iVoteIsrael hosted former White House Press Secretary of the Bush Administration, Ari Fleischer, and Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Ari and Matt came as Republicans who support Romney, but iVoteIsrael remains a non-partisan organization who simply provided a platform for them to speak. We will provide a similar platform for a Democrat in the coming weeks.
Ari and Matt traveled to the US to urge American citizens in Israel to vote and made the case that not only are absentee ballots counted, but that the approximately 163,000 eligible voters living in Israel could significantly influence the outcome of the US presidential elections– especially given the fact that polls are showing that Obama and Romney are neck and neck. Fleischer said this as a ‘survivor’ of the Florida recount in 2000, in which the election was in the hands of just over 500 voters.
As iVoteIsrael employees, we got to spend quite a bit of time with Ari and Matt last week and in addition to scheduled events, got to hear quite a few interesting tidbits.
First of all, at the Psagot Winery, we found out that Matt Brooks is a wine connesuir. He taught our very own Voting Wizard/Expert/Campaign Coordinator, Shira Woolf, how to swirl her wine before drinking it.
Ari Fleischer and Matt Brooks at the Psagot Winery
Not only that, but Matt treated us to goodbye drinks and chose a delicious Israeli wine called ‘The Cave’- which this lucky blogger got to finish up on Shabbat.
Ari told us that he grew up a liberal democrat. What changed him? Jimmy Carter. He told us that his mom often voted for democratic candidates and that when Ari worked with former President Bush, the president would always ask, regarding Ari’s mother, “Do I have her yet?” The answer remains a mystery!
Matt Brooks in a black hat with Agudah’s Rav Shmuely Machlis…. perhaps his next career move will necessitate the title, “Rav Matt?”
When asked about a rewarding moment in his career, Ari told us about a woman who lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks. She told Ari that when he was on TV during the time following the attacks, he made her feel calm.
Curious about Ari and Matt’s visit? Check out some of the posts by the bloggers who attended our press conference (below). Also, check out @ivoteisrael on Twitter for quotes from the events.