— by Alan Oirich
In an exclusive interview on Shalom TV, one of the nation’s leading Democrats has some kind words for two of the candidates vying for the Republican party’s presidential nomination, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
When asked by Shalom TV President Mark S. Golub who among the current Republican candidates would be best for America and for Israel, the former New York City Mayor groups the two front runners together, saying:
I believe that both Romney and Gingrich–one of which will be the Republican candidate–are both able. I’m not voting for either of them; I am voting for Obama; but they’re both able; they are fine Americans (I mean, they have a philosophy which is not mine); but they will do what they think is in the best interest of America–and they are also both very supportive of Israel.
Mr. Koch also described how after the Turner victory, the President reached out to him. In a private meeting in New York City, after the President gave what Mr. Koch calls a “magnificent” pro-Israel speech at the United Nations, Mr. Obama told the former Mayor that he didn’t understand why the Jewish community is upset with him given how very supportive of Israel he is. Mr. Koch explained to the President that he would not have been so upset with Mr. Obama if, when the President had placed demands on Israel, he had also made demands of Hamas. Koch reports the President’s responding, “Didn’t I?”
After the half hour meeting, Mr. Koch was convinced that Mr. Obama believes he is a friend of Israel and now supports Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign because of the President’s strong stand in opposition to Palestinian statehood at the United Nations and because the President has been praised by Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, for being one of the most supportive of all U.S. presidents when it comes to supplying military aid.
Full interview follows the jump.