God and Jerusalem back in platform

Posted: September 07, 2012

CHARLOTTE - President Obama personally intervened to order Democrats to change language in their party platform to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, campaign officials said Wednesday.

Democrats abruptly changed the platform Wednesday evening to reinstate language from the 2008 platform that said "we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential." Mitt Romney and other Republicans had seized on the omission to criticize the Democrats.

Democrats also restored 2008 language on Jerusalem, declaring the city "is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."

Campaign officials said Obama's reaction on the omission of God from the platform was to wonder why it was removed in the first place.

The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about private discussions.

The platform changes did not sit well with some Democratic delegates gathered in Charlotte. Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates had objected.

Democrats had approved a platform Tuesday that made no mention of God or Jerusalem. Instead, it expressed "unshakable commitment to Israel's security." Republicans quickly pounced.

GOP officials argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem's status in the party platform raised questions about Obama's support for the Mideast ally. Romney said omitting God "suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people."

The Democratic Party's decision to restore the mention of Jerusalem reflected what advisers said was the president's personal view, if not the policy of his administration. The administration has long said determining Jerusalem's status was an issue that should be decided by Israelis and Palestinians.

The White House wouldn't say whether the change in the Democratic platform language reflected a change in administration policy.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said the move was a "reasonable adjustment" because many Democrats felt the platform should reflect the party's belief that Jerusalem should be capital of Israel.

"I felt pretty frustrated that a lot of us who have a very strong point of view on this weren't given a heads-up, weren't given a briefing on this, it was just kind of sailing along," Casey said.

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