By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At a fundraiser Thursday night, the president is quoted as saying his jobs plan would create 1.9 million jobs.

That’s a noble goal, but the president remains haunted by his statements in 2009 that the stimulus would not cause unemployment to rise above 8 percent.

Right now it’s at 9.2 percent. With 14 months until the election, the economy would seem to be the obvious albatross around the president’s neck. But there is another significant problem that the president has and that is the growing dissatisfaction of Jewish voters.

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In key states like Florida, Pennsylvania and New York, the Jewish vote could mean the difference in a close election. This week in New York, a Republican won the seat held by former Rep. Anthony Weiner. It is one of the most traditionally Democratic and Jewish districts in the country. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, endorsed the Republican in that race and has been sharply critical of the president’s stance on Israel and the Middle East. Koch said the president has “thrown Israel under the bus.”

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On cue, Gov. Rick Perry, who for the moment is the front runner in the Republican presidential race, has written an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal sharply criticizing the president’s stand on Israel.

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In a gloomy economy 31 years ago, then-President Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic presidential candidate who failed to get a large majority of the Jewish vote. Today, in a far darker economy, the Jewish vote is clearly up for grabs.

Esme Murphy