Washington, DC – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has canceled an appearance at a New York rally next week after organizers blindsided her by inviting Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, aides to the senator said.
Several American Jewish groups plan a major rally outside the United Nations on Sept. 22 to protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Organizers said today that both Clinton, who nearly won the Democratic nomination for president, and Palin, Republican candidate John McCain’s running mate, are expected to attend.
That would have set up a closely scrutinized and potentially explosive pairing in the midst of a presidential campaign, one in which the New York senator is campaigning for Democratic nominee Barack Obama while Palin actively courts disappointed Clinton supporters.
Clinton aides were furious. They first learned of the plan to have both Clinton and Palin appear when informed by reporters.
“Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event,” said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines. “Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending.”
A McCain-Palin campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity because Palin’s schedule for Monday has not been announced, said only that Palin tentatively planned to attend the rally.
Both McCain and Obama have made strong appeals to Jewish voters, particularly in critical states like Florida. Obama has emphasized to Jewish audiences his commitment to Israel’s security, and has worked to dispel doubts created by false rumors that he is Muslim.
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“Governor Palin believes that the danger of a nuclear Iran is greater than party or politics. She hopes that all parties can rally together in opposition to this grave threat.” —Tracey Schmitt, spokeswoman McCain-Palin 2008