New ad targets a niche: The Jewish grandfather vote

November 01, 2012|By Mitchell Landsberg

Four years ago, Sarah Silverman famously urged young American Jews to "get your fat Jewish" behinds (not the word she used) to Florida and tell their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama for president. It was called "The Great Schlep,"  and it won a lot of attention, if not votes.

"You don't have to use facts; use threats," she told her peers. Threat No. 1: If the grandparents didn't vote for Obama, the grandchildren wouldn't visit them.

Silverman might not have single-handedly won the election for Obama (in fact, it’s hard to say whether she swayed a single vote), but he did do well among Jewish voters, capturing 78% to Sen. John McCain's 22%. And he won Florida, the swing state with the most significant Jewish vote and home to all those grandparents.

This year, polls suggest that Obama will win the Jewish vote again, but not by as large a margin. He has been polling closer to 70%, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is polling better than any Republican since the first President Bush. So now the same folks who created "The Great Schlep" are trying again, this time with a Web video pleading to young Jews, "Call Your Zeyde!" -- Yiddish for grandfather.

The idea is pretty much the same, although the new ad doesn't feature Silverman (who earlier this year put out a video that featured an indecent proposal to the deep-pocketed Republican donor Sheldon Adelson). This time, it's indie singer Michelle Citrin, who learns, to her horror, that her grandfather is an undecided voter. 

"He's been yelling at a chair since the convention!" Citrin's bubbe (grandmother) tells her on the phone. 

"Should I call him?" Citrin asks. 

"Yes! He likes attention."

You can pretty much see where this is going. Citrin, singing, sets her grandfather straight on the issues (Medicare, immigration, same-sex marriage, Israel). In the end, he sees the light and becomes a one-man call center for the Obama campaign.

The takeaway: If anybody’s grandfather is still undecided this close to the election, he’s probably an easy mark.

Twitter: @LATlands

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