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New York special election is a smelling salt for Obama, Democrats

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“This should have been a walk in the park for the Democrats, even considering the circumstances,” says Costas Pangopoulos, a political scientist at Fordham University in New York. “Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama was on this ballot yesterday and he clearly lost.”

In Washington, Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio echoed that sentiment. In a statement, he said New Yorkers have “delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government.”

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch said the election sent a specific message to Mr. Obama over his Israel policies. In May, Obama suggested that Israel’s borders should be returned to pre-1967 outlines and that Israel should impose a freeze on new settlements in the West Bank. Obama has “thrown Israel under the bus,” says Mr. Koch.

“I think the message is don’t take the Jewish constituency for granted – and this district has the largest Jewish constituency in the nation,” said Koch in an interview on Tuesday.

In an indication of how important he considered the Jewish vote, Turner traveled through parts of Brooklyn Tuesday with Dov Hikind, an Orthodox Jew and a Democrat who endorsed him a week before the election. The district is about 30 percent Jewish, including many Russian Orthodox Jews, who often have more conservative views.

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