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Daily Kickoff: Bloomberg confirms he is eyeing WH run | Bernard Schwartz wants law against donations like his | Profile: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

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TOP TALKER: “Bloomberg says he is eyeing 2016 run for the White House” by Oliver Ralph: “Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media owner and former New York mayor, said ​that ​he was “looking at all the options” when asked whether he was considering putting his name forward. I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters,” Mr Bloomberg said in an interview, before adding that the US public deserved “a lot better.” Mr Bloomberg told the FT that he would need to start putting his name on ballots across the US at the beginning of March. “I’m listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing,” he said.” [FinancialTimes]

Bloomberg covers Bloomberg: “Note: Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP” [Bloomberg]

“Why Jewish Republicans Should Look Past Marco Rubio — to Michael Bloomberg” by Jay Michaelson: “The best strategy for a moderate is to vote for Bernie Sanders. Think about it. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, not only will Bloomberg not run, Clinton might well win the general election. But if Sanders is the nominee, victory is assured for either Bloomberg or the Republican candidate. One final bonus for Jewish Republicans: They get to vote for lansmen the whole cycle through. Sanders now, Bloomberg in November.” [Forward]

Joe Klein in New Hampshire: “Rubio has been far too machine-tooled in this race–and some of his positions, especially his hardline Likudnik stand about Israel, and the Iran deal (“Rip it up!”), and the other stations of the cross in the Sheldon Adelson primary, have been embarrassingly simplistic. But he does know some stuff: I watched him do a town meeting at BAE, a defense contractor, this morning and he was extremely well-versed, talking about how we needed an extra aircraft carrier from January-March in the Asia-Pacific region each year because of schedule maintenance rotations.” [TimeMag]

“Rubio: Election by itself will reset U.S.-Israel relationship” by Jacob Kornbluh: “In Nashua, N.H., Rubio was asked what he would do to reestablish warm relations with Israel if elected as president. “I believe my election or the election of someone like me, in and by itself will help reset that relationship in the eyes of the world,” Rubio stated. The Republican presidential hopeful repeated the line with which he got attacked during Saturday night’s debate, saying Obama knows what he is doing in wanting to change America by, among other things, sacrificing the relationship with Israel.” [JewishInsider]

Jeb on the Iran deal: “The president called people that didn’t agree with him in cahoots with the Death to America crowd. Well, I could have made the case that he’s in cahoots with the Death to America crowd. He negotiated with them. The people that he negotiated with are the ones that, three days after the agreement was signed, did what they always do on the religious days. They march in Tehran, and they say “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” Well, how are you going to forge consensus if you just assume that—I mean, that’s pretty outrageous.” [Politico]

“Talking Ted: Cruz backers see GOP contender as ‘best bet’ for pro-Israel voters” by Sean Savage: “Gary Bauer told JNS that while “a number of the [current] Republican candidates value the U.S.-Israel alliance,” Cruz stands out for paying particularly high attention to issues prioritized by Israel and pro-Israel Americans… Steven Mitzner, a Jewish real estate developer based in Houston and a backer of Cruz, pointed out that Cruz was the only candidate who mentioned Israel in his post-Iowa caucus speech… Mitzner believes that Cruz’s comments on Trump were directed towards the special interests and liberalism in New York City, and had nothing to do with Judaism.” [JNS]

“Poll of Jewish New Yorkers: Hillary Leads, Rubio and Sanders Most Favorable” by Jacob Kornbluh: “According to the Siena Research poll, the Brooklyn-born Jewish Senator trails Hillary by a 8 point margin among Jewish Democratic voters (41-33). When it comes to favorability, Sanders has a 44/36 favorable/unfavorable ratings among Jewish New Yorkers. Hillary, an establishment favorite and better known to the Jewish community, has a 16-point negative rating (37/53 favorable/unfavorable). Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has the highest favorability out of all presidential hopefuls among Jewish voters.” [JewishInsider] • Full Cross-tabs [Siena]

Jane Eisner: “Does God Still Matter on the Campaign Trail — Even When Young Voters Rebel?” [Forward]

Chemi Shalev: “American Women Aren’t Voting for Hillary Clinton? Seriously?” [Haaretz]

David Brooks: “I Miss Barack Obama” [NYTimes]

Bret Stephens: “Bernie’s Wall Street Slander: The Vermont socialist preaches class hatred to crowds besotted by the politics of envy.” [WSJ]

“Sanders flirts with history in quest to be first Jewish victor in US primary” by Michael Wilner: “On some level, it’s very cool. It’s nice as a proud Jew, I like to see Jews succeed, even if I was rooting for somebody else,” said Steve Rabinowitz, president of Bluelight Strategies and a prominent consultant at the intersection of Democratic and Jewish politics. But he added: “Except among the 20-something crowd, you just don’t see any Jewish support for Bernie Sanders.” [JPost]

“Foreign Policy Questions Push Bernie Sanders Out of Comfort Zone” by David Sanger:“While Mr. Sanders has argued he is not an isolationist, foreign policy experts say he has yet to turn his case for nonintervention and coalition-building into a coherent strategy for containing Russia’s moves along its borders, bringing a cease-fire and political solution to Syria, enforcing the Iran nuclear deal, and handling cyberattacks from China and Russia. In fact, he has been largely silent on all those issues. “Campaigns are very difficult places to get up to speed on foreign policy if you don’t have some fluency in it already,” said Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “It tends to advantage those who have worked in these vineyards for years. It’s one of the few advantages senators have over governors.” [NYTimes]

“Top Clinton Donor Wants a Law Against $1 Million Gifts Like His” by Max Abelson: “Mickey Mouse figurines and photos of grinning politicians surrounded the 90-year-old investor Bernard Schwartz in his Manhattan office on Thursday. Four days earlier, new federal filings showed he gave $1 million to a super-PAC supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, making him one of her top backers and part of the campaign-finance system that her rival Bernie Sanders calls undemocratic and corrupt… “PACs are a bad thing, it distorts the political process,” said Schwartz, who now manages his money as chairman of BLS Investments. “Rich people have the opportunity to get access.” [Bloomberg]

“Is the 2016 Election Beyond Satire? Ask Lorne Michaels” by Maureen Dowd: “Bernie Sanders was a no-show at the “Saturday Night Live’’ after-party in the Flatiron district. It may be one of the coolest parties in town, but Sanders didn’t care. The improbably hip 74-year-old candidate didn’t need any validation; he felt pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good about his performance… “My phone rang, and it was Ari and he said, ‘Larry David would like to play Bernie Sanders,’ ” Michaels recalled, referring to David’s swashbuckling agent, Ari Emanuel. “The audience cast him. It was the same with Tina. So I said to Larry, ‘Can you be here Thursday?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ “Karmic revenge for ’84, when David’s sketches failed to get on air.”

“David said he enjoyed working with Sanders, and he praised his long record of authenticity as a politician. But he had some doubts about what a President Sanders defense policy would look like. “Like Bernie, I’m from Brooklyn and unlike Israeli Jews, we do not care for fighting,” he said dryly. “We run for the hills. On the other hand, if I had some football players backing me up or in this case, the U.S. military, I probably would have instigated fights!” Asked if he’s surprised that Bernie has turned out to be such a chick magnet, David replied, grinning: “Women like old Jewish men.” [NYTimesMag]

“Israeli Arabs take their message to the White House” by Ben Caspit: “Quietly and under the radar of the Israeli media, Knesset member Ahmad Tibi entered the holiest of holies of America’s most important strategic assets Feb. 4: Washington’s White House, State Department and Capitol Hill… Tibi also held meetings and delivered lectures in research institutes, such as the Washington Institute. He met Jewish leaders as well, such as Jeremy Ben-Ami from J Street, before returning to Israel this week. Al-Monitor was informed that Tibi’s meeting with the State Department was also attended by members of the team that is composing the yearly State Department report on human rights. Tibi hopes that the report will take his incisive words into account and will level criticism against Israel. For Tibi, that will be a great victory.” [AlMonitor]

MEDIA WATCH: “Does Netanyahu Want a Fox News for Israel?” by David Wainer: “As the government proposes easing regulation of news programming and ending costly concessions, some analysts say he wants to break the grip of the country’s major networks and open the playing field to broadcasters with views closer to his own.” [Bloomberg]

**Good Tuesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Shekel Rally May Force Karnit Flug to Act More Like Stanley Fischer” [Bloomberg] • “Sanctions Lifted, American Tourists Head to Iran” [NYTimes] • “Manhattan’s Luxury Condos May End Up as Rentals, Richard LeFrak Says” [Bloomberg] • “The Lower East Side goes upscale: David Schneiderman and Deborah Gutoff on the neighborhood’s “original game changer” [RealDeal] • “New Zenefits CEO David Sacks has harsh words for employees: ‘Our culture and tone have been inappropriate'” [BusinessInsider• “Andy Rubin Unleashed Android On The World. Now Watch Him Do The Same With AI” [WiredMag]

Israeli Merchants Hurt as Shoppers Favor Speedy, Faraway Amazon — by Gwen Ackerman:“To many tech savvy Israelis looking to beat the country’s high cost of living, it’s a simple decision: look to foreign e-commerce sites that have more variety and lower prices from the outset. That’s great for Amazon Inc. and EBay Inc. but not so great for Israel, where local store sales are falling, and the failure rate for small businesses is high.” [Bloomberg]

RISING STAR PROFILE: “Libby Schaaf, The Have-It-All Mayor Of Oakland” by Libby Coleman: “Whatever their politics, most successful mayors tend to play to the consensus. From Michael Bloomberg to Bernie Sanders, they prioritize pragmatism and problem-solving over lofty ideas or partisanship, says Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World. They can hang with a bunch of constituencies: activists, businesspeople, punks, soccer moms, yuppies, ex-cons, artists, coders, hipster babies. Indeed, Schaaf can go from genteel Berkeley to dicier Longfellow in a few minutes; she speaks at microbreweries and motorcycle clubs alike. And when she speaks, she does so in the vocabulary of an activist, though she doesn’t always have their support.” [Ozy] • Flashback: “Flyers Of Jewish Councilwoman With Swastika On Her Face Posted In Oakland” [CBS]

SPOTLIGHT: “Why Were So Many Madoff Victims Jewish?” by Harold Pollack: “Such crimes would not have been possible without the cultural ease and social entre Madoff enjoyed in the Jewish community. To put a name on things, this was one of the worst affinity frauds in Americans history, whereby unscrupulous people exploit their cultural connections and people’s communal identities to rip them off. In that sense, Madoff’s crimes were a warning to everyone about how in-group feelings of trust leave people vulnerable.” [TheAtlantic]

LongRead: “The Problem with Jewish Museums” by Edward Rothstein: “Ours is an era of museums celebrating the identity of nearly every group and ethnicity. But something else takes place when the identity in question is Jewish.” [MosaicMag]

FASHION WEEK: “Some Dude Wore a Jewish Prayer Shawl to Fashion Week” by Chavie Lieber: “Remember when H&M made a scarf that bore a remarkable resemblance to a Jewish prayer shawl? Well, one New York Fashion Week: Men’s attendee did the fast-fashion chain one better and actually whipped out a real tallit.” [RackedVogue]

HOLLYWOOD: “Israel tries to bolster its image via Oscars ‘swag bag'” by Dan Williams:“Top Academy Award nominees will have a politically charged gift in their swag bag this year – a luxury trip to Israel paid for in part by a government that hopes such celebrity junkets will offset news coverage of the country’s troubles. Israel’s tourism ministry said the trips, valued at $15,000-$18,000, not including first-class airfare which would be funded by another party whom it did not identify, are on offer to actors and directors vying for Oscars in the Feb. 28 ceremony.” [Reuters]

DESSERT: Prime Chef Club Room to open in Brooklyn — by Dani Klein: “The small space off of Ave J behind Prime Burger, vacated by Prime Pizza, is currently being converted into a unique space named Prime Chef Club Room. The Prime Hospitality Group is shifting the pizza restaurant into a unique kosher space providing intimate dining experiences at night and culinary educational courses during the day. Allaham wants to provide all kosher chefs a space to create and innovate, and for kosher adventurers to enjoy from that labor.” [YeahThatsKosher]

BIRTHDAYS: Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe, a.ka. ‘the macker’, turns 59… Gina Rinehart turns 62… Muhammad Zoabi… Boris Zilberman, FDD’s Deputy Director of Congressional Relations (h/t Keyak)… Nobel laureate in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, turns 73… Tony Award winning actress, Judith Light, turns 67… Gymnast and actress, Margarita Levieva, turns 36…

** A message from American Jewish World Service: AJWS’s 30th anniversary gala in Los Angeles—March 13th, 2016—will recognize the organization’s incredible and life-changing human rights work in the developing world. The event will honor AJWS President Ruth Messinger and high-profile philanthropists and community leaders who have been instrumental in advancing AJWS’s mission, including Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Hosted by comedian, actor, writer and producer Nick Kroll, the celebration will also pay tribute to acclaimed Mexican human rights defender Alejandra Ancheita. To attend, support or sponsor the gala, please visit [AJWS] **

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