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Bill Maher Spoofs Sanders Ad to Help Iowans Learn About Jews

‘Can a Jew really be president? Have you come to take my baby? And, are you Rumpelstiltskin?’

by
Jordana Narin
February 01, 2016
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), greets voters during a campaign event at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 31, 2016. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), greets voters during a campaign event at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 31, 2016. Alex Wong/Getty Images

As Iowans head to the polls on Monday to do their part in choosing the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, there’s only one question on my mind: Will Bernie Sanders become the first Jewish winner of the Iowa caucus?

With the help of liberal comedian Bill Maher, he just might. Over the weekend, the host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher addressed the issue of Bernie’s “controversial” Jewish identity with a mock ad spoofing Bernie’s now famous “America” campaign video. With the same iconic Simon and Garfunkel background music as the original video, Maher’s spoof aims to solve Bernie’s problem of running as a Jew in a state lacking much diversity—there are around 6,000 Jews in Iowa, about 0.2% of the total population—by unpacking the mystique surrounding his religion.

“Hello Iowa, I am Bernie Sanders,” the video’s narrator begins, his voice accented with a familiarly heavy Brooklyn cadence. “Everywhere I go across this great state I’m asked the same questions over and over: Can a Jew really be president? Have you come to take my baby? And, are you Rumpelstiltskin?”

The rest of Maher’s video—which reminds Iowan voters of Jews they’re already comfortable with, like Rachael Ray, Kate Hudson, Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow, “Sexy but Accessible” Paul Rudd, “the Harry Potter Kid,” and “both Iron Man and the Piano Man”—is well worth a watch. But whether or not the video will help steer Bernie to an eventual caucus win remains to be seen.

Jordana Narin is an intern at Tablet

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