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Schumer: Jerusalem platform omission a 'mistake'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of President Barack Obama's top allies said Thursday that Democrats made a mistake when they omitted from the party platform a reference to Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"It's not that someone had a plan, 'Let's back off the long Democratic Party policy that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told The Associated Press a day after the omission and reinstatement of the language caused dissention among delegates at the Democratic National Convention. "It was just sort of left out." Told of the omission, Obama directly ordered the language to be restored, Schumer said.

The vote on the convention floor Wednesday caught many delegates off-guard and inspired some to boo, exposing divisions in the party over U.S.-Israeli relations.

When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, called for a voice vote, the ayes and nays were equally loud. He called for a second. The result was louder but still uncertain. Villaraigosa appeared to look for help from the sidelines and then called for yet another vote. He then declared the amendment passed.

The platform already contained language asserting an "enduring commitment to Israel's security."

But GOP officials argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem's status in the party platform raised questions about Obama's support for the Mideast ally. Republican challenger Mitt Romney, in an interview with Fox News before the changes were made, said omitting God "suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people."

The changes added a declaration that Jerusalem "is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."

The hurried effort to correct the document Wednesday underscored the Obama camp's desire to deny Romney any opening with Jewish voters and donors in the tight presidential race.

Obama closes the Democratic National Convention Thursday night when he formally accepts his party's nomination for president.