AFL-CIO: McCain is "Bush 3"

March 12, 2008 10:01:08 AM PDT
The AFL-CIO said Wednesday it will have union protesters follow GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting John McCain around the country to demand explanations on his positions on economic and labor issues. The effort is part of a wide-ranging campaign aimed at linking McCain with what union officials call the Bush administration's failed economic policies.

In addition to the protests, the nation's largest labor federation also plans to devote part of its record-setting $53.4 million grass-roots mobilization campaign funds to criticizing McCain through workplace leafletting, volunteer door-knocking, telephone calls, e-mail, direct mailings and an anti-McCain Web site, http://www.mccainrevealed.org.

"Everywhere John McCain goes in the coming months, union activists will be there to confront him on his economic positions and plans and demand that he speak to working families' concerns," said Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO's political director.

For example, McCain scheduled a town hall meeting in Exeter, N.H. for Wednesday. "We'll be in Exeter, N.H. when he arrives there today," Ackerman promised.

At the same time, the Web site "will expose Sen. McCain's record" and "complete his profile to include his unwavering support of George Bush's failed economic agenda, and call on him to adopt instead working family policies that offer a clean break from that agenda," Ackerman said.

The McCain campaign denounced the AFL-CIO's plans. "The AFL-CIO's campaign against John McCain isn't about working families, it's about partisan politics," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "While they spend millions of dollars on old-style attack politics that the American people are sick and tired of, John McCain is working to move America forward with a positive, optimistic vision for our future."

Ackerman said she expects to eventually reach more than 13 million voters in 23 states. The AFL-CIO's campaign will pay special attention to workers in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, where they expect to reach more than 6.7 million voters.

The next major Democratic presidential primary will be in Pennsylvania on April 22, where 15.1 percent of the work force - or 830,000 workers - are unionized.

"McCain has repeatedly demonstrated that he offers more of the same failed economic policies George Bush has pushed for seven years," Ackerman said. "On trade, health care, jobs, Social Security privatization and tax giveaways for the rich, McCain and Bush are in lockstep. McCain is Bush No. 3."

The AFL-CIO has not endorsed either Clinton or Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, although it has allowed its 56 member unions to make individual endorsements. Clinton so far has been endorsed by more AFL-CIO unions than Obama.

Obama has secured the endorsement of the newest labor federation, Change to Win. Those seven unions broke away from the AFL-CIO in 2005, and four of them endorsed Obama, one endorsed Clinton and two have not committed to either.

The $53.4 million slated for the AFL-CIO grass-roots campaign is the largest amount the labor federation has ever budgeted for grass-roots outreach. The AFL-CIO expects to spend an estimated $200 million total on the 2008 state and federal congressional elections.

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On the Net:

AFL-CIO: http://www.aflcio.org

AFL-CIO's McCain Web site: http://www.mccainrevealed.org

John McCain presidential Web site: http://www.johnmccain.com