June 24th, 2008
02:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Largest labor organization poised to endorse Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN)—The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor organization, is poised to throw its support behind Sen. Barack Obama and launch a broad grassroots mobilization effort in support of the Democratic presidential nominee.

Obama’s name is the only one on the ballots which were faxed out Tuesday. The Illinois senator must receive two-thirds of the labor organizations total membership of 10.5 million union workers by the pre-set deadline, Thursday morning.

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s suspension of her presidential bid helped to essentially secure the endorsement for Obama.

According to spokesman Steve Smith, the labor organization stayed neutral during the primary season because a two-thirds majority would have been difficult to attain for any of the candidates given the fact that a number of the unions individually endorsed Obama, Clinton and John Edwards, with one supporting Sen. Chris Dodd.

“Once [Clinton] dropped out it was just a matter of process and getting the votes scheduled to decide on an endorsement,” Smith told CNN, adding that a “very positive” feeling came out of Obama’s meeting last week with all of the union presidents at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington.

“Everyone coming out of that meeting felt very confident and positive about the direction [the AFL-CIO was] headed…and about running a strong and unified labor program,” Smith said.

The group has been running a campaign against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain since early march, aimed at defining the Arizona senator’s stances on jobs, trade and health care among union members.

The endorsement could help Obama in the critical swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota where union voters make up between 25 and 35 percent of the total vote and particularly among working blue-collar voters which Obama has struggled to gain support from so far.

With an outreach of more than 13 million registered voters in 23 ‘top-tier’ states, the AFL-CIO is budgeted to spend $53.4 million via mailers, phone calls, door to door and work site visits and has not yet ruled out television advertisements. Collectively, the 56 unions expect to spend $200 million in the 2008 election between, Presidential, Senate and House races nationwide.

Filed under: AFL-CIO • Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Tired of W, OH

    ny, that is one profound statement. How did you come up with "Dr. NO"? Oh, that's right. You're just repeating the McCain camp's statements like a good little repub parrot. Want a cracker?

    And you all know d@mn well that if McBush was able to somehow convince a union into supporting his insane policies, you would call unions the greatest thing to ever happen to this country.

    June 24, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. Texun

    This time the unions will make a difference! Count Obama as winner in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, among the big "swing" states.

    June 24, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    I am a member of a Union – not by choice, But I will not vote for Obama. As a matter of fact. Any info I get from my unioin, gets sent right back to them with a McCain sticker. They take my money, but not my vote.

    June 24, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Generation X

    OPERATION CHAOS = PUMA (Poor uneducated miserable adults)

    Brian TN = President
    Charlotte = VP
    Belle 1 & Belle 2 = same person
    Jim PA = under new identity
    Clinton Supporter = GOP
    Jan FL = tool
    Sharon MN = Rush tool
    Karen, FL = under new identity


    June 24, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Willy

    Oh dear how shocking that a union endorsed a democrat1 unqualified at that.

    June 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. 2012

    Jimmy Hoffa is rolling in his grave!

    June 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. gary


    June 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Republicans for Obama

    I’m Republican, and I'm voting for Obama,

    Republicans for Obama

    June 24, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |


    June 24, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Oops

    Just for the record for those of you that think unions killed the big 3, they killed themselves. While our foreign competitors were creating more fuel efficient, higher quality cars the big 3 focused on SUVs’ and trucks. They are now scrambling to produce smaller fuel efficient cars that can compete... oops.

    June 24, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Proud American

    Obama for Prez!!! Lets Go Dems!!!

    June 24, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. rakesh

    Obama critisized President Bill Cliton's 8 years comparing it almost
    equal to that of President Bush inspite it was one of the most prosperous and peceful period .

    Now the same Obama wants Bill Clitinton to endorse him and support
    his campaign.

    Obama has no shame for after all he his also a politician.

    June 24, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. J from PA

    AFL-CIO supporting a liberal democrat...big surprise!

    June 24, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Tjstelten

    This is great news! I pray everyday that Obama will win! His vision for our nation and the world is what I want for my grandkids. A place where we respect each other. With Obama to lead us this may be possible. He's a good and decent man. He's kind and he's tough when need be and always will be fair and open-minded. What a novel idea he has that before picking up a gun, have a conversation-Depolmacy-how refreshing!

    June 24, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Ray

    Danny from above got Thomas good. Good point D!

    June 24, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Generation X,

    That was such a great comment!

    Thank You!

    June 24, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Dems be dopes

    You have absolutely got to be REPUBLICAN, not even the PUMA PAC would post comments such as yours!

    So please, why don't you crawl back under that rock that you were hiding under!

    June 24, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Scott, Wichita

    I so totally did not see this one coming...

    I mean, the AFL-CIO have only endorsed every liberal presidential candidate since dinosaurs roamed the earth...

    I'm shocked that they would make such a drastic change of support...

    This is not news, except to the Obamabots who get all excited about everyt story posted about him, and don't know anything about political history. (READ A BOOK)

    June 24, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Thomas

    "Don't like unions? Leave. No one is forcing you to stay with it, let alone contribute to it." – I am REQUIRED to pay union dues and to have my job I AM REQUIRED to be part of the union... my union is SEIU and they spent millions of our REQUIRED dues to pay for ads for Obama when we have not had a pay raise in 7 years and no change to heath care for 12 years...

    I would love more then anything to leave my union... $48 a month going to political nothingness when they should be working for us... and my union SEIU does what ever the University wants because they have no backbone... but I still get the ads to vote for Obama...

    June 24, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Hank

    Good, they're going with the winner.

    Obama 08, 12.

    June 24, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Thomas

    "We know the game Obama has done a lot in his home state" – Really what? Unemployment is UP, crime is UP, Taxes are UP and Housing prices are UP in IL....

    June 24, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. KOOKOO

    Please people get a life and leave Barrack a lone.

    June 24, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Bishop

    "Obama’s name is the only one on the ballots which were faxed out Tuesday"

    What kind of democracy is this? Saddam used to do the same thing, and we all said that was wrong.
    I think that mean he has the only one they voted for...geez....get a life

    June 24, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. RK

    Hey ny, you need to learn how to spell. If you want to call someone a liar, at least learn how to spell it right. It's not lier, it's liar. You're the one who is a liar, Obama does love America and Americans. You need to get a life. GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Lynn

    Barrack alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way to

    June 24, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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