(CNN)—With less than two weeks to go before voters cast their ballots, the AFL-CIO launched a massive Get Out The Vote campaign Tuesday, targeting over 13 million union voters across the country in presidential, congressional and gubernatorial battleground states.
250,000 volunteers will disperse across the country in 20 presidential battleground states, including some “non-traditional’ key states like North Carolina and Indiana.
The efforts will also target 12 Senate races and 60 House races in an effort to secure a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.
The group, which has been targeting union voters throughout the campaign season, says it also plans to increase the volume of phone calls and door to door knocking in the key states, with an emphasis on veterans, elderly voters and gun owners, who are typically harder to contact.
According to AFL-CIO Spokesman Steve Smith, in 2004 and 2006 the grassroots organization had about 200,000 volunteers working in only 13 states. Compared to the efforts in 2008, Smith says they are targeting “more states and more House and Senate races than ever.”
These final efforts wrap up a $250 million grassroots mobilization which began in late June after the organization threw its support behind Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
(CNN)—In the face of growing economic concerns, the AFL-CIO will being sending out a new mailer Monday taking direct aim at Sen. John McCain’s recent comment that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are “strong.”
“John McCain says the economy is fundamentally strong,” the mailer reads. “John McCain is fundamentally wrong.”
McCain made the comments at a campaign event in Florida hours after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy last Monday.
"You know, there's been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street," McCain said in Jacksonville. “Our economy, I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times."
The Obama campaign has used the comment to attack the Republican nominee, calling him “disturbingly out of touch.”
The mailer, which the AFL-CIO calls their “broadest yet,” is set to reach more than one million union households in the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The mailer will coincide with an e-mail reaching 500,000 people, phone calls and door to door visits from volunteers.
(CNN)—In part of a greater effort to reach out to critical swing state voters, the AFL-CIO is targeting John McCain’s support of trade with China in a new mailer.
“Beijing 2008 America’s athletes are coming home,” the mailer reads. “But thanks to John McCain, 2.3 million jobs aren’t.”
50,000 union swing voters throughout Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania will receive the latest mailer which cites McCain’s 1993 and 2000 Senate votes to implement and establish framework for trade with China.
“2.3 million jobs outsourced to China? That’s not a world record I would be proud of,” union member Dennis Philippi says on the mailer.
The mailer coincides with face-to-face efforts on the ground, according to AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith. Voters who receive the mailer are also getting phone calls from the group and knocks at their doors to ensure they hear the message “consecutively” in a number of ways.
Thus far the mailers have been “very well received” according to Smith.
This is the AFL-CIO’s second mailer taking aim at McCain in the past two weeks.
WASHINGTON (CNN)—The AFL-CIO launched a new offensive on Thursday, the 73rd anniversary of Social Security, looking to paint John McCain as a wealthy elitist who is unconcerned with the needs of senior citizens.
In a mailer expected to reach 50,000 seniors Friday in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, the labor organization focuses in on McCain’s plans to privatize social security and increase the minimum age for eligibility above 65 years old.
“John McCain started receiving Social Security when he turned 65,” the mailer says. “But now he has a risky scheme to privatize Social Security—threatening our benefits.
“McCain’s worth over $100 million...,” the mailer also says. “He walks around in $520 Italian loafers. If John McCain lost his Social Security, he’d get by just fine. Would you?”
In 2006 the Arizona senator earned $3.9 million and has a net worth of $40.4 million, which Democrats have noted in an effort to paint McCain as out-of-touch with the average voter.
McCain’s net worth far succeeds Obama’s $1.3 million. In 2006, the presumptive Democratic nominee earned $991,000.
The presumptive Republican nominee has said that he supports a partial privatization of Social Security — which the AFL-CIO is using to try to tie his positions to President Bush’s unpopular 2005 attempt to overhaul the system.
According to the AFL-CIO, their efforts will be expanding over the coming weeks to reach a larger number of voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan—with the potential of extending outside those swing states.
(CNN)— The AFL-CIO will go on the air Thursday with its first television ad aimed at union veterans who might be tempted to support fellow vet John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.
“Every vet respects John McCain’s war record,” says Navy veteran and union electrician Jim Wasser of Illinois. “It’s his record in the senate that I have a problem with. He wants us to keep spending $10 billion dollars in Iraq, just like Bush.”
The 30-second ad, ‘Not now,’ is set to air for three weeks in the battleground states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith said the size of the labor organization’s buy is “significant.”
This is the labor organization’s first ad since officially endorsing presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama for president late last month. The buy — and its newly-launched Union Veterans Council - will go head-to-head with ads from grassroots organization Vets for Freedom; the group, which launched a four-month election effort on the Fourth of July, supports the war in Iraq.
(CNN)—The AFL-CIO endorsed Sen. Barack Obama Thursday, kicking one of the broadest grassroots mobilizations in recent history into “high gear.”
“In so many ways―on jobs, health care, gas prices and the war in Iraq―our country is headed in the wrong direction,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement announcing the endorsement. “Barack Obama has proven from his days as an organizer, to his time in the Senate and his historic run for the presidency, that he’s leading the fight to turn around America."
The endorsement is expected to help rally support around the presumptive Democratic nominee 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.
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.
(CNN) - John McCain better get used to seeing AFL-CIO members at his campaign events.
The major labor organization launched a $53 million campaign Wednesday that takes direct aim at presumptive Republican presidential nominee and includes union protesters following him every step of the way as he campaigns for the White House.
"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 speaks to working families' concerns," Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO's political director, said during a conference call.
The protests are part of a wide-ranging and unprecedented grassroots effort that will include mobilization efforts, direct mailings, e-mail, and a just-launched anti-McCain Web site.
The effort, called "McCain Revealed," aims to educate voters on the Arizona Republican senator's record, which the labor group says has been consistently anti-working families. It will consist of activity in 23 states and reach 13 million voters, Ackerman said.
“It’s clear that John McCain hopes to conduct his campaign without ever having to explain his economic priorities to working people,” Ackerman also said. “Public opinion polls show the economy is the top concern of voters, yet Sen. McCain has said very little about his economic positions and, as a result, working families know very little about where he stands on pocketbook concerns. That all changes today.”
A Republican National Committee spokesman called on both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to denounce the AFL-CIO's efforts, saying it would be consistent with both senators' denunciations of special interest groubs.
“The AFL-CIO’s campaign against John McCain clearly demonstrates their priorities lie in attack politics as opposed to focusing on American families," RNC spokesman Alex Conant said. "Voters looking for something new will find it in John McCain’s campaign to help working families – not the AFL-CIO’s partisan attacks"
The labor organization - consisting of 56 member unions - could not agree on a presidential candidate to endorse this cycle and has allowed each of its members to make individual endorsements. So far, Clinton edges out Obama among endorsements from AFL-CIO members.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney