October 31st, 2007
02:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Big labor union gets behind Clinton

Clinton scored a big endorsement Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Wednesday.

The union’s endorsement was one of the most sought after by Democratic presidential hopefuls, and with another influential union - the Service Employees International Union - refraining from granting a national endorsement, AFSCME’s nod becomes an even greater prize.

Donning a pair of red boxing gloves while accepting the endorsement, the senator from New York told the audience, "when it comes to fighting for America's families, I'll go 10 rounds with anybody."

AFSCME President Gerald McEntee told the audience that "this is no time to take chances. We need someone who knows how to fight and indeed knows how to win."

"Sen. Clinton is a season fighter," continued McEntee. "Believe me, she knows how to fight and she knows how to win."

AFSCME has a membership of 1.4 million people and provides the Democratic frontruner with another major union endorsement. Clinton has already received the backing of the American Federation of Teachers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and Allied Craftworkers, and the United Transportation Union, among others.

Union endorsements play an important role in presidential campaigns, often leading to an infusion of support for the campaigns - especially in the form of ground troops to help get out the vote efforts.

But union endorsements don't necessarily lead to victory on Election Day. AFSCME and SEIU both endorsed then-Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean for president in 2004. Two months later, after defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, and poor showings in several other states, Dean dropped out of the race for the White House.

- CNN’s Xuan Thai and Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Terry Tacoma, Wa

    Union endorsing a Democrat?? NOOOOO.

    I still don't understand these unions backing Hillary. She supports NAFTA (exports jobs – hurting unions). She doesn't want to deport illegal immigrants (driving down the cost of labor).

    The only rationale I can possibly see: Hillary will attempt to fast-track legalization of illegal immigrants who will then promptly join unions. Hillary get's 10-15 million more "voting" constituents and unions line their pockets.

    October 31, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Wow....remember when unions were needed....back in the 1920's....now they escalate our taxes (with payments to the teachers union...without merit based pay...which they fight) – then they make us non-competitive in the world economy -(ask Detriot....thanks UAW) – and they have infiltrated our municipalities....with state employees able to retire with full benefits...wonder who pays for this...yep....we do...Unions time has come and gone....same as Hillary – she had her 15 minutes of socialist fame....she's done now

    October 31, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. speedracer Cleveland, OH

    They apparently made the decision before her dismal performace in last night's debate.

    October 31, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "Someone who knows how to fight and indeed knows how to win"? Her own pollsters must tell her what Senator told did last night– that 50% is the _most_ popoular vote she can hope for, and that ain't a winner. It's a death wish, but labor is well-practiced in that department.

    October 31, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Union endorsements play an important role in presidential campaigns union endorsements, But don't necessarily lead to victory on Election Day. Sen Clinton haven't said to much or other candidate said anything thing about keeping job in America. Or trying to slow down imports that are taking jobs

    October 31, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Ron, TX

    AFSCME President Gerald McEntee told the audience that "this is no time to take chances. We need someone who knows how to fight and indeed knows how to win."

    "Sen. Clinton is a season fighter," continued McEntee. "Believe me, she knows how to fight and she knows how to win."


    Yeah, she sure proved that last night at the debate where she got blasted from every direction. A poll of over 65,000 people so far on MSNBC doesn't exactly paint the picture of a winner. 65% thinks she dodged questions. 57% thinks she sounded like a recorded player. She's either tied or 1% ahead on every positive question with Barack Obama.

    During last night's debate, she said:
    Clinton: No, I didn't say that, Tim. I said that I'm in favor of doing something about the AMT. How we do it and how we put the package together everybody knows is extremely complicated....And there are a lot of moving pieces here....There's a lot of moving parts. So I'm not going to get committed to a specific approach...

    Way to pick a side Hillary! That's not the kind of -leadership- we need to change Washington.

    October 31, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Tom, New York, NY

    way to go Hillary....just stay your course....stay above the attacks on your honesty and integrity by the other candidates..and just keep focused on telling us your plans for the future of America...and you will continue to gain the confidence and support of large groups of people like this union....

    October 31, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Tom, New York, NY

    Ron, from TX, I thought polls were not to be believed this early in the race.... and the only thing that will matter is the votes... so why now are you quoting the polls? hypocritical? plus, most of the reviews I have read and/or watched seem to indicate that Hillary Clinton stayed above the attacks that Edwards and Obama (the politics of HOPE... wasn't that one of their many changing slogans?) and in the long run, unless there was a knock out punch on a major issue, it only makes the leader look stronger? oh well....keep that HOPE going...

    October 31, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Michael Torrance, CA

    Having the endorsement of the fed, county and city freeloaders is not a glowing endorsement. I'm sure most of the people in these unions love it because they can do absolutely nothing and get paid way too much money to do it. Just like the democrats feel compelled to hand out everything to other people who just imagine they're in these unions, do absolutely nothing and feel that they should get paid too.

    October 31, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. therealist

    Big unions and Democrats. America's true culture of corruption..

    October 31, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Robert, Cleveland, OH

    I watched the debates. I felt sorry for Richardson (I guess it is more and more clear, he's eying VP position in Clinton ticket the same way Edwards was eying it in 2004 and thus was avoiding personal attacks), they didn't ask him much questions. Biden/Dodd and, in particular Kucinich are clear "also runs" so who cares. But Obama's and Edwards attacks were more appropriate for general elections debates (who's in general election mode?) with clear desperation from inability to shake Clinton. A lot of personal attacks or blowing a "no issues" into the major problems. Clinton appeared deliberately avoiding messing into the fight. Overall, this reminded me a couple of lap-dogs running around the legs of a lion – with the same effect.
    Hillary 2008

    October 31, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. S. Wright

    Awwwwww, now ain't that nice? A big union pulling for a Socialist.

    Karl Marx and Lenin would be so proud.

    October 31, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    I'm soooo happy I'm not a member of a union.

    October 31, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    No matter how much CNN tries to push Hillary and Bill, enough of a MAJORITY of American's want NO MORE of the Clinton's.

    No matter how many people from Hillary's campaign write gracious and glorious blogs here, a MAJORITY of American's DON'T WANT HILLARY AS PRESIDENT!!!

    Keep pushing her forward, CNN and you Hillary lovers, but SHE CANNOT WIN THE PRESIDENCY. Period. Over 50% of the voters WILL NOT VOTE FOR HER.

    She can play the victim, the "oh I had it so bad" childhood, oh "the right wing conspiracy is after me," on and on, but Over 50% of the voters WILL NOT VOTE FOR HER.

    October 31, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Daniel, NY

    Definitely good news for Clinton to recover from her weak general election poll numbers released today, and, naturally, from her barely staying afloat at the debate yesterday.

    October 31, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Maxx Angelo, Chicago, IL

    Folks, if you don't like Clinton, save us the hatred, wrap it up, and shove it up your rears.

    You Go Girl and May God Be With You to the End.

    October 31, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |


    October 31, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. nancy,boston,mass

    Can CNN also say Obama got Big endorsement from New Hempshire, cmon now!

    October 31, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Doug, New Jersey

    I have heard from many friends who were in unions that they would get punished for working too hard. Seems to go perfectly with the Democratic party who punishes Americans who work too hard by stealing their money and giving it to crack-smoking unemployed losers who are part of the Democratic parties loyal entitlement class.

    October 31, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Bob, Seattle, WA

    An amazing reward for the sleight of hand Clintons. After all it was Bubba who signed away protections for American workers when he signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Does anybody remember? Hillary was there. She remembers. She touts the fact that she 'learned' everything she needs to know from her hubby. This is where she got her 'experience'. The unions just want their backsides greased because conservatives are tired of unions who have out lived their usefulness. The only people in the union who are going to the bank are the heads of those unions and their staffers who are legion. What a sham.

    October 31, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Matt, Chicago

    Chris – Blaming UAW, as opposed to the archaic policies + practices of the Auto Companies themselves for a lack of competitiveness is ridiculous.

    I see your hateful rants on here enough – you must have a job with a lot paid leave. Ironic you hate organized labor.

    October 31, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. nancy,nyc,ny

    Obama got Big endorsement yesterday but you will never see that on ticker!
    what is fair reporting in this country?

    October 31, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. G, Margate, FL

    All of you haters need to get a life, she will be the next president.
    go Mrs Clinton.
    president Hillary Clinton for 8 yrs
    president Hillary Clinton for 8 yrs
    president Hillary Clinton for 8 yrs
    president Hillary Clinton for 8 yrs

    October 31, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |

    We all will be awaken soon to the reality of Hillary Clinton's Presidency. It is a FAIT ACCOMPLI that she will get the nomination and ultimately the oval office. Let us all get in line and stop badgering her, OK.

    October 31, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. JB Boston MA


    "get in line"

    How about NO. I don't like her, don't like her husband becasue he is sexual predator (different than adulterer)(not a bad prez though), and she stayed with him even though she new this.

    Hill fans keep saying we should shut up. How about No. I will do everything I can to make sure she doesn't get the nod. Why, because if she does, then we are looking at another four years with a Republican. I am ready for a democrat.

    Why not stop trying to force someone down the throats of people, and choose someone that isn't hated by 48% of the country. She divides, not unites.

    You Hill fans never address her negative numbers. You never address the fact that she says one thing to dem audiences, and other things to the general election audiences. Accuses people of being naive, then adopts their positions.

    You know what, she may have made a great President if she was not so unliked by other politicians and the general public. But we will never know becasue she is despised by other politicians and therefore will not be able to unite the two parties. And we have seen, without the two parties talking and compromising, NOTHING gets done.

    October 31, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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