March 12th, 2008
03:02 PM ET
12 years ago

AFL-CIO launches $53 million effort against McCain

The AFL-CIO is launching a major effort against John McCain.

The AFL-CIO is launching a major effort against John McCain.

(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

Filed under: AFL-CIO • John McCain
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Gary the G-man

    You don't see oil companies and pharmeceutical companies campaigning against Democrats! NOT FAIR!

    March 12, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Grif

    Then all John Mccain needs, is the exact opposite!!!

    "Balance of Power" Go away Mr.............

    Dictators live, and belong in the Middle East......

    March 12, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. jp/michigan

    Why should the democratic candidates denounce the AFL-CIO ? John McCain is part of the Bush strategy. Its time for McCain to fight his battles, he likes using special interest groups and lobbyist. His latest venture took a airplane tanker job away from American workers.

    March 12, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |

    Funny how you won't show anyone's comments to this post. Typical to Obama AGAIN!

    March 12, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Corey, Maryland

    I'm a democrat and love the thought of money being spent to destroy republicans, but shouldn't a major labor union have more important ways to spend 53 million dollars rather than attack a candidate 8 months before the election.

    March 12, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. AntiBrenda

    What's wrong with people confronting the guy on the all important issue of economy? Should they hide in shyness just cos the guy doesnt have answers? Come on RNC...What have Obama and Hillary got to do with it? Who said these union members are not commposed of repubs as well? Get a grip. Mcain is certainly not America's hope and you RNC knows that. Unfortunately they have nobody in their stable to confront real issues so they threw the poor man out there with no clue. He might know something about the barrel of a gun and that's it. Another G. B in the white house and we are doomed forever

    March 12, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. markm

    Gee, and Democrats never "swift boat"...right? Democrats do not sidestep the campaign finance laws...right? So the union leadership will support either of two incompetents for president in their knee-jerk attack on Republicans. Most rank and file union people I know are (a) patriotic and (b) anti-communist. As usual, that puts them at odds with leadership. The AFL-CIO is irrelevant and has done nothing for workers except soak them for dues while padding the walletsa of its leaders. If the union opposes McCain, I will surely vote for him.

    March 12, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Eric

    Please CNN,
    Proofread your articles.


    "$13 million voters"

    March 12, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Johnson

    I don't see why either of the democratic candidates would denounce anything about this. McCain can't talk about the issues on economics? This is not a personal attack on McCain nor is it name calling. This is focusing on the issues and where John McCain stands on the various issues of economics. This type of thing should be more than welcomed in debates. If you are running for president, your issues should not be cloudy. You need to articulate where you stand and what you will do for the people you are about to represent.

    March 12, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. bakersfield

    republicans hate hillary because bill and her defeated them twice and alot in the dnc don't like her because they couldn't tell her and bill what to do if she lost the nomination in the democratic party. the republicans would unite around a mccain / hillary ticket.

    March 12, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Puddytat

    well if he would have had a debate Huckabee , he might not be in this pickle.

    March 12, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Patty Atlanta GA

    All that and and adulterer too! Who do we conservatives have to vote for? How can he be so evil, and lie so easily, and use his drug addicted wife as a prop like that! Jesus hates sinners!

    March 12, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Yikes

    Spell check, anyone? How about grammar?

    March 12, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Daniel, TX

    I know you guys are quick to publish things against McCain, but please fix at least 4 of the typos made above.

    That is all.

    March 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Bob Stephens

    It's about time decent citizens started going after Weather Vane McCain, who is in the forefront of exporting American Jobs and pushing contracts for the Air Force Planes to French Companies instead of American Companies.

    March 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. M.

    About time someone seriously took on this guy...Apart from his voting record and lack of interest or experience with the economy, he's way too old and way too Bush...Haven't we all had enough already???... And his legendary temper should scare any normal person to death.

    March 12, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Ian

    Again, if economics were taught in school K through 12, the American people would no longer believe Organized Labor's silly Robin Hood fantasies of socialism nor swallow their perverted view of the purpose of companies. They'd see it for the socialist bunk that it truly is.

    Companies/corporations/businesses exist for one purpose. Not to be nice folks and good stewards. Not to promote the general welfare. Not to create jobs for people and bolster communities.

    They exist solely for the purpose of making a financial return for investors. Period. All those other nice things are merely pleasant by-products of wealth creation. And, all of those nice things will ONLY ever be present when people are allowed to keep their own money and spend/invest as they so choose, ie "wealth creation." Those things will not exist without capitalism, a free society and the free market. To think otherwise is dewey-eyed collegiate naivete.

    March 12, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. jfs Memhis, Tn

    GREAT.......they now need to throw their support to OBAMA to get the job done for ALL

    March 12, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. glhf

    Jesus, how did McCain do? 53 million dollars?

    March 12, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Jody

    If the AFL-CIO can afford to spend $53 million on a single campaign I think they are doing their members a grave disservice. How can a union have that much cash sitting around? This just proves the point that unions are just as corrupt and power hungry as the corporations they claim they protect their members from.

    March 12, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Brian

    Beating John McCain in November is going to be like taking candy from a doddering, senile, ill-tempered 70-year old baby.

    The end of republican rule in this country can't come soon enough. They've run up our deficit, shipped our jobs overseas, crippled our military, got us mired in unending global conflicts, made us less safe in the war on terror and involved themselves in countless scandals.

    We need a smart democrat in office who can bring hope back to the American people and who will apply some intelligence to how we handle our affairs overseas.

    March 12, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Bukky, Baltimore

    WOW... kudos.

    This is not a partisan attack, they are againt the only candidate that supports NAFTA. This is exactly the point of a union.

    March 12, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. eleanor wallace

    I am appalled at mr. cafferty and all his snide remarks. A real journalist! I dont think so. I thought this was still a free and unbiased program.No way. And as for Ms's ferraro comments she is saying what a lot of people think, but are afraid to say.

    March 12, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Teamster

    Good MCcain is not in good standings with this Union Man.

    March 12, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Phil Eckenrode

    Please get someone to proofread these stories.

    March 12, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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