The AFL-CIO officially endorsed Senator Barack of Illinois for president after representatives of the 56 member unions representing 10.5 million members voted on the General Board. During the primary process, these 56 member unions were split among support for Obama, Clinton or Edwards, so no candidate was able to muster the required 2/3 support required for an official endorsement by the AFL-CIO.
Like the Democratic Party primary and caucus voters, unions members had their favorite candidates, with no one single candidate the clear favorite, although Obama managed to capture some important endorsements from Plumbers and Fitters, Boilermakers, International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the American Federation of Government Employees unions during the primary season.
With the very weak record of John McCain on issues dealing with working people and just a 16%(COPE) voting record, Obama was an easy choice for the AFL-CIO to back. Obama's strong support on issues such as health care reforms as well as fair trade, certainly made the choice to endorse Obama an easy call for the AFL-CIO.
Obama will pick up important cash donations and election worker support from this new AFL-CIO endorsement. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) which represents 1.4 million members, intends to mobilize as many as 40,000 workers for the Obama campaign and spend as much as $50 million dollars in efforts to boost the senator. John McCain will be hard pressed to match strong efforts such as this mobilizing of thousands of campaign workers or raising so much money so easily.
The McCain campaign continues to lag along with internal campaign organizational problems, slow donations, and a general feeling of voter apathy towards the candidate. By contrast, the Obama campaign is buoyed by more excitement about the candidate. Much of McCain's support only comes from lukewarm sources such as voters not really happy about Obama for various reasons. According to a new Rasmussen Poll, 27% of voters are very favorable to Obama, compared to just 17% for McCain. And Obama has a larger base of favorable support than McCain as well, although the public certainly holds respectful views of both candidates and they both remain popular with many voters so far.
The AFL-CIO is also launching a new website to introduce it's membership into reasons why Obama should be elected president located at www.MeetObama08.com to help to answer any questions from primary voters from Clinton or Edwards who still have lagging questions about the young senator from Illinois.
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