“AFL-CIO Targets McCain With $53 Million Campaign.”

WASHINGTON (Wall Street Journal) March 11 – The fight between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination could drag on for months, but one of the largest Democratic interest groups plans to shift attention to defeating Sen. John McCain in the general election. The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor union organization, will announce plans Wednesday for a $53 million effort to elect a Democrat to the White House.

The AFL-CIO will rely on one of the oldest strategies in the political playbook: Define your opponent before your opponent defines himself. The labor organization will launch its “McCain Revealed” campaign to paint McCain as anti-worker and to tie him to the economic policies of President Bush. The AFL-CIO, which is an umbrella group for dozens of large national labor unions, has tailored messages about McCain for each of its member unions. Members of the American Federation of Teachers will get information about where McCain stands on education, for example.

With more than 13 million union members and family members, the AFL-CIO talks directly to more voters than nearly any organization outside of the presidential campaigns and the national political parties. The AFL-CIO didn’t endorse any Democrat in the primaries. Other unions have split their support for Obama and Clinton. The $53 million that the AFL-CIO plans is a record for the union. The money will be spent communicating an anti-McCain message directly to union members and households through mailings, visits to worksites and door knocking.

Though union membership is down nationwide, the union share of the electorate is growing and is particularly strong on battleground states such as Ohio, where the last few presidential election have been decided.

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