July 9, 2008

New AFL-CIO Ad Features Veteran Criticizing McCain’s Senate Record

WASHINGTON _ The AFL-CIO is launching a new television ad Thursday in six battleground states to deter union members who happen to be military veterans from supporting Republican John McCain, a decorated Navy fighter pilot who was shot down over Hanoi and held as a prisoner of war.

The labor group, which recently endorsed Barack Obama, will also announce the creation of a national union veterans council, as well as a new Web site, www.unionveterans.org.

"We realize how important veterans are and how important it is for the labor movement to provide an opportunity for them to be more active," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

The ad stars Jim Wasser of Kankakee, Ill., an electrician and Vietnam veteran who served with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the Navy, setting the record straight about McCain for the AFL-CIO's 2.1 million veterans.

"Every vet respects John McCain's war service. It's his record in the Senate that I have a problem with," Wasser says in the ad. "He wants us to keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, just like [President] Bush. That's money we could use to build schools and roads and create needed jobs here at home."

The ad will air for the next three weeks in certain, smaller markets in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, states where voters have been hit hard by the economic downturn.

For example, in Michigan, television viewers in Marquette and Flint will see the ad, while in Ohio, it will be shown in Dayton, Lima, Toledo and Youngstown. Concerned about McCain's appeal among its members and even more worried about Obama's difficulty attracting white, non-college educated working voters, the AFL-CIO is spending $53.4 million to reach 13 million of its members and their families. The plan is to try to peel them away from the Republican candidate by persuading them to vote their economic interest, which they say, would not be helped by McCain.


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