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Nevada Unions Endorse Obama

By Garance Franke-Ruta
The powerful Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union today endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. Last night, the Service Employees International Union, Nevada, also endorsed the Illinois senator, who finished second in yesterday's New Hampshire primary. In a memo, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe today called the SEIU endorsement "a significant boost to our efforts."

The endorsements will provide the Obama campaign with an important psychological and logistical boost as the campaign heads toward the Jan. 19 Nevada caucuses -- especially coming on the heels of a night in which Nevada supporters at 160 primary watch parties organized by the confident Obama campaign found themselves watching, instead of an Obama victory, a surprise first-place New Hampshire finish by a resurgent New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

While the 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union is one of the most powerful political forces in Las Vegas, and is expected to help turn out caucusgoers for Obama, the 17,500-member Nevada SEIU endorsement's most significant impact may be its negative one, say observers of Nevada politics. The endorsement effectively blocks the more than 600,000-member California SEIU, which has endorsed former North Carolina senator John Edwards, from streaming supporters into neighboring Nevada to do organizing work, thanks to union rules that bar the participation of outside locals on behalf of a candidate not endorsed by the local SEIU.

Unlike Iowa's caucuses, held on a weeknight evening, the Nevada caucuses will take place during the day on a Saturday during the long and symbolically resonant Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Several at-large caucus locations are being set up for shift workers on the Las Vegas Strip to attend on their lunch breaks, as well, and turnout is projected by Nevada Democrats to be in the tens of thousands.

Clinton has consistently led polls in the state, though her margin has shrunk. A December Mason-Dixon poll for the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed her leading Obama 34 to 26, with Edwards in third place at 9 percent.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 9, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
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Just a few things a doer (Barack Obama) has done:
• Passed a bill making Illinois the first state that required that interrogations and confessions be videotaped
• Passed Illinois' first earned-income tax credit to help the working poor
• Passed first Illinois ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years
• Co-authored, with Tom Coburn, the new lobbying reform law that requires lawmakers to disclose the names of lobbyists who "bundle" contributions for them
• Passed the Lugar-Obama Non-Proliferation Legislation, expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons and the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction
• Opposed the war in Iraq from the start and only Barack Obama established legislation that would, by force of law, begin a phased redeployment by May 1, 2007, and have all combat forces out of Iraq by March 31, 2008 (not passed)
• Co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to close a tax loophole that permitted hedge fund investors to pay levies on billions of dollars in profit at a lower rate than most income earners.
• Authored legislation with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to provide $20 million in emergency aid to African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Sudan that passed the Senate as part of a larger Department of Defense (DOD) spending bill to be signed into law by the President
 The AU is the only international force in Darfur working to prevent a further deterioration of a situation where 400,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes.
 Obama met with AU commanders in Eastern Chad where thousands of Sudanese refugees have fled from the violence that has engulfed their country," Obama said. "It quickly became clear to me that bolstering the AU mission is critical to short-term efforts to protect innocent civilians and allow humanitarian operations in the region. While we have so much more to do to stop the slaughter of innocents, this funding, combined with recent pledges of assistance from European governments, is an important step in the right direction."
 In late August, 2007 Senator Obama visited the Mile Refugee Camp, one of 12 encampments on Chad's eastern border. The camp is home to 15,000 refugees who crossed the Sudanese border seeking safety from Janjaweed militias who have been terrorizing ethnic African tribes in Darfur. During his visit to Eastern Chad, Senator Obama met with refugees from the Darfur region, AU military commanders, local Chadian officials, U.S. military officers, and U.N. personnel.
• Sponsored legislation that allows gas stations to receive tax credits for installing E85 ethanol refueling pumps.
• Introduced legislation along with Tom Harkin, establishing a National Low-Carbon Fuel Standard that would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in the short and long-term. The bill requires a reduction of about 180 million metric tons in emissions in 2020 - the equivalent of taking over 30 million cars off the road. The Obama-Harkin fuel standard embraces the growth of the renewable fuels market, including corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and biodiesel as a key component of fighting climate change, while incentivizing lower carbon emissions in their production. (May, 2007)
• Sponsored legislation, bill dedicated to pandemic flu preparedness
• Introduced Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2006, a bill to improve access to and appropriate utilization of valid, reliable and accurate genetic tests by all populations
• Introduced legislation to better secure one of the most vulnerable gaps in our homeland security-chemical plants
• Passed amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would help speed the creation of regulations to protect our nation's children from dangerous lead paint poisoning
• His "health care for hybrids" bill
• An Energy Security Bill
• Various bills on relief for Hurricane Katrina, including aid for kids and a ban on no-bid contracts by FEMA
• A public database of all federal spending and contracts
• Legislation to raise CAFE standards
• Veterans' health care
• Making certain kinds of voter intimidation illegal
• Proposal to revamp ethics oversight, replacing the present ethics Committee with a bipartisan commission of retired judges and members of Congress, and allowing any citizen to report ethics violations. This would have fixed one of the huge problems with the present system, namely: that the members have to police themselves.
• Supports the Employee Free Choice Act, an act to restore workers' free choice to join unions
• Marched alongside striking hotel workers in Chicago last year

Posted by: Katy7540 | January 9, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

It was a historic upset! The people from New Hampshire did not get fool by a salesman. The country needs someone who has the strength and experience to make the change. The country needs a doer not a talker.

Fellow Americans, please don't be fooled by a phony salesman.

Posted by: graysce101 | January 9, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Edwards should drop out and endorse Obama.
(VP, Edwards.)

Posted by: julieds | January 9, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Excellent. As a white woman who supports Obama, I say that the time has come for us to elect someone who has integrated the experiences of being both a white and black man.

Obama is the candidate for the future.

Posted by: vbalfour | January 9, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

For how long will Edwards deny reality and stay in the race? If he can't get union endorsements, can he be competitive?

Posted by: bsimon | January 9, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

LOL! The Socialists support Obasama and Edwards!

Who'ed of thunk that?! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | January 9, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama better get any endorsement he can have. With Hillary almost bragging about how she turned things around in her teary eyed moment, what more is needed to prove there is no trick too dirty.

quote and link can be found here:

Posted by: old_europe | January 9, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

That is great.. Will Clinton go to SC?

Posted by: TennGurl | January 9, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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