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AFL-CIO to Target McCain

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to employees at Savvis, Inc. during a campaign stop in St. Louis, Mo., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. (AP.)

Updated 2:09 p.m.
By Matthew Mosk
Republican Presidential candidate John McCain can expect to see AFL-CIO workers at his event today in New Hampshire.

And, according to AFL-CIO political director Karen Ackerman, he will be seeing a lot more of them in the weeks and months to come.

The labor union announced on a conference call today that it was launching its own $53 million campaign to define McCain as the wrong candidate to lead the country on economic issues.

"Working families know very little about where he stands on pocketbook concerns," Ackerman said. "All that changes today."

The program Ackerman described includes efforts to reach voters at the workplace, through door-to-door canvassing, phone calls, on line contacts, and direct mail. She said 100,000 flyers about McCain's economic record were already on their way to workplaces, and 500,000 more would be distributed during the next month. She said the efforts would target "13 million union household voters," and would focus on 23 battleground states. Five states, in particular, will get attention: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

The AFL CIO has also launched a new website, at

Ackerman described the effort as "cutting edge" and said it would include microtargeting efforts. But it will also include a more personal approach, including, she said, an AFL-CIO presence at every public McCain campaign event. That part starts today, with workers expected to press McCain on trade issues during his planned appearance in Exeter, New Hampshire, she said.

Officials at the Republican National Committee called on the Democratic presidential candidates to reject the efforts by the AFL CIO.

"The AFL-CIO's campaign against John McCain clearly demonstrates their priorities lie in attack politics as opposed to focusing on American families," said Alex Conant, the RNC press secretary. "Voters looking for something new will find it in John McCain's campaign to help working families -- not the AFL-CIO's partisan attacks. Considering Senators Obama and Clinton's frequent denunciations of special interests, they must reject the unions' campaign against Senator McCain."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 12, 2008; 12:32 PM ET
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