The Hidden Campaign
Outside Groups Step Up Expenditures
By Matthew Mosk
Outside groups have not been a huge factor in the presidential campaign to date, but they are still out there making noise.
Some of the loudest who are out helping Sen. Barack Obama are the nation's labor unions. Today, the AFL-CIO announced a new wave of mail that is part of a $53.4 million voter mobilization effort, this time targeting gun owners, veterans and retirees in key states. "This effort represents a final push to reach the remaining undecided voters after months of communications to millions of working-class swing voters in battleground states on core economic issues," Steve Smith of the AFL-CIO said in a statement.
Today the union sent mail to 80,000 swing voters who are gun owners in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. "The mail pieces will be followed by phone calls and door visits by union volunteers to this group to reinforce the central message: 'I want to protect two things: my job and my gun. That's why I'm supporting Barack Obama,'" Smith's statement said.
Also busy this week was the Service Employees International Union, which reported $356,000 in phone banking and mailers, along with a hefty run of television ads focused on health-care issues and paid for by the union's political action committee. Environmental groups also sponsored mailers attacking McCain -- the League of Conservation Voters reported spending $280,000 for a "media buy" opposing Sen. John McCain.
On the right, the National Rifle Association reported some small expenditures for literature opposing Obama. And a group called the National Republican Trust PAC reported spending $75,000 in the past 24 hours on e-mails and online banner ads opposing Obama.
Posted at 1:25 PM ET on Oct 14, 2008
The Hidden Campaign
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