Firefighters Endorse Dodd
Hoping political lightning will strike twice, the International Association of Firefighters endorsed Chris Dodd's presidential campaign Wednesday, vowing to take to the streets in early primary states for the Connecticut senator.
"We've ignored the polls, we've ignored the campaign money, and we ignore the pundits who are generally off-base, especially this early off," says Harold A. Schaitberger, general president of IAFF.
As Dan Balz reports today, the union is only the 10th-largest under the AFL-CIO umbrella, but it is "among the most politically active and symbolically prized labor groups in the country."
The Dodd choice is raising eyebrows, since the group passed over Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But Schaitberger reminded assembled union members and reporters repeatedly that the union backed John Kerry in the fall of 2003, helping him win Iowa, and eventually the Democratic nomination.
"They didn't look around and say, who's winning this race? They asked themselves: who ought to win this race," Dodd told reporters following the official announcement. "It isn't just about taking a snapshot, and sitting back."
Dodd and Schaitberger depart tonight on a three-day trip to the early primary states of Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire, and Schaitberger says IAFF members will be active in the early states -- especially Iowa.
"If you haven't been inside a caucus in Iowa, you really won't understand what our members can do when a candidate fails to meet 15 percent threshold," Schaitberger said. "When those that are in the center of the room and undecided, our members know how to bring them to the gold and black corner," he added.
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