WASHNGTON--Moving to a larger venue, the AFL-CIO's Democratic Aug. 7 presidential forum in Chicago will be a mega-event now--at Soldier Field, home of the Bears, with up to 15,000 people expected. It will also be a dramatic, visual display of the political strength of union members, one of the most important Democratic constitutient groups.
Unlike most presidential forums and debates from both sides of the aisle, where the audience is inside a theater and numbers usually in the hundreds, the AFL-CIO is moving the forum from McCormick Place West outdoors to Soldier Field so union members and their families to be able to see the leading Democratic contenders for themselves. Seven of the eight Democrats will be at the forum, moderated by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
"From Day One," said AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith, "We wanted to get as many of our members and their families in front of the candidates to listen to the candidates and to have the candidates listen to us."
Smith said the event, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will be open to anyonewho is a member of an AFL-CIO affliated union. Tickets, free, will be distributed by the Chicago Federation of Labor. There will be sound systems and big screens put in place for the event.
The forum is being held in connection with the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Chicago. The influential labor group has not yet decided if it will make a Democratic primary endorsement. The Democratic candidates have been making separate appearences at AFL-CIO town halls across the country as part of the process.
The AFL-CIO invited all Democratic and GOP 2008 contenders, with the proviso they fill out questionairres first. No Republicans accepted the offer. And the only one of the eight Democrats not to fill out a form--excluding himself from the event--is longshot former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Ak.)
from the AFL-CIO.....
"Working Families Vote 2008"
AFL-CIO to Hold Presidential Forum in Chicago on August 7
MSNBC, XM Radio to Cover Live in Prime Time, Moderated by Keith Olbermann
*Note Location Change – Due to overwhelming response, the AFL-CIO has changed the location of its upcoming presidential forum to Soldier Field*
On Tuesday August 7 at 6 p.m. CDT, the AFL-CIO will host a presidential forum with the top seven Democratic candidates to be held at Soldier Field in Chicago. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, host of the network's popular Countdown with Keith Olbermann, will moderate the forum, which will be broadcast live nationally on MSNBC and XM Satellite Radio.
More than 10,000 union members and their families from around the country will attend the forum, which will focus on working families' everyday issues. Due to overwhelming response among union families interested in attending the forum, the location was changed today from McCormick Place West to Soldier Field.
Confirmed candidates for the forum are Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Christopher Dodd, former Sen. John Edwards, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Barack Obama and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
The AFL-CIO Executive Council is likely to make a decision on Wednesday following the forum as to whether to convene the General Board this fall to consider endorsement.
Union members in the audience will pose questions to the candidates. In addition questions are being solicited online through an "Ask the Candidates" contest at http://www.aflcio.org/issues/politics/contest/index.cfm. Visitors can ask a question, or vote among questions others have submitted. So far, more than 1600 questions have been submitted.
WHAT: AFL-CIO Working Families Presidential Forum
Moderated by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and broadcast live on MSNBC and XM Radio
WHO: Sen. Joe Biden,
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sen. Christopher Dodd
Former Sen. John Edwards
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Sen. Barack Obama
Gov. Bill Richardson
Panel of union members posing questions
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
WHEN: 6-7:30 CDT, August 7, 2007
WHERE: Soldier Field, Chicago
Members of the media may request credentials online at www.aflcio.org/issues/politics/credentials.cfm A full logistics advisory will be available soon.
For daily news, information and facts on this and other workers' issues, go to www.aflcio.org
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