WASHINGTON--The AFL-CIO is still on the fence whether to make an endorsement in the 2008 presidential primary. To help, seven Democratic White House hopefuls will pitch labor on Aug. 7 in Chicago in a forum moderated by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
And it looks like former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Ak.) may be loosing his one lifeline to his longshot, shoestring campaign--getting in on the debates and forums. The "confirmed candidate" list does not include him. Last week former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) were heard talking on an open mic at a forum in Detroit about making the debates more "serious."
The forum will be broadcast on MSNBC and XM Satillete Radio.
this from the AFL-CIO......
"Working Families Vote 2008"
AFL-CIO Announces Presidential Forum in Chicago on August 7
MSNBC, XM Radio to Cover Live in Prime Time, Moderated by Keith Olbermann
(Washington, July 17) -- The AFL-CIO will host a presidential forum with the top seven Democratic candidates on August 7 from 6-7:30 CDT in Chicago, the federation announced today. 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 5,000 union members and their families from around the country will attend the forum, which will focus on working families' everyday issues, at McCormick Place West in Chicago.
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.
"On August 7, thousands of union members in Chicago and millions of working families around the country will hear exactly how these candidates, after eight years of anti-worker policies, plan to return the promise of the American dream to working people," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said.
"We're pleased to work with MSNBC and Keith Olbermann, as well as XM Radio, to make this presidential forum widely available to working people across the country through live coverage in prime time," Sweeney added. "Keith's wit and political savvy will ensure a lively and substantive discussion about the issues working families care about most."
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.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to question the leading Democratic Presidential candidates about the key issues of this race," said Olbermann. "This is a critical time in our nation's history and I look forward to helping our viewers better understand where each of the candidates stand on the issues."
The forum is a key part of an intensive six-month program to engage union members and their families in the AFL-CIO's presidential endorsement decision-making process. Beginning in April, the AFL-CIO held town hall meetings in cities across the United States with presidential candidates to discuss issues of vital importance to working families like health care, jobs, retirement security, trade policy and the freedom to form and join unions.
The support of grassroots union activists is critical to any candidate seeking victory in 2008. In the 2006 elections, the AFL-CIO's massive union voter mobilization proved key to shifting the balance of power in Congress. The AFL-CIO mobilized more than 13.6 million voters in 32 states in support of working family friendly candidates. For more information on the AFL-CIO's "Working Families Vote '08 campaign, go to www.workingfamiliesvote08.org.
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: McCormick Place West