Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet blog special: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to moderate AFL-CIO presidential forum in Chicago on Aug. 7.


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 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

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


Olbermahn to moderate a lib debate!!!! You've got to be kidding me! This will be the biggest love fest since he fawned over BJ Clinton on the Hour Of Spin!!

This will be fun to watch a discredited sports announcer pretend he's a "journalist". Get ready for the biggest softballs ever thrown on TV. Even softer than Lizard Larry King's!!!

It cant be any more of a softball than hearing Fox Noise's Britt Hume or such moderating for the cons....

The Democratic Party NEEDS to hear from Mike Gravel. I hope the AFL/CIO does the right thing and extends an invitation to Senator Gravel right away. It is important that we have serious candidates in these debates. Unfortunately, the only thing Hillary and Obama are serious about is raising the filthy millions.

BTW, Mike is right. Olberman is anything but neutral. It will be softballs all night...............What I want to comment about once again is this Clinton and Edwards idea of wanting the debates to have just a limited number of people participating. (1) I'm happy Obama didn't go for that. (2) Whatever happened to this BIG TENT philosophy the democrats always claim to have. Somebody needs to remind Clinton and Edwards. (3) BTW, 4 years ago at THIS VERY TIME, John Kerry had only 4% of prospective democratric primary voters according to the polls saying they wanted him for the nomination. So this is an example of just how unfair, outragous, and ridiculous the 'Clinton and Edwards' idea really is.

I hope the union didn't fall victim to Hillary and John, who made up their mind about who to speak and not to. Those two should be taken out to the shed.

I think Mike has been watching a little too much of Sean Hannity. Unlike Hannity, who goes out of his way to make Republicans look good, anyone who has watched Olbermann with any regularity knows that he can be quite harsh on the Democrats too. But, of course, the Hannitized have a bit of trouble with reality, so I wouldn't expect anything less.


Olby "harsh on the Democrats"???? Surely you must be smoking something pretty potent Ricky boy. The Hour of Spin is just one big 60 minute lib propaganda party and George Bush bashing! When's the last (no, sorry, the first and only!) time Bath tub Boy had a conservative on to counter all the libs? And don't give me the felonious one as an answer!! Ok Ricky boy, let's hear the answer!

To not allow Senator Gravel a forum to express his views and ideas is a form of censorship.This nation of ours is becoming more facist by the day.Facism is when the state controls the corporation.In the good old USA the corporations seem to control the state.Let Mike speak He is the only one besides Kucinich who are not beholden to the corporate will and corroption.

I am Yohana Duarte from Sunland Park NM. I have a question for Hillary,"If she can't handle her home affairs, how can we trust you with our American freedom? Bill Richardson has done and improved alot in New Mexico, how can you out-do what he has done?"

I used to watch Keith Olberman and even recommended him to others, because of his strong stand on Bush, however, I have been so angry since he joined Chris Matthews in constantly criticizing Hillary Clinton and just as constantly praising Barach Obama. He and Chris Matthews have never brought up any charges against Obama. As an example, although the Boston Globe and New York Times have both printed the fact that Obama when he was in the Illinois Rep. he was asked to investigate the problem with the Nuclear power industry. He began supposedly representing the people of Illinois against the Nuclear power industry. In actual fact he ended up voting with the industry and the Nuclear regulators. He now has representatives of the nuclear industry on his campaign staff, although he contends that he does not consort with lobbyist and PACs. In addition, he and Chris Matthews have never challenged Obama or questioned any of his statements and are only too happy to remark on every statement that Hillary makes. Where is the objectivity of the press? Hillary is correct that Obama has been given a free pass by the press>

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 17, 2007 11:16 AM.

Sweet blog scoop: Washington Mayor Fenty to endorse Obama. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog special: Chicago Obama volunteer HQ in the Loop is open; Michelle cuts ribbon on Friday. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.