AUSTIN, TEXAS--White House hopeful Barack Obama and Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa are meeting right now as I type this; they are together in the motorcade from the airport to a hotel here. Hoffa met Obama at the airport, where Obama was arriving after a rally in Dallas. The union is endorsing the Illinois Democrat for president over Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hoffa may be meeting with the Obama press corps later today; it's not clear yet if it will happen. UPDATE. Will huddle with Hoffa at 5:30 p.m. Chicago time.
React from the Republican National Committee
“Nothing says ‘change’ like the Teamsters and James Hoffa. Long-winded speeches and partisan endorsements are no substitute for serious policy discussions. Some partisan groups may applaud Obama’s ‘most liberal’ rhetoric, but the freshman senator must still answer real questions about his record and experience.” – Alex Conant, RNC Spokesman
Release from the Teamsters....
TEAMSTERS ENDORSE BARACK OBAMA
Hoffa Makes Announcement Following Texas Meeting With Obama
(Washington, D.C.) – Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced today the union’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president. The endorsement is the first step in mobilizing the union’s 1.4 million members and their families to elect Obama.
“Senator Obama understands the challenges working people face every day,” Hoffa said. “He is the candidate in the best position to lead our movement to restore the American dream for working people in this country. Senator Obama will fight for better wages, real health care reform, stronger retirement security, fair trade and an end to the outsourcing of good jobs. He understands the importance of giving workers a voice at work and will fight for strong unions to help rebuild America’s middle class.”
The endorsement decision follows a meeting in Austin, Texas, between Hoffa and Obama, and completes a months-long process that included scientific polling of Teamster members, surveys of local union and joint council leaders and deliberations by the union’s democratically elected General Executive Board.
“We have been fortunate to have candidates throughout the Democratic primary who are friends of working families and the Teamsters Union,” Hoffa said. “We are pleased that all of the Democratic candidates have focused on issues of importance to working people, including wages, health care, retirement security, fair trade and outsourcing.”
The union’s endorsement immediately activates the union’s 50-state election program, with special emphasis on swing states.
“Senator Obama will stand with the Teamsters when it comes to fighting for working families,” Hoffa said. “This endorsement begins a partnership to change America. Together we will reinvent the political process and give a voice to those who have been ignored by the Bush administration for the past eight years.”
Hoffa emphasized Obama’s commitment to rebuilding and strengthening the national transportation infrastructure, a key priority of the Teamsters Union.
“Senator Obama will fight to rebuild our transportation infrastructure,” Hoffa said. “He will work with us to address critical issues from our ports to our highways, rails and airports. We need a president who is focused on rebuilding America and Barack Obama will be that president.”
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.