One of the most important groups backing Democrat Barack Obama said today it is beginning its final pre-election push, targeting union swing voters with a mailer on healthcare and Social Security.
The AFL-CIO said it is sending the missive to nearly 500,000 retirees in nine battleground states -- Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- and pouring more resources into traditionally Republican states such as Indiana and North Carolina "in an effort to push Obama over the top."
The mailer says Republican John McCain would privatize Social Security, tax health benefits, and cut $1 trillion from Medicare. But independent analyses have concluded all those assertions are misleading or overstated.
While McCain wants to allow private savings accounts, he is not calling for the wholesale privatization of Social Security. While he would tax the value of health coverage provided by employers, he would offset that with a new tax credit of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families. And the $1 trillion figure is a guesstimate put out by a partisan group; McCain insists that he would not cut Medicare benefits to pay for his healthcare proposals.
Earlier in the three-week effort, the AFL-CIO sent mailers to gun owners and veterans. "In states like Ohio, retirees represent a significant number of the remaining undecideds," the federation said in a statement. "While our numbers have improved dramatically in recent weeks across the board including with seniors and gun owners as we're reaching more voters with personal contact, we feel there's still room to improve with these hard-to-reach voters, especially in rural communities and exurbs. We're canvassing nightly through the labor program and Working America, and will be visiting many of these voters at the door in the next week. We're also running daily phone banks to undecideds to discuss health care and other issues, reaching hundreds of thousands of swing voters every day. If these hard to reach union voters move to Obama in the final days it could eliminate any potential path to victory for McCain."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.