Wednesday, June 9, 2010

White House official: 'Organized labor just flushed $10 million down the toilet'

A senior White House official just called me with a very pointed message for the administration's sometime allies in organized labor, who invested heavily in beating Blanche Lincoln, Obama's candidate, in Arkansas.

"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," the official said. "If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November."

Lincoln relied heavily both on Obama's endorsement, which she advertised relentlessly on radio and in the mail, and on the backing of former President Bill Clinton, who backed her to the hilt.

Lincoln foe Bill Halter had the unstinting support of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME and other major unions. And labor officials Tuesday evening were already working to spin the narrow loss of their candidate, Bill Halter, as a moral victory, but the cost in money and in the goodwill of the White House may be a steep price to pay for a near miss.

UPDATE: AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale responds that "labor isn't an arm of the Democratic Party."

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