Union leader sees opportunity in Romney’s dismissal of the “47 percent”
Democrats have reacted gleefully to the release of Mitt Romney’s secretly videotaped dismissal of 47 percent of American voters – whom he identified as supporters of President Barack Obama – as victims who do not pay their share or “care for their lives.”
But few have reacted with as much glee as union leaders who have spent the past two years waging big fights over labor rules with Republican-controlled state governments – and the past week facing fallout from a bitter Chicago teachers’ strike.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka blasted Romney’s comments as the latest sign that the wealthy former businessman is out of touch with ordinary Americans.
“What Mitt Romney said about half the country is really an insult to everyday people who know what it means to work incredibly hard and still sometimes fail to get by,” Trumka told reporters at the labor federation’s headquarters on Tuesday, the day after the left-wing magazine Mother Jones began posting the video on its website.
“Mitt Romney has built a life and a fortune on the losses of others. Those so-called victims that he dismisses with ease are victims of this. They are victims of a system that’s been rigged by Mitt Romney’s backers so that they would lose. And in a moment of candor, it is very clear that he doesn’t understand and doesn’t care what almost everyone goes through, except for people like him,” he said.
Obama and his allies, including many union leaders, have been blasting Romney during campaigning for the Nov. 6 election as a heartless investor who made millions of dollars for himself and investors while driving companies into bankruptcy, at a cost of thousands of jobs. Romney’s supporters accuse the Democrats of waging class warfare, and say his success as a businessman makes Romney a better candidate than Obama to right the sputtering U.S. economy.
But who knows whether Trumka – or other Obama supporters – will be right about the videotape. The election is still seven weeks away, and polls show the race is still neck and neck.
Gallup’s daily tracking poll on Tuesday had Obama backed by 47 percent of voters, and Romney at 46.
Picture credit: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addresses the Democratic National Convention. REUTERS/Jason Reed