Tales from the Trail

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.

Pro-Obama super PAC, labor group launch $4 million Spanish ad campaign

A super PAC supporting Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the nation’s largest health care and property services labor union on Monday launched a Spanish language television advertisement campaign highlighting “working Latinos’ reactions” to certain statements presumptive nominee Mitt Romney has made on the campaign trail.

The $4 million campaign, “Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras” (Mitt Romney: In His Own Words), is billed by Priorities USA Action and the Service Employees International Union as one of “the largest ever independent Spanish-language campaigns” and will run on TV and radio in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.

The Nevada ad features Romney describing himself as “unemployed” as he seeks to oust the incumbent Democrat Obama from the White House in the general election in November.

Obama sounds the alarm for clean energy

OBAMA/President Barack Obama sounded the alarm on Tuesday as he made his push for more nuclear power in the U.S. energy mix — literally.

He toured an electrical workers union training center in Maryland before announcing the multibillion-dollar plan. During the tour, he talked to workers being trained in computer-assisted design, examined power management technology and fire alarm systems.

“You can pull one if you want,” Rhett Roe, a union member who has been teaching since 1985, told the smiling president as they stood before a wall filled with bright red alarm boxes.

Looking under the hood of “Cadillac” usage in healthcare debate

For car buffs, “Cadillac” and healthcare are probably not a natural mix, even in the context of financing.

For healthcare debaters, “Cadillac” has come to describe high-end insurance plans that either need to be taxed or left alone depending on the viewpoint. GERMANY/

Well, according to several (online) dictionaries, the word Cadillac used in this manner is actually slang.

Who speaks for the Republican Party?

USAWASHINGTON – For Americans United for Change, the left-leaning political action group that worked to defeat President George W. Bush’s Social Security private accounts proposal, it’s conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh.

Americans United joined forces with the public employees union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to finance a hard-hitting “No” ad linking the Republican party with Limbaugh, who said on his radio show that he wanted President Barack Obama to fail.

It’s part of a strategy by top Democratic strategists to associate Republicans, who opposed Obama’s economic stimulus plan, with those comments by Limbaugh.