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Democrats stay the course at AFL-CIO forum

 The labor union forum in Chicago, Illinois went by without any surprises by the Democrats.

Democrats stay the course at AFL-CIO forum Total of seven Democrats took the stage yesterday on Soldier Field to win the vote of the labor union members. The forum was organized by AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest federation of unions in the United States with over 10 million members, including Canada.

 From the very beginning it was clear that all seven presidential candidates will continue to battle among themselves upon the usual points - foreign policy, corporate donations and Hillary Clinton.

 One doesn't need polls to know that Hillary remains the most popular candidate for President among the Democrats (if you do, the latest Gallup poll shows Clinton leading over Barack Obama 22 points). There was hardly any topic discussed by the other six presidential hopefuls, that avoided mentioning Hillary Clinton. John Edwards took the chance to "bite" Hillary for her latest appearance on the cover of the Fortune magazine. Barack Obama reminded people about her vote on the Iraq war. But in politics - the longer you talk about your opponent, less time you have to talk about yourself.

 The major points at the AFL-CIO forum:

 Foreign policy: Sen. Barack Obama came again under scrutiny for his comments on invading Pakistan and Afghanistan, with or without the permission of the local governments. Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden and Christopher Dodd took turns criticizing the Illinois Senator, but Obama defended his stand with the words "I find it amusing that those who voted to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism."

 Corporate donations: This fight was mainly between Hillary Clinton and the former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. The former Senator opened the battlefield by reminding the attendees that Hillary Clinton refused to forsake campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists. This topic could back-fire at John Edwards, as reported by the Washington Post, he has received over $150,000 in contributions from employees of Fortress Investment Group, an equity fund, where he worked in 2005 as a part-time adviser, earning over $500,000. Hillary retaliated focusing on her experience, rather than her campaign contributions.

 NAFTA: The North American Free Trade Agreement is a hot issue with the labor unions, many blaming the agreement for the lost of thousands of blue-collar jobs. Rep. Dennis Kucinich was the first to call out the rest of the candidates for not vowing to end the agreement. And he was right - the rest of the presidential candidates agreed that revision of this particular trade agreement is necessary, but no one called for an end of NAFTA. The fact that NAFTA was signed during the Clinton Administration was not overlooked. Everyone was curious how would Hillary Clinton go about NAFTA and the front runner also called for re-negotiation of the terms, "...we have to have a broad reform in how we approach trade. Nafta's a piece of it, but it's not the only piece of it," Hillary said in front of the laborers.

 The quote received the biggest applause: Hillary Clinton, "For 15 years, I have stood up against the right-wing machine, and I've come out stronger. So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl."

 Following the AFL-CIO forum, here are the latest odds on who will be chosen as the Democratic candidate for the 2008 US Presidential Election:

Hillary Clinton - 2/5

Barack Obama - 12/5

Al Gore - 5/1

John Edwards - 8/1

Dennis Kucinich - 20/1

Joseph Biden - 30/1

Chris Dodd - 40/1

Mike Gravel - 40/1 (not included in the debate because he did not complete an AFL-CIO candidate questionnaire)

Bill Richardson - 40/1

Field - 50/1

Odds courtesy of Bodog Sports.

Published on 08/08/2007

More from 2008 You Bet™:

 Hillary Clinton extends lead, crackdown on lenders
 Republican debate in Iowa did not let Barack Obama off the hook






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