The AFL-CIO delivers the Kerry endorsement foreshadowed last week:
At a rally attended by hundreds of union workers outside its Washington headquarters, AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney said workers who have lost jobs under the Bush administration ‘show exactly why it is so important that we come together now to put a friend of working families in the White House next November.’
Now, Sweeney said, ‘the time has come to unite behind one man, one leader, one candidate.’ He called Kerry ‘a man who will not sign his name to a single trade agreement that does not include worker protections and environmental protections. . . . He will be our champion in the White House, and he will bring jobs back to America.’
Greeted by workers chanting his name, Kerry said, ‘Today we stand united in a common cause . . . not just to defeat George Bush but to put our country back on track on the road of prosperity, the road of fairness, the road of jobs.’ He ridiculed President Bush for backing away from his economic advisers’ forecast of an increase of 2.6 million jobs this year…
‘It just doesn’t take a lot of fuzzy math to count to zero,’ Kerry said. ‘We are not asking George Bush to count the jobs. We’re asking George Bush to create the jobs and to fight for working people.’
Kerry added, ‘As president, I will do that.’ “
This endorsement comes as Kerry and Edwards both compete for the title of Fair-trader, a gratifying spectacle that would have been unheard of one of two election seasons ago:
Kerry, who voted for NAFTA in the Senate, has sought to blunt Edwards’s argument that the two candidates differ sharply on trade, a distinction that the freshman senator has been trying to sharpen as he stumps for votes in states hard-hit by job losses.
“I think it’s clear that Senator Kerry and I have very different records on trade,” Edwards told reporters yesterday.
…”We have the same policy on trade — exactly the same policy,” Kerry told reporters before speaking at a rally at a United Auto Workers hall in Dayton yesterday.