Update III: We’ll have a “live” post while the debate is on tonight.
Update II: “Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose greatest disappointment was her failure to reform the American health care system when she had the chance to in the 1990s, will work the health care issue on a slightly smaller scale this month – as a shift nurse at one of Southern Nevada’s St. Rose Dominican Hospitals. It’s part of the Service Employees International Union “Walk a day in my shoes” program, which has presidential candidates pulling a union worker’s shift to meet one of the criteria for winning the coveted SEIU endorsement. [snip] The Clinton event, which promises to be a media circus, illustrates how important Nevada has become in the Democrats’ nomination strategy.”
Update: Gravel has not been invited to the forum. AFL-CIO states Gravel did not answer a required questionnaire. Gravel is upset.
KO as in Keith Olbermann will be the moderator of the AFL-CIO presidential forum tonight.
Once again Obama gets a major forum in his home ground. Both Obama and Edwards should do better tonight because they will know the likely questions before the debate.
Thousands of union members, probably many from the Chicago area where we are told Obama has support, will be attending the debate.
The nation’s largest labor federation originally planned to hold its forum at McCormick Place convention center. But more than 12,000 union members want to attend.
Spokesman Steve Smith says the decision was made to move the event to the home of the Chicago Bears to ensure there’s enough room.
Some more details from the Chicago Sun-Times
On Tuesday, seven of the eight Democratic candidates will gather on a stage at Soldier Field — in the north end zone — for the AFL-CIO’s Working Families President Forum. It’s the latest in a string of Democratic forums and debates, different because the audience will be between 12,000 and 14,000 union members and their families, drawn from Chicago’s extensive labor community and union activists from surrounding states.
The forum, moderated by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, runs for 90 minutes, starting at 6 p.m. It will be televised live on MSNBC and XM satellite radio.
Obama and Edwards will have a good idea of what questions will be asked. Hillary will be able to answer spontaneously without having to explain herself later on. Other candidates will have their research teams writing answers for likely questions.
Working men and women will ask the candidates questions focusing on issues that affect the daily lives of working families—from jobs and wages to health care, retirement, education and Iraq. Some of the questions will be submitted and selected by visitors to the AFL-CIO’s Working Families Vote 2008 website.
AFL-CIO union members in the Chicago area can request tickets to attend the forum from their local union or the Chicago Federation of Labor at 312-222-1000; members outside the Chicago area may request tickets from the AFL-CIO by calling 202-637-5297 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Scroll down to find information about nearby hotels.
Due to federal elections law, only AFL-CIO union members and their families may attend the forum, but it will be broadcast in full for the public on MSNBC from 7-8:30 p.m. EST (6-7:30 p.m. CDT). We encourage working family activists to host friends, colleagues and family at “watch parties” to see and discuss the forum and critical issues in the 2008 election.
Expect another tag team effort from the Lazio-desperate Edwards and Obama campaigns against Hillary.
Maybe Edwards will be asked about his Bankruptcy Bill “yes” vote for which he now trys to explain away with his typical and familiar “I was wrong.”
Obama has this question among many to answer (from a commenter at the AFL-CIO website):
“i hope keith asks barrack obama why he voted against saving united employees pensions when we presented a bill to save our pensions after we went into bankruptcy… he said afterwards that united airlines was his constituent in illinois, and it was a conflict of interest for him… and when he agreed to show up at a rally in washington dc with candidates biden clinton and kucinich, why he was a no show and did not answer the phone the whole day hiding from us… it was a union rally for airline employees and other transportation workers… ask this man these questions please”
Obama and Edwards will be happy they will have advance knowledge of what the questions might be by looking at the final ten questions to be voted on.
Some of the questions Olbermann will ask the seven Democratic presidential hopefuls will come from the more than 2,200 submitted by union members at the AFL-CIO’s Working Families Vote 2008 website. You have until Sunday at midnight to vote for your favorite among the final 10 questions.