Arkansas AFL-CIO says Lincoln 'turned her back' on workers

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has "turned her back" on working voters in Arkansas, the head of the state AFL-CIO said Wednesday.

Responding to a new ad from the senator in which she condemns labor groups, the AFL-CIO fired back at the senator for having taken money from groups representing workers, only to turn around and attack those groups.

“Lincoln has ignored the interests of working people in Arkansas too many times.  It's easy for her to try to paint opponents as outsiders, but working class voters in Arkansas can see as well as anybody that she has turned her back on us," Arkansas AFL-CIO President Alan Hughes said in a statement.

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Labor groups have backed state Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in a Democratic primary challenge to Lincoln after she'd backed off support for elements of healthcare reform, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA, or "card check"), and other top priorities by labor.

The senator, who's expected to face a tough GOP challenger this fall as well, lashed out at unions supporting Halter in a new ad, saying, "I'm not working for them; I work for you."

The AFL-CIO is quick to not that while it's true that Arkansans might not typically be huge union supporters, the group felt they couldn't let Lincoln's remarks go unchallenged.

“Only someone who has become a career politician in Washington DC could spend ten years asking for our support, take hundreds of thousands of dollars from blue collar workers, then turn around and attack us as ‘outsiders’ because we wouldn’t help her this time around," Hughes responded Wednesday. "That’s not the values people in Arkansas believe in.”

The AFL-CIO hopes to paint Lincoln as a consummate "flip-flopping" Washington politician, pointing to their own occasional donations and endorsements to Lincoln despite an inconsistent career record on issues the union has deemed important.

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