Clinton racks up 2nd labor endorsement

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) won her second labor union endorsement of the week, announcing Thursday that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is backing her bid for the Democratic nomination for president.

The IAM, an AFL-CIO union, has more than 700,000 members, and the campaign pointed out in a release Thursday that 450,000 of those members will be in 25 states voting on or before Feb. 5.

“Hillary Clinton earned the IAM’s endorsement by focusing on jobs, health care, education and trade — the bread and butter issues of the American middle class,” Tom Buffenbarger, IAM president, said in a release. “She is the only candidate of either party to come forward with a comprehensive manufacturing policy and the only candidate to connect with millions of Americans who feel invisible to the current administration.”

The Clinton campaign effectively bracketed an announcement from the International Association of Fire Fighters endorsement of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) Wednesday by announcing her endorsement from the United Transportation Union early in the week and the IAM’s support Thursday.

“I am honored to receive the support of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers,” Clinton said. “It is time for America’s working families to again share in our nation’s prosperity. They will not be invisible to my administration.”

The IAM also took the “unusual step” of endorsing a Republican candidate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“Mike Huckabee was the only Republican candidate with the guts to meet with our members and the only one willing to figure out where and how we might work together,” said Buffenbarger. “He is entitled to serious consideration from our members voting in the upcoming Republican primaries.”

The IAM said in its release that about one-third of its members are Republicans, leading the union to endorse candidates from both parties.

“The dual endorsement is intended to involve all IAM members in the upcoming election,” said Buffenbarger. “It is fitting for the union whose early members gave birth to Labor Day to reach beyond traditional partisan boundaries to establish new relationships for the benefit of all working Americans.”