Clinton scores AFSCME endorsement

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) received the endorsement of the powerful American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Getting the support of the 1.4 million-member union is a major victory for the Democratic frontrunner and will help ease the pain of a rough debate Tuesday night.

AFSCME, the largest union under the AFL-CIO umbrella, pledged to put together a 40,000-member “army of volunteers” for Clinton, which should help the former first lady in the early primary states and could be instrumental in locking up the nomination early. In addition, the union is planning to spend $60 million on the 2008 election.

“As our President, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFederal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world Intercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years MORE will help rebuild America’s middle class and make sure that everyone shares in our country’s prosperity,” said AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee. “She has a record of leadership, of bringing people together for more than 30 years. Hillary Clinton inspires our members. She sparks the flame we need to win.”

He added that the endorsement is the result of 10 months of scrutinizing the candidates.

“I am honored to receive the support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,” Clinton said. “In my administration, America’s working families will again have a partner in the White House.”

The union has 30,000 members in Iowa, where Clinton is engaged in a tight battle with Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.).