AFL-CIO: Not Ready For Explicit Primary Threats

cross-posted from Sum of Change

Just hopped off the conference call with Richard Trumka from the AFL-CIO.

This morning, the AFL-CIO leadership voted in overwhelming favor (higher than 90%) of “active support” for the current health care proposals in the face of slight changes to the excise tax agreement.  

What that term “active support” entials is unclear. Earlier today Greg Sargent’s blog, the Plum Line, reported that a source inside the AFL-CIO told him they were ready to directly threaten primary challenges.

The AFL-CIO source sends over the list of House Dems who are being targeted:

Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Daniel Lipinski, Stephen Lynch, Michael Michaud, James Oberstar, Steve Dreihaus, Charlie Wilson Marcy Kaptur, John Boccieri, Zack Space, Tom Perriello, Jason Altmire, Christopher Carney, Paul Kanjorski, Tim Holden, Jerry Costello, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Kathy Dahlkepmer.

The source says that the threat of a primary or third-party challenge will be implicit, particularly since the AFL-CIO is already supporting Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter’s primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln.

Count on any threats regarding an election to be taken seriously when they come from Trumka. However, when asked about that on the conference call, Trumka stated that they are not prepared to make threats.

Whether or not the term primary comes up, we cannot say, but undecided House members should be expecting calls from labor during the final push. One can imagine that this sentiment, which Trumka expressed on the call, will come up: “We would have preferred it 60 years ago.”

As for his meeting with the President last night, he refused to disclose any details, but said the President has his full permission to do so if any reporters happen to ask.