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Labor support for Barack Obama expands

February 20, 2008 | 11:57 am

Unions large and small are jumping  on board what increasingly looks like a Barack Obama bandwagon.

The Associated Press reports that Obama will be meeting today with Teamsters head James Hoffa in Austin, Texas, and that the union's endorsement then will follow.

The Teamsters are one of the nation's largest labor groups, with a membership of about 1.4 million. Perhaps more important, the union's support should send a good message about Obama to the working-class voters he needs to attract in Ohio to beat Hillary Clinton in that state's March 4 primary.

As Marc Ambinder notes in his blog for the Atlantic: "Nothing says tough, or evokes 'gruff,' more than the Teamsters." You can check out Ambinder's posting here.

The Republican National Committee's Alex Conant then chimed in with his own (sarcastic) comment: "Nothing says ‘change’ like the Teamsters and James Hoffa."

Earlier today, Obama scarfed up ...

the backing of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. It has a membership of about 65,000 -- with an estimated 3,500 living in Ohio. Here's the release with the announcement.

Last week, fresh on the heels of his triumphs in the Potomac primaries, Obama similarly won the backing of one huge labor group -- the Service Employees International Union -- and a smaller one -- the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

-- Don Frederick

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