The Communications Workers of America's top brass meet next week to talk endorsements as the union's members are reportedly split between the Dean and Gephardt camps. Union officials have a poll in the field right now whose results will come in before the union leadership's Tuesday gathering. CWA's popular president, Morty Bahr, has made no secret of his personal backing for Gephardt but is said to be loathe to get out and endorse the Missouri congressman given the grass roots support for Governor Dean among union members.
Says a source close to the CWA deliberations, Noting the very frequent Bahr calls from the Gephardt, Dean, and Kerry camps, there may not even be an endorsement if the union's membership stands divided.
Across town, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' President Ed Hill is also receiving a heavy dose of candidate lobbying as the IBEW awaits the results of its own internal union poll and nears a decision on the endorsement process.
Labor sources familiar with the union's deliberations say IBEW, just like CWA, could go either way at the moment … or, like CWA, it could opt to sit out the endorsement battle entirely.
Stay tuned, folks …
Speaking of endorsements, the Alliance for Economic Justice, which group leaders remind us represents five million members, will announce its endorsement of Congressman Gephardt on Saturday afternoon in Des Moines before the Jefferson Jackson dinner. Expected on hand: Gephardt, along with Laborers' International Union President Terence M. O'Sullivan, Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and Iron Workers President Joe Hunt.
Gephardt downplays Dean's labor coup, the AP reports. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: The Invisible Primary:
The Des Moines Register has details on Saturday's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner — including information about Hillary Clinton's Sunday book signing. LINK
Walter Shapiro writes that "it was assumed that the Democrats seeking the presidency would vie to wrap themselves in McCain's reformist aura. Instead, the 2004 New Hampshire primary is becoming a free-spending, the-sky's-the-limit battle between two candidates who have chosen to spurn a bedrock tenet of campaign reform." LINK
The Wall Street Journal 's Henninger looks at the "Q" ratings of the Democrats running for president and concludes that Kerry was cute but Dean was Q'ter.
The New York Times ' Jodi Wilgoren on Dean's $7.1 billion program proposal "to guarantee eighth graders who commit to higher education $10,000 a year in grants and loans" and "quadruple" funding for AmeriCorps. LINK
From ABC News' Dean campaign reporter Marc Ambinder:
The centerpiece of Dean's higher ed plan would give expanded federal aid to eligible students who show evidence of having prepared for college in high school. "The commitment in return is to have access to $10,000 for college," Dean said. He said he would restore funding for Pell grants, boost other aid opportunities, and limit how much a student spends to repay their college loans to between 7 to 10% of their income. Dean estimated the proposal would cost $7.1 billion, which he said he would pay for by repealing the Bush tax cuts.