Sneak Peek: Dems Square off on Soldier Field


On Tuesday, seven Democratic presidential hopefuls face-off at the AFL-CIO forum at 7pm ET at Chicago's Soldier Field.

Each candidate will want to turn out a performance reminiscent of the deft moves of the late Walter Payton, the toughness of Dick Butkus and the flashy style of Jim McMahon. But they also want to avoid the spotty leadership, questionable decision-making and lack of big-game composure of Rex Grossman.

Confirmed attendees are: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Dennis Kucinich. (Who will announce themselves as the biggest Bears fan, Obama or Clinton?)

Only Mike Gravel is missing from the all Democrat line-up, because he did not submit the required AFL-CIO questionnaire.

Although it takes place in Chicago, it may not be a hometown crowd for Obama. Clinton and Edwards appear to have made more inroads with Big Labor this cycle. We'll be listening carefully to see if that still seems to be the case. (No, we don't expect Caroline Giuliani to form an Obama cheering section near the 40-yard line.)

The forum will be hosted by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, and will be broadcast live on MSNBC and XM radio. Organizers are expecting around 12,000 union members and their families in attendance.

The questions will come from Olbermann, the audience members and online submissions. The primary focus will, of course, be on economic issues, but not limited to that so expect Iraq and other policy issues to come up as well.

All seven candidates would love to leave (New) Soldier Field as the latest Monster of the Midway but don't expect any big announcement of an endorsement just yet.

The AFL-CIO's executive council is meeting over the next few days and will convene on Wednesday morning to discuss whether to move ahead with an endorsement.

What will come out of the meeting? That's a question mark right now, AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith told ABC News.

"We're going to have the executive council take this discussion on and see where the different unions are in their process now. And coming out of Wednesday we'll have a good sense in terms of what the next step will be," Smith said Monday.

The AFL-CIO executive council will decide whether it wants to convene its general board in the fall and endorse a candidate. The AFL-CIO has a very high threshold to meet before that can happen. A candidate must receive the support of two-thirds of the voting members of the general board.

There won't be an endorsement coming out of the Chicago sessions, Smith said, but the labor group will have a good idea of whether it will set that process in motion before the primaries or do more exploring of the candidates until then.

Elsewhere around the country…

Bill Richardson starts his day in Iowa, where he is set to unveil his plan for universal healthcare at a 2:30 ET speech to local firefighters, ABC News' Sarah Amos reports.  "My plan focuses on guaranteeing universal coverage, keeping down the cost of care for all, and improving care in general. My plan provides affordable health coverage choices to every American, without raising taxes," said the Governor in a statement released by the campaign. 

Bill Clinton gives the inaugural speech at the Clinton Presidential library as part of the Frank and Kula Kumpuris Lecture series.

Sam Brownback is celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and has no campaign events.

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