Sneak Peek: Countdown to Kickoff: Dem Forum


In just a couple of hours, seven Democratic candidates will line up on the 10-yard line at Chicago's Soldier Field in the AFL-CIO forum. Each candidate is looking to make an impression that will put them closer to that seemingly elusive AFL-CIO consensus endorsement before the primary season voting begins.

Things we expect to hear tonight from… Hillary Clinton: "I believe we can support and promote smart trade policies that truly enforce strong labor and environmental standards."

(And "Sweet Home Chicago"?)

John Edwards, son of a mill worker: "Trade has become a bad word for working Americans for a simple reason - our trade policies have been bad for working Americans."

Barack Obama: ". . . And this is why I voted against CAFTA and why I believe NAFTA needs to be renegotiated."

(And maybe another "Sweet Home Chicago"?)

Things we don't expect to hear tonight from… Clinton: "It's been great being with you all. I gotta run to make it to a fundraiser with a lobbyist."

Edwards: "I can't become black. I can't become a woman." (He'll just leave that to his wife)

Obama: "Hillary would be my gal if I wasn't running."

Obama will leave Chicago and head to Oakland Calif to continue to show his labor love by participating in the SEIU "Walk a Day in My Shoes" program. The senator will have breakfast at the home of SEIU member and home health care worker Pauline Beck and then assist as she cares for her 86-year-old client in his home.

There will be a 1:00 pm ET media avail at the Oakland Airport Hilton. Obama is the fourth '08er to accept the SEIU's challenge. Dodd, Edwards and Richardson are the others.

On the Republican side, with just three days remaining until the Iowa Straw Poll…

It's full speed ahead for Mitt Romney in Iowa. He has events in Bettendorf, Wilton, Moscow, Coralville, Amana and Cedar Rapids.

John McCain is in New York for a fundraiser in West Islip.

Mike Huckabee spends another day campaigning in Iowa with four meet and greets in Spencer (11:00 am ET), Algona (1:00 pm ET), Boone (4:00 pm ET), and West Des Moines (7:00 pm ET).

Let's take a ride on our Wayback Marchine – "'If after the Iowa straw poll. . . I'm still in the second or third tier, then I've got a problem,' said Huckabee referring to the Iowa Republican Party straw poll scheduled to take place in Ames, IA on Aug. 11 which Huckabee predicted will be the first real "breakaway" event of the 2008 GOP contest," per ABC News.

(On cable TV today, Gov. Huckabee set expectations somewhat lower when talking about his organizations in New Hampshire and South Carolina and the likelihood that he will continue on with his campaign irrespective of the straw poll results.)

Ron Paul attends Iowa meet and greets in at 1:00 pm ET in Creston and at 7:30 pm ET in Oskaloosa.

As for the Democrats... Hillary Clinton is in New Hampshire for a 2:30 pm ET major policy address at the Rochester Opera House.

John Edwards has no public schedule.

Bill Richardson holds several "Job Interview" events in New Hampshire in Berlin (3:00 pm ET), Groveton (5:00 pm ET), and Whitefield (6:45).

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