The Note: A Bee to a Crying Face

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's name continues to be bandied about as a possible candidate for Texas governor, and Samantha Levine of the Houston Chronicle writes that GOP leaders may want her to avoid the race. Sen. Mitch McConnell said yesterday he would like Hutchinson to stay in the Senate and, "spend a long time with us." LINK

Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe wonders what Massachusetts Democrats have learned about how to position themselves. LINK

The AP reports that Florida's chief financial officer, Tom Gallagher, is expected to announce his gubernatorial bid -- his third -- today. LINK

Lee Bandy of The State wonders whether Gov. Mark Sanford, even though his poll numbers are up, can prevail when his legislation keeps getting blocked by the state legislature. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' John Balzar reports that Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown will spend his honeymoon after his June 18 wedding campaigning for attorney general. LINK

House of Labor:

AFL-CIO president John Sweeney told supporters Tuesday he would challenge his leading critics more aggressively amid concerns that his so far unopposed bid for re-election is close to attracting a challenger and is dividing the labor movement.

Participants at the early morning meeting included Sweeney, R. Thomas Buffenbarger, the president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Gerald McEntee of AFSCME; Ed McElroy of the American Federation of Teachers; and Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

The main purpose of the meeting was for Sweeney to inform these presidents about his proposals and solicit their feedback.

This account is based on interviews with numerous well-placed labor sources from different unions and the AFL-CIO who insisted their names not be used in order to speak freely about a sensitive subject.

Schaitberger's presence indicates that Sweeney still considers him a confidant, even though last week Schaitberger publicly questioned Sweeney's leadership and resigned from a key AFL-CIO coordinating committee. That move led the presidents of several anti-Sweeney unions to hope that Schaitberger would publicly defect and renounce his endorsement of Sweeney's re-election.

According to three sources from different unions who were updated by participants, Sweeney's allies were told that he would more directly rebut the public pronouncements of SEIU president Andrew Stern and his allies, and present a case that the current leadership of the AFL-CIO is committed to revamping the organization.

Sweeney's most ardent backers have tried to stall Stern's crusade by associating his ideas, which they think many in the labor movement believe are sensible, with his personality, which they view as radioactive. But Teamster President James Hoffa, an almost universally admired figure in the movement, has become a prime mover of AFL-CIO change and Stern is happy to play the role of being one among many, according to several of his associates. Some union presidents want to isolate Stern from his cause and his allies by portraying him as self-centered and uninterested in compromise.

By contrast, Sweeney's opponents hope that that he has fundamentally undermined his campaign by failing to include union presidents as co-signers for his own proposal and by making an executive decision that might alienate building trades unions.

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