ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: “What happens in Vegas is not going to stay in Vegas anymore,” Sen. Barack Obama shouted upon receiving the endorsement of the Nevada Culinary Union in Las Vegas. "Everybody is going to know the power of the united people.”
Amid shouts of “Si Se Puede,” the “Yes We Can” Obama catchphrase translated into Spanish, Obama promised the local union that their struggle would be one that he’ll fight for in the White House and also one he’s been fighting for years.
“We have walked in your shoes,” Obama told the crowd, telling the story how he and his wife racked up thousands of dollars of debt. “I don’t come from money, I don’t come form a lot of privilege. … When I see a single mom somewhere trying to raise her children, I know what that’s like. … When I see people at the end of the month saying, ‘We don’t have enough.’ … I’ve been there.”
Obama told union members wearing red “Culinary Workers for Obama” t-shirts that his background working as a community organizer in Chicago allowed him to relate to their fight.
“I spent three-and-a-half years doing what the men and women of Local 226 are doing today, and that is organizing and working and fighting to keep the American dream alive for all people.”
Obama recalled how, when he arrived in Chicago, he was getting paid $12,000 a year, was driving a beat-up car, had a tiny beat-up apartment, and was wearing “raggedy beat-up clothes, got holes in the shoes, holes in my car. Ya’ll been there. You know what I’m talking about,” he said as the crowd nodded and applauded.
Obama said his background and personal struggle led him to fight for union rights in the past.
“I was walking in the picket lines, fighting for you,” he said, referencing his participation in the union protest in Chicago at the Congress Hotel.
Promising that when he is in the White House he’d continue supporting the struggle of local unions, Obama said, “We are going to take this message and take it to every corner of the nation, make sure that workers in every union have the rights and opportunities that you have fought so hard for.”
The endorsement of the 60,000-strong culinary union could give Obama an edge in the Nevada caucus, which is just over one week away.