WASHINGTON — The nation's largest labor organization mailed 600,000 fliers to swing union voters in four states Tuesday in an effort to help Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama correct some of the most persistent rumors about him.
The AFL-CIO wants union voters to know that the Illinois senator was born in the U.S., occasionally wears a flag pin, puts his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and is not a Muslim. The flier shows him being sworn into the Senate with a family Bible and not the Quran, as rumored.
The fliers will begin showing up in mailboxes in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin later this week.
Union voters usually are reliable Democratic supporters, and the AFL-CIO expects one in every four voters going to the polls on Nov. 4 to be from a union household. The AFL-CIO has 10.5 million members, and its leaders say getting the truth out about Obama can only help his campaign.
Obama's campaign has been fighting false rumors circulating on the Internet about his Islamic ties, partly because his middle name is Hussein, both his father and stepfather were Muslim and he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a largely Muslim country.
The campaign recently launched a Web site to debunk rumors about the candidate and his wife, Michelle.
"We felt it was important to set the record straight," AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith said.
The AFL-CIO endorsed Obama last month, freeing the organization and its 56 unions to spend some of its $200 million war chest on his campaign.
The labor organization has been campaigning against Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain, but now will start promoting Obama's candidacy.
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