WASHINGTON -- The International Association of Fire Fighters union has distributed a video to its members that compiles several damaging comments Mitt Romney has made about firefighters and other public employees, claiming the GOP presidential nominee would make for "the most anti-worker president firefighters have faced."
In the video, entitled "Mitt Romney In His Own Words," IAFF President Harold A. Schaitberger calls Romney "one of the leaders of the attacks on firefighters and paramedics this election." The video goes on to show Romney at campaign rallies and in interviews making comments on public-sector employees and budget cuts that would offend many of the nation's firefighters.
In one clip, taken from a campaign event in June, Romney blasts Obama for his remarks that the economy's private sector was "doing fine," while tacitly endorsing the rollback of collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers in Wisconsin. "He said we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers," Romney says of the president. "Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?"
In another clip that also made waves in June, Romney states falsely that firefighters don't receive federal funding. "The federal government doesn’t pay for firefighters or policemen, so that’s completely absurd," he said.
In fact, as the video notes, local fire departments rely on the federal government's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, which help departments avoid layoffs and boost staffing. Firefighters, cops and teachers on the whole receive billions of dollars in federal funding.
The IAFF is generally considered one of the more bipartisan unions, with a heavy contingent of Republican voters, although the union could not provide a breakdown of its membership's political leanings. Like organized labor more generally, however, the union has thrown its weight behind the Obama-Biden ticket, which it endorsed in June.