St. Louis Public Radio News
3:34 pm
Tue August 31, 2010

Carnahan rips Blunt in speech to friendly crowd

St. Louis – An energized Robin Carnahan urged Missouri labor families to knock on doors and speak to their colleagues at work as she enters the final nine weeks before the general election.

AFL-CIO Missouri president Hugh McVey introduced Carnahan, the secretary of state, as the candidate who is going to "kick Roy Blunt's ass." And Carnahan delivered her standard stump speech with some red meat for the unions, as she promised to eliminate tax breaks that end up rewarding companies for sending jobs overseas.

She also skewered Blunt, her Republican opponent, as a creature of Washington who would do nothing to help working families.

"How much longer does he need to stick it to us," Carnahan asked, drawing the first of several rounds of applause, and an "'atta girl" from McVey. "How much longer can we put up with losing jobs, how much longer can we wait for his jobs plans to kick in, how much longer can we put up with him taking care of his cronies and his supporters and not the rest of us? Here's what I say - not a minute longer."

The race in Missouri is an uphill one for Carnahan. Every poll done this year has had Roy Blunt ahead, by an average of seven points. And the latest campaign finance reports show Blunt with a monetary advantage as well. Democrats are also battling an enthusiasm gap.

So Carnahan took the opportunity during her speech Tuesday to ask union members to step up their outreach.

"You can tell the story, you can get those absentee forms filled out, you can make sure that it's not just an eh, it's not that big of a deal this year," she said. "Because we know that it is."

AFL-CIO national political director Karen Ackerman said the union will try to contact every one of its members at least 25 times in the next nine weeks. Robert Soutier, the president of the St. Louis Labor Council, will lead that effort in the area.

"I'm not sensing an enthusiasm gap. We've had this fever pitch all along, we know what's right and what's wrong," Soutier said. "What's wrong with this country is the Roy Blunts of the world. What's right are the Robin Carnahan's of the world."

Union members vote for the endorsed candidates 80 percent of the time if they have enough information, Soutier said. There are 439,000 members in Missouri.