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McCain in California

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Senator McCain is visiting California for three days for the first time since he locked up the Republican nomination. While in the Golden State, The Man hosted a town hall meeting for military families in Chula Vista on Monday, will host a roundtable event for Hispanic small-business owners in Orange County on Tuesday, and will deliver a policy speech to the Los Angeles Foreign Affairs Council on Wednesday. Interspersed, of course, are scheduled fundraising events. At Monday's town hall meeting, he was greeted by picketers protesting his economic policies. Who would protest McCain's economic policies, you ask? Labor unions.

The AFL-CIO has committed a record $53.4-million dollars to the 2008 presidential election. So which Democrat Party candidate did it endorse? Well, actually, it hasn't endorsed one yet (but a majority of its 56 member affiliates have endorsed Clinton). The record $53.4 is being used on an anti-McCain campaign, outlined on its intense anti-McCain website, and includes establishing and supporting a grassroots effort to picket McCain's events. Witness Monday's town hall event in Chula Vista.

This picketing tactic may be troublesome for most presidential candidates, but McCain is not the typical presidential candidate. McCain has committed to hold town hall meetings through to the general election, just one sign of his maverick personality that is not afraid of confrontation. These intimate events have the potential not only for an honest conversation, but also, heaven forbid, for disagreement and confrontation; large, impersonal political rallies they are not. Clearly, The Man is not afraid of confrontation and, were the picketers not so publicly chiding him, they (and the AFL-CIO) may have been welcomed to an honest conversation about The Man's economic policies. Instead, the AFL-CIO seems to be burning the bridge to the most moderate Republican it has seen and may see in quite a while.

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