Will unions help Clintons steal the prize?

Outside players, especially labor unions looking to help Sen. Hillary Clinton, poured more money into the presidential contest in the past week.

The independent spending, laid out in reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, show that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees spent more than $154,000 trying to deliver a surge of support for Clinton in Maryland. The union paid for phone calls aimed at getting Clinton supporters out to vote, and for mailers supporting her candidacy. The American Federation of Teachers also pushed Clinton's bid, with $79,800 worth of radio ads.

The other major purchase by an outside group came from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which spent $32,000 on radio ads airing in Virginia that attacked John McCain for his opposition to legal abortion. The ad plays a tape of McCain calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned -- a clip that would seem to help McCain in a Republican primary where his opponent has attacked his conservative credentials.

But this ad may have been posted with the general election in mind. Here's what Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a release posted on the group's web site. "Sen. McCain believes government has the right to interfere with the most personal and often the most difficult decisions affecting a woman's health," Richards said . "Most Americans believe just the opposite and, as more voters realize Sen. McCain's ardent anti-choice position, this will be an issue for him in the general election."


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