The Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO labor federation are spearheading another massive wave of anti-McCain—er, officially pro-Obama—outreach in battleground states.

SEIU says it has sent 75 percent of its staff to key states for a final push on undecided voters before the election. Busloads of volunteers are distributing flyers comparing Obama’s health care plan (favorably) to McCain’s, with more in the mail. And the union sent DVDs about the health care plans to 225,000 seniors, with follow-up phone calls “making sure they’re actually watching the DVD,” according to SEIU political director Jon Youngdahl. The DVDs went to Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa.

“Wer’e trying to reach further and go deeper than we ever had before,” said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.

SEIU says it’s just bought $1 million of air time in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for an ad featuring two women in a grocery store chatting about health care bills. “And get this,” one of them says. “McCain wants to start taxing our benefits.”

Says the other, “Maybe you should send him your bills.”

The AFL-CIO, meanwhile, is blasting out a web video via email to hundreds of thousands of voters. The video questions McCain’s principles and maverick image. It coins a new slogan for anti-McCain forces: “John McCain: Straight talk—from both sides of his mouth.”

Working America, the AFL-CIO’s affiliate for non-union workers, is sending out 1 million new mailers to battleground states and plans to canvass 100,000 members per week until election day. The mailer calls McCain “An Economic Disaster for the Middle Class,” and says he “spent years helping Wall Street fat cats break the rules.”

Click on the image to see the mailer:


Will all this hard-hitting talk on McCain’s health care and economic policies cut through the din of personal attacks perpetrated by the candidates’ campaigns? SEIU’s Burger says, “Voters really want to know about the issues.” By the time the unions are done, voters will be inundated with partisan talking points, whether they want it or not.

This originally appeared on The Secret Money Project Blog, a joint project of CIR and National Public Radio tracking the hidden cash in the 2008 election.

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Will Evans is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting has prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations have exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.