Brianna McKay, an Ohio Education Association representative, after giving out “Educators for Obama” shirts at a rally last week in Columbus. Labor helped Barack Obama win Ohio in 2008.
By MONICA DAVEY and STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: September 3, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio — From a line of cubicles inside a union headquarters here, phone-bank volunteers hunched over laptop computers, improvising into their headsets their own versions of an anti-Mitt Romney script, which asserted that he had played a role in factories that closed, wages that dropped, workers who were fired.
“I know, I know — it gets maddening sometimes with all the ads out there,” Travis Long, a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers, replied to a disenchanted voter on the line, then pressed on with the script and waited for his computer to dial another home.
As unions around the nation plunge in earnest into another election season of phone banks, door-to-door canvasses and leafleting, they find themselves confronting a political landscape that is more daunting than any they have faced in decades.
Conservative “super PACs,” financed with unlimited donations from corporations and wealthy individuals, have saturated Ohio and other battleground states with ads against President Obama. Whether the labor movement and its vaunted ground game can counterbalance this flood of money and media is a question that few political observers can answer. But many believe that how this matchup plays out could determine who wins several crucial battleground states, including this one.