Politics

Democrat Caddell rips White House for obeisance to organized labor

Longtime Democratic strategist Pat Caddell on Wednesday blasted the Obama White House for creating “a world in which there is no dissent,” following his banishment from Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff’s campaign for Senate.

Caddell, in a phone interview with The Daily Caller, doubled down on the comments he made in November that he said public sector employee unions in Colorado used as leverage to get him tossed from the Romanoff campaign.

“What I said about Andy Stern and the SEIU? Sure, they’re thugs,” said Caddell, a former adviser to President Jimmy Carter, who until Monday* had an informal advising role with the primary challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

Caddell said he does not fault Romanoff, a former state House speaker, for cutting ties with him after his remarks from November — in which he called the Service Employee Union International (SEIU) “thugs” and said the goal of the environmental movement is to “deconstruct capitalism” — were made public.

But Caddell said the comments were pushed into the public spotlight by the state chapters of the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, who called on the Romanoff campaign to get rid of him or risk losing any chance of getting labor’s endorsement.

“The unions have been considering endorsing Romanoff, and basically they told him that if I was involved with the campaign, ‘sayonara,’ which I think is the definition of thuggery isn’t it?” said Caddell, who has worked for a who’s who of Democratic politicians over the last few decades, including Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, Mario Cuomo and Gary Hart.

Mike Cerbo, the executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said he called Romanoff after hearing of Caddell’s comments but denied applying pressure on the candidate to get rid of his adviser.

“There was no gauntlet thrown down,” Cerbo said. “I called Andrew just to express my displeasure. That was it. There were no threats or demands.”

The AFL-CIO has not yet endorsed a candidate in the Colorado primary, which is Aug. 10.

“We’ve got our political convention coming up in the late spring. And we’re moving forward with our process,” Cerbo said.

Romanoff spokesman Dean Toda said the candidate is still seeking the unions’ endorsements.

“They’re fine reputable unions. I’m sure Andrew would love to have their support,” Toda said.

The SEIU has not responded to requests for comment. Neither has the Bennet campaign.

Caddell’s larger point is that Obama has allowed the Democratic party to be run by special interests such as the SEIU, and that the White House itself has reinforced the idea that no disagreement with their policies or ideas can be expressed.

“What they have created is a world in which there is no dissent. Don’t look at me. Look at [Sen.] Evan Bayh. People, with some justification, may think that I’m crazy. But he is the center of the establishment if there was ever was someone,” Caddell said. “When there’s no room in the Democratic party for him and there’s no room in the Democratic party for me, and the unions do get to make those kinds of calls in defense of the indefensible, because, ‘We own you,’ well, the Democratic party will be finished.”