A prankster sent reporters a fake press release Tuesday night claiming that members of the powerful Service Employees International Union had voted to take back the group’s endorsement of President Barack Obama.
The release hit inboxes just before midnight bearing the name of SEIU spokesman Mark McCullough. It included a fake quote from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry that claimed Obama hadn't delivered enough change.
“Someone is playing a prank and using my email address,” the real McCullough told Talking Points Memo early this morning. He later issued a statement affirming the union's support for the president.
“We stand by our endorsement of President Obama as part of a broader ‘99 percent strategy’ to create good jobs now; and end devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and other critical programs and to require everyone to pay their fair share in taxes to invest in our country,” he said.
The union has 2.1 million members who work in the service industry and was one of the most coveted endorsements in the 2008 Democratic primary. Obama won over the group after a long period of courting by the candidates, especially Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards. Activists clad in the union’s signature purple T-shirts became fixtures in battleground states.
Andy Stern, the former president of SEIU, was a regular visitor at the White House for the first year of Obama’s presidency.