On Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats who may or may not run for president in 2016 spoke at a firefighters union gathering in Washington. But the two Democrats who addressed the crowd found their attempts to gain some national attention once again foiled by the specter of Hillary Clinton.
The International Association of Fire Fighters held its second presidential forum Tuesday since 2007, when John McCain, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden all addressed the union and made their pitches for the group's endorsement. At this forum, only Biden made a second appearance Monday night. Clinton was scheduled to appear but could not make it due to a conflicting speech at the United Nations' Women's Empowerment Principles meeting.
The timing of the IAFF forum could not have been better—or worse—for the union and the Democrats scheduled to speak to its members. On Monday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a right-to-work law, making Wisconsin the 25th state to essentially eliminate union dues. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is hoping to follow suit.
It seems like an ideally scheduled moment for former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and (to an extent) Sen. Bernie Sanders, who all spoke Tuesday, to make the case for themselves as the un-Hillary. Webb, who announced an exploratory committee for president in November, is so far the only Democrat to have made a concrete public step toward running in 2016, but Clinton, O'Malley, and Sanders are each expected to announce a run in the next few months.