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Gerald McEntee

Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, was Wednesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On his view of the state of the labor movement:

"These are the most difficult, challenging times.... With [the Republicans' Nov. 2 election] victory, [labor is] much more in the bull's-eye."

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On reports that the Bush administration will launch a legislative push for new business-friendly regulations:

"[The president] has tele-graphed what he is going to do in many areas in his second term. None of this is worker-friendly-type regulation or proposed legislation.... I think we can stop some of them. I don't know that we can stop all of them."

On the administration's push for Social Security reform, partially through private accounts:

"[The president] has overplayed his hand. It is one of the rare errors and mistakes that they have made strategically in terms of the American people. I think they are failing on that. We are trying to help with their failure."

On strife within the AFL-CIO over the emphasis on its heavy involvement in political activity and on recruiting new members:

"This has probably been the most lively, spirited debate that we have had in the American labor movement in years and years. The [AFL-CIO] has been around for a long, long time. There have not been any substantial, discernable changes in the federation. It was about time that we looked at it."