WASHINGTON -- John Kerry and John Edwards have the worst voting records among all U.S. senators on manufacturing issues in the past two years, the National Association of Manufacturers says.
One of the votes on the association's scorecard was on an amendment to block increases in fuel economy standards. The group's membership includes some automakers and suppliers.
The National Association of Manufacturers is legally barred from endorsing political candidates. It says
it didn't intend to pick on the Democratic nominees for president and vice president.
But when it tallied its scorecard for members of Congress in 2003-04, the group found that Kerry, D-Mass., never voted the right way - according to the association's thinking - on 23 Senate roll-call votes it monitored.
Edwards, D-N.C., got one vote right, the group says.
Kerry and Edwards "have plenty of company," says John Engler, the former Republican governor of Michigan who became president of the National Association of Manufacturers in September.
Engler cites 78 House members and five senators, including Kerry and Edwards, who voted "correctly" 10 percent or less of the time in the past two years. The association calls those lawmakers the "antimanufacturing caucus." It says 279 lawmakers - more than half of the members of Congress - voted the association position at least 70 percent of the time.
The emphasis on identifying opponents of manufacturing represents a turn toward a more militant posture for the association. Spokesman Darren McKinney says too many lawmakers "feign concern about manufacturing jobs and the health of the manufacturing sector" and then vote against those interests.
Kerry and Edwards often didn't vote the association way in 2003 and 2004 because they didn't vote at all. Spending many months on the campaign trail, Kerry missed 15 of the 23 association-monitored roll calls. He was the only senator to receive a score of zero percent from the group.
Edwards missed 10 of the roll calls and received an association score of 8 percent.
Kerry and Edwards were present more often in the 2001-02 session of Congress. But they also received association scores under 10 percent in those years, McKinney says.
The Kerry-Edwards campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
You may e-mail Harry Stoffer at