When Central Atlanta Progress called political figures, academics and business leaders together last week to brainstorm about ways to improve Georgia’s position in the Southeast, organizers were disappointed the two top gubernatorial candidates phoned in rather than drove down.
CAP’s GeorgiaForward Forum was held at Macon State College. Organizers told the Macon Telegraph they tried their best to get Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal to show up in person. A Barnes aided said the former governor was at a political event. Deal’s camp said he had meetings and that he had to serve on a National Federation of Independent Businesses panel. This is from the Telegraph’s repor:
Both candidates were invited to attend but ended up being interviewed by Georgia Public Broadcasting anchor Rickey Bevington, who asked each candidate the same set of questions. By not being present, however, none of the attendees were able to follow up on comments either candidate made.
Deal, for example, said the toughest thing about being governor would be to turn down the requests of his friends, something that might have been interesting for media to follow up with considering he was facing possible ethics charges before resigning from Congress earlier this year.
Both candidates also brought unintentional moments of humor. Deal, the Republican, called the teleconference back a few minutes after his session, not recognizing the number on caller ID and asking the room full of attendees who had just called him.
Barnes, the Democrat, talking on his cell phone while on the road, couldn’t hear Bevington correctly when she asked him how he would define leadership. Barnes heard the question as how he would “find” leadership.