Before dropping out, Chambliss had mixed feelings about running again

The first serious indication I got from Sen. Saxby Chambliss that he wasn’t planning to run for re-election next year came two weeks ago, during an interview at his local office in Cobb County. I put some of it in my write-up of the meeting, and I could have written a whole column about his mixed feelings about running for a third term in the Senate. But I had to balance space considerations (that piece was for the print edition of the AJC) and interest in what the “Gang of Six” member had to say about the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, etc., so I kept the re-election talk in my column limited and placed at the end. Plus, he gave me no reason to believe he’d announce his intentions for 2014 so soon.

Looking back, and in light of his statement today that he’s leaving due in largest part to “frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress,” I thought I’d publish his entire remarks about whether he’d run and how he’d arrive at the decision:

ON WHETHER HE’S GOING TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION:

What I’m doing right now, what I do at the end or beginning of every election cycle, we’re evaluating where we are and what our goals are. And the difference … this is an eight-year decision for me. It’s two years plus six years. That’s a lot different form a two-year decision. And if I thought the next eight years were going to be filled with contentious debates and the wrong way to govern that we have just gone through in the last two months, it would have a significant impact on my decision. But yeah, right now my plans are to run.

We’re in good shape financially from a campaign standpoint. Got a lot more money to raise, but we’ll do that. …

First of all, I’ve never backed off from a fight. And I’ve never backed off from my principles of trying to solve problems. Anytime you do that, then you’re going to create controversy. You can’t govern in the way you have to govern under our Constitution without antagonizing or making folks unhappy with you. I don’t worry about that. Obviously I’d love to have everybody happy with me, but I could go up and vote no on everything and you wouldn’t see the opposition activity that is stirring around out there now. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do what I think’s right for the country. When I voted for TARP in ‘08, it was the right thing to do. And people are still upset about that. But what they fail to realize is what both Johnny [Isakson] and I said when we voted for it: In the long run, this will not only settle down the financial community, but we’ll [the government] make money. And we’ve made money on TARP. It was kind of a no-brainer back then. And as things have gone forward from that on the other issues that folks have gotten upset about, it was the right thing to do.

So I don’t worry about that — well, I say I don’t worry about that: Obviously you always worry about your political future. But the thing that’s really been encouraging to me, with all the activity stirring around, I have people now instead of stopping me in the grocery store and saying, ‘Let me tell you about my problem,’ they stop me wherever I am and say, ‘Look, we’re reading all this stuff, just know we’ve got your back — those of us who are by far the majority are behind you and appreciate what you’re doing, we just don’t talk to the press or pick up the phone and call you.’

And on the fiscal cliff issue, it’s pretty easy to tell when somebody calls your office whether it’s been generated by an email or something because they’ll reading a script. And by far, the negative comments we got, folks were reading a script.

So, when you take it all into account — I mean, I’m flying back to D.C., I [went] back last week, I had six people stop me in the airport who just, I didn’t know any one of ‘em. But they just came over and said, ‘Look, we just want you to know we appreciate your vote the other day, we appreciate what you’re doing.’ You know, that just doesn’t happen regularly. [Earlier that week] at Lillian Lewis’s funeral, I had five or six people come up and say the same thing. And I’ve had offers of fund raisers from around the country, as well as around the state, from folks, some of whom had never supported me before, because they appreciate doing the right thing. So at the end of the day, we’ll be fine. But we’re going to think things through like we always do, but I think I know what the answer is.

ON WHETHER GRIDLOCK IN WASHINGTON WOULD BE ENOUGH TO MAKE HIM LEAVE:

This’ll be, what, I just concluded 18 years. And when I first got elected to Congress, we were in that wave of Republicans that took over the House, took over the Senate, those were fun times. [Newt] Gingrich was our leader, he had good ideas, we really passed good positive legislation. Sometimes it got done, sometimes it didn’t, although out of the Contract with America, I think we got seven out of the 10 provisions passed. Those were fun times. The time we went through at the end of the year, and really leading up to that — I’ve been working on this fiscal crisis now for two and a half years. And the bumps in the road we’ve run into … in the past couple of months wasn’t as much fun as what it was in ‘95, ‘96 and going forward.

You want to look forward to getting up and going to work in the morning. I really looked forward, in those early years, to getting up and going to work. Sometimes now I think, gosh, we got to get up, we got to face this fiscal battle again tomorrow.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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358 comments Add your comment

Conservative Republican

January 25th, 2013
3:38 pm

People want to know why there’s no compromise in Washington. Why no one is getting anything done. This is what happens when Rs try to work with Ds.

I am a conservative Republican, but I wish Saxby would run again. I would vote for him. I would vote for him over Price and I am in Price’s district.

I think the phrase is “work horse over show horse”.

Steve Dunbar

January 25th, 2013
3:47 pm

Kyle’s column and the response to it by the right-wing nuts sure put the nail in the coffin.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 25th, 2013
3:47 pm

Looks like he got tired of all the ceilings and cliffs, like most every other decent thinking person has.

Pizzaman

January 25th, 2013
3:50 pm

Ole Sax ain’t no dummy. He wants one of those GBP jobs before their all gone!

Skip

January 25th, 2013
3:55 pm

It’s not supposed to be fun Sax, that’s why they call it work.Those three day weeks wear you down?

Dusty

January 25th, 2013
4:14 pm

Even the warriors get tired of fighting with the mudhens.

Conservative Republican @ 3:38 is correct. “work horse over show horse”.referring to Saxby..

As our Dem responders show here, they don’t know much about “work.”

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 25th, 2013
4:26 pm

NDAA voting traitor.
And he knows it.
.
TLTDKYAOTWO.

getalife

January 25th, 2013
4:32 pm

The newt said the gop need to pretend to be happy.

Jindal just told the truth for once.

Web site to replace departments.

This fixing the gop thingie is hilarious.

getalife

January 25th, 2013
4:34 pm

Immigration is next.

Good luck with that.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 25th, 2013
4:40 pm

Mr. Obama received 66 million votes in 2012—but four years earlier he recieved 69.5 million.

His support went down, not up.

Good luck with that.

Hillbilly D

January 25th, 2013
4:43 pm

Politico

January 25th, 2013
4:45 pm

“Mr. Obama received 66 million votes in 2012—but four years earlier he recieved 69.5 million.

His support went down, not up.

Good luck with that.”

And despite the projections for months leading up to the election all that added up to was another Electoral College BLOW OUT and the 1st President since 56 to have at least 51% two times.

But do blather on

Jefferson

January 25th, 2013
4:54 pm

As always when a politician hollars for “leadership” they are full of crap as the won’t follow the lead.

Politico

January 25th, 2013
4:55 pm

Hillbilly

Obama administration has sent home a lot of them, despite the two year amnesty program or whatever they call it.

I doubt anyone is ever going to send them all home and Romney’s “self deportation” comments were, well I will leave it alone.

Time to do a better job sealing the border. No President has seemed to be that serious on that issue and get the one’s here a “work visa” so they can be pay taxes. Fine businesses who use them, enforce that better if possible and move on

Heck, even in many right leaning circles this wasn’t that big of a deal until the economy went south. Some of the same one’s saying send them all home were probably a direct or indirect recipient of their lower labor costs to some degree or another.

As long as there is a demand, they will keep coming. And it is US business who has created the largest demand.

No different than drugs. As long as many in the US want to smoke dope, do coke and other drugs, someone will get them here.

Supply and demand………

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 25th, 2013
5:02 pm

You’ve already heard the liberals twisting up what Bobby Jindal had to say, and I was going to post a bunch of excerpts from it to show the truth, but he summed it up very nicely for me with things I have been saying for a long time -

America already has one liberal party, she doesn’t need another one.

If you believe in higher taxes, more debt, more government spending, weakness abroad, and taking guns from law-abiding citizens – you already have a party that is well represented in Washington.

Game on.

@@

January 25th, 2013
5:02 pm

Looks like Chambliss worries about all the wrong things.

He seems to have a lot of imaginary friends too.

I’ve yet to meet a politician who wasn’t into tootin’ his own horn.

Just Saying..

January 25th, 2013
5:07 pm

“First of all, I’ve never backed off from a fight”

other than Vietnam, I mean…

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 25th, 2013
5:09 pm

politico – The first “president” in history to be re elected with less votes than his first term.

What a hero, what a champion. Perfect for you liberals.

Any retrospective and thoughtful person would be asking “what did I do wrong,” and try to correct it. But I know you proggies, you put the pedal to the metal and turn off even more voters in the future.

And we appreciate it.

md

January 25th, 2013
5:11 pm

“As long as there is a demand, they will keep coming”

Granting the first amnesty and contemplating the second amnesty doesn’t help either. After we do the second one, does any sane individual ever think we would get serious about the issue? Shoot no, the precedent has been set so may as well say we have no laws because we sure as heck don’t ever plan to enforce them. A 3rd grader should be able to figure that one out…….

Politico

January 25th, 2013
5:12 pm

“you put the pedal to the metal and turn off even more voters in the future. ”

And after your grand predictions, keep up the great work

bewhahahahahahahah

getalife

January 25th, 2013
5:15 pm

Don’t change a thing cons because you hate change.

The gop should stay the course and ignore Jindal and the others trying to change your party..

Hillbilly D

January 25th, 2013
5:15 pm

Politico @ 4:55

I’ve said many times that both sides were/are playing a wink, wink, nudge, nudge game.

Democrats see them as future votes and Republicans see them as cheap labor, and that’s why nothing has or really will be done about it.

It’s been about 15-20 years ago but there was a poultry plant in Gainesville, where an immigration raid was conducted. The place had 300 or so employees and it was found to have 10 or so employees using the same ID papers. You can easily guess what happened. The employees were rounded up, the company said they had no idea this was going on and that was the end of it. There was a lot of looking the other way in Gainesville and Dalton for a very long time.

We’ve heard a lot about “creating” temporary work visas for farm workers. There’s already a program for that, H-2A. A lot of the employers are opposed to that because the rules and regulations cost more than they want to spend. They want less expensive regulations, which coincidentally, offer less protection from abuse for the workers.

Couple that with all the stuff going on in H-1B, where workers are brought in because qualified people can’t be found here (translation: people here are qualified want more money). It’s basically a way to bypass the laws of supply and demand that business people claim to love.

In short, it’s a damn mess and it’s going to stay a damn mess, as long as people are making money from the status quo.

Politico

January 25th, 2013
5:18 pm

md

Better to get those working paying taxes because Romney’s “self deportation” program was about as stupid as any mentioned by anyone in either party.

As long as US business will hire, and they are still doing it, the demand will be met. “Even a grader should be able to figure that out…”

You are a fool if you think there is going to be any sort of mass deportation of however many million illegals. Biggest thing slowing down immigration now is the economy not any laws enacted on the state or Fed level.

But of course this is coming from the guy who was giddy and hoping the voting issue with West in FL was a valid story. Just saying

Politico

January 25th, 2013
5:19 pm

“In short, it’s a damn mess and it’s going to stay a damn mess, as long as people are making money from the status quo.”

Agreed.

Just Saying..

January 25th, 2013
5:35 pm

Cons, you can spin this any way you like, but the fact is the Party throws away a near certain win, with three term seniority, for first term (Mack Mattingly, anyone?) replacement, at longer odds.

Or, the same decision making that resulted in:
-loss of the White House
-fewer seats in the Senate
-fewer seats in the House

But if the actual intent is to please the opposition Party…

Mission Accomplished.

Michael H. Smith

January 25th, 2013
5:50 pm

The cons don’t have to spin it lib. You fascist-socialist still lost control of the House last election and you will not win the U.S. Senate seat from Georgia the next time around.

Booowhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaa, brucie! :lol:

md

January 25th, 2013
5:55 pm

“You are a fool if you think there is going to be any sort of mass deportation of however many million illegals. Biggest thing slowing down immigration now is the economy not any laws enacted on the state or Fed level. ”

Fool? From the guy that didn’t read what I wrote?

What part of “after the second amnesty” did you not understand?

I have no doubt the powers that be will end up granting amnesty #2……which will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem in the long term.

Amnesty #1 did nothing but INCREASE the number of illegals heading our way, a fool would be one that thinks amnesty #2 wouldn’t do the same…….

Just Saying..

January 25th, 2013
6:03 pm

“You fascist-socialist…”

The name calling is working so well.
Please don’t stop…

Michael H. Smith

January 25th, 2013
6:03 pm

Don’t look now but the bad economy of 2009 – 2012 deported millions of illegal aliens. :lol:

Michael H. Smith

January 25th, 2013
6:06 pm

Shoe fits wear it. It works for this con. Oh and I don’t mind my label.

Obviously you do, as it rightly reveals the bad contents.

Politico

January 25th, 2013
6:11 pm

md

Except for on a state level and only within the last few years (see downturn in economy and coinciding new state laws), the Republicans haven’t done much more than the Democrats on the federal level regarding immigration. You have made a choice to continue to vote for them or at least most of them, knowing that they have collectively (not all individually) decided to turn their head for the most part. You made those choices, hence you are part of the problem.

Your program did a great job of instilling the “choices” concept in you. Know it is a double edge sword, so you might want to look in the mirror as much as you like to spread that “choice gospel” to others.

And yes, if you think millions of illegals are going to be sent home by either party, you are a fool.

But do have a great weekend

Michael H. Smith

January 25th, 2013
6:14 pm

Just Saying..

January 25th, 2013
6:15 pm

“Oh and I don’t mind my label….as it rightly reveals the bad contents.”

Something we can all agree on…

md

January 25th, 2013
6:18 pm

“And yes, if you think millions of illegals are going to be sent home by either party, you are a fool. ”

That must be rattling around in YOUR head as I haven’t said anything about it…….

As for choices……you are a bit silly equating them with agreeing with all of what any candidate represents, but I don’t expect much less from you.

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

January 25th, 2013
6:19 pm

Rubio has a decent approach to immigration reform, but it is not going anywhere. The Dems will not allow his program to go through, would benefit the GOP too much. The Dems are in control and they do not want to hear any ideas, even those that are better than theirs, coming from the GOP.

Why should the Dems fix the immigration problem, it helps them every election, the same as the Soc Sec and Medicare problem. Its easier to create fear about the GOP proposed solutions, than defend their own lousy record.

Michael H. Smith

January 25th, 2013
6:20 pm

Someone has a problem connecting the dots that led up to the housing bubble and exactly who, or what parties – yeah, that right, “both political parties” – that blew up that economic balloon, which eventually led to the busted economy that cause millions of illegal aliens to leave or “self-deport” as it truly were?

Made my weekend…

Politico

January 25th, 2013
6:21 pm

choices md, choices

You are part of the problem, you whine and cry about.

Accept and live with it as long as you make those choices.

Glorianna

January 25th, 2013
6:21 pm

Senator, I am so sorry to see you go. I was a Regan Republican, but when I saw the religious right moving in I knew we were in trouble. That group was nothing compared to the Tea Party infusion. I have voted Democrat in elections since Regan. I want the Republican party to be a viable party. We are based on the two party system. I don’t agree with all your positions, but I do respect your willingness to work across the aisle and not follow the Grover Norquist party. Your party needs more like you, not less. Thank you for your service.

Michael H. Smith

January 25th, 2013
6:22 pm

Rubio has a decent approach to immigration reform, but it is not going anywhere.

His is the one most of us “cons” support. It still has possibilities.

Politico

January 25th, 2013
6:24 pm

MHS

If you are not man enough to refer to me and must say “someone”, that speaks volumes about you. If you were not, I apologize, however I was not blaming any party. Merely saying that the immigration issue has really heightened with the downturn of the economy.

If you can show where I or anyone on this thread blamed anyone party, please post it

Thought so, but do have a great weekend.

Tealiban Party

January 25th, 2013
6:43 pm

“We have to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults.”

You got that right Bobby Jindal…

Serious Robuck

January 25th, 2013
7:08 pm

Saxby says he’s never backed away from a fight. May I ask that he think back to the Viet Nam War. He has always been a coward to the core, and the fact that he’s represented us in the Senate for 12 years is a blight on Georgia. Unfortunately, the entire Republican delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, i.e. those most likely to run for his seat, are all profoundly worse than Saxby. God help us! We obviously can’t help ourselves.

Serious Robuck

January 25th, 2013
7:09 pm

Sonny Perdue? Right.

md

January 25th, 2013
7:16 pm

“Accept and live with it as long as you make those choices.”

I do, have no problem with it. I also understand if I don’t like it enough I can CHOOSE to run myself. I’m not there yet, I’ll just vote the lesser of two evils and continue to make the choices I need to to combat the powers that be.

I’m sure I’m not alone in choosing to save as much as possible right now vs spend, spend, spend…..but that may be just me. But considering the Obama economy is crawling at 1% growth I’m guessing there are a few others choosing the same plan.

md

January 25th, 2013
7:17 pm

And by the way, what exactly is it that you have against knowing that we choose everything we do?

Does that just blow your mind or something or just an inconvenient truth?

td

January 25th, 2013
7:19 pm

getalife

January 25th, 2013
5:15 pm

Don’t change a thing cons because you hate change.

The gop should stay the course and ignore Jindal and the others trying to change your party..

You do understand that Jindal was telling conservatives to stop playing on the progressive field of name calling and petty issues and get back to the superior conservative philosophy debate.

getalife

January 25th, 2013
7:23 pm

td,

Nice spin.

The gop will ignore reality.

Alpha dog

January 25th, 2013
7:26 pm

Never really liked Saxby but came to respect his common sense approach as his party became more radical. His statue as a statesman and representative of the people he swore to serve grew in comparison to his colleagues . The path to 2014 will be interesting for GA politicos

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

January 25th, 2013
7:36 pm

Senate for 12 years is a blight on Georgia.

So, Serious, to use your words, what about the blight in the WH, is that a blight on America?

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

January 25th, 2013
7:40 pm

getalife

Jindal was telling the GOP to quit using the 30 sec sound bites and scripted slogans, they only work on the low information Dem audience, that the GOP, independents, and smarter Dems want some meat in their stew. It was a slap at Romney for failing to provide details about the things he was proposing.