Archive for April, 2009

Newt Gingrich defends Michael Steele from ‘precious’ and rebellious RNC members

It appears that we have a palace rebellion brewing within the upper reaches of the Republican party And that former House speaker Newt Gingrich is among those trying to tamp it down.

This from today’s Washington Post:

A group of Republican National Committee members is circulating a resolution that would limit how much Chairman Michael S. Steele could spend without authorization from other party leaders, a move some Steele backers say is an attempt to limit the authority of the sometimes controversial chairman.

Steele supporters are privately calling the move, first reported by the Washington Times, a “power grab.”

On C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” this morning, Gingrich said the description was accurate — and defended Steele against what the former Georgia congressman described as a group of “precious,” self-centered elitists.

Here’s the clip:

Asked if the group was attempting to curb Steele’s authority, Gingrich said:

”That’s probably right. I what you have is — Steele is a …

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Memo: Barnes candidacy would ‘only enhance’ Democratic chances in Georgia

A memo of uncertain origins has fallen into our hands, mapping out prospects for Democratic governors this year and next.

The Democratic Governors Association tells us it is not an official DGA document — but that the memo does track closely with the content of a conference call that occurred this week between DGA officialdom and allies/donors.

The entire memo, obviously written for fund-raising purposes, can be found here. But this is the carefully worded portion that has raised eyebrows in Georgia, especially among Democratic gubernatorial candidates who aren’t named Roy:

Georgia, Florida, and South Dakota are three states we may be able to put into play depending on our candidate recruitment successes.

In Florida, Governor Charlie Crist looks more and more like a Senate candidate every day and is expected to announce his decision late next week.

In Georgia last week, Republican LG Casey Cagle, long seen as the GOP frontrunner, suddenly dropped out of the race. This race …

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Jack Kingston on the GOP race for governor: ‘It’s a catfight.’

Congressional Quarterly has joined the chorus of those — present company included — who say a Nathan Deal bid for governor is inevitable.

CQ had a quick word from the congressman himself, who’s expected to announce Friday:

“People across the state were looking for someone… And I had to put it into consideration,” Deal said.

But the best stuff came from his Georgia colleagues in the U.S. House:

Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland said Wednesday that Deal has made his plans known to the delegation and has received a “very, very, very, very good reception” from Georgia Republicans.

“We’re excited” about his announcement, Westmoreland said.
Deal said he had yet to form a committee so his status in the race, exploratory or otherwise, is not yet official.

It doesn’t appear there will be a consensus within the delegation. Republican Rep. Jack Kingston said he is supporting state Sen. Eric Johnson, who is the godfather of Kingston’s son.

“It’s a catfight,” Kingston said of the GOP …

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Elizabeth Edwards on her husband’s affair

This in today’s New York Daily News:

Elizabeth Edwards/Associated Press

Elizabeth Edwards/Associated Press

Campaign cad John Edwards’ cheating ways made his wife, Elizabeth, sick to her stomach — literally.

After the former presidential hopeful confessed his betrayal, Elizabeth Edwards writes in her new book, “I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up.”

Elizabeth, 59, who is terminally ill with cancer, speaks in far more detail than before about her husband’s infidelity in her new memoir, “Resilience,” due to be published May 12 by Broadway Books. A copy was obtained by the Daily News….

Edwards admitted the hanky-panky to her days after declaring his candidacy in 2006 – almost a year before the National Enquirer reported it.

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Your morning jolt: Johnny Isakson’s homebuyer tax credit again stripped away

Spurned again.

For the second time this year, a $15,000 tax credit for homebuyers backed by Johnny Iskason made it into a Senate bill — only to be eliminated by a House-Senate conference committee.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Kimberly Smith/ksmith@ajc.com

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Kimberly Smith/ksmith@ajc.com

“I would like to thank the Senate for its wisdom in adopting the $15,000 credit, express my deep disappointment in the conference committee for dropping it and encourage our president and the leadership of our country to give a second thought to what this credit could do,” Isakson said after it happened late Wednesday.

In February, Isakson was able to insert the tax credit provision into a $787 billion stimulus bill (which the senator voted against). The tax credit was removed during House-Senate negotiations as too expensive.

This month, the Senate again approved the Isakson amendment, attaching it to the $3.56 trillion budget resolution. Isakson again voted against the main bill, which passed 53 to 43. Final passage by …

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Pushback on the F-22 begins, to protect U.S. ‘air hegemony’

Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard just posted this:

The Weekly Standard has obtained a letter now circulating among members of the Senate and calling for Secretary Gates to maintain production lines for both the F-22 and the C-17 “until the final publication of the next Mobility Capability Study and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.”

The pushback is being orchestrated by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and while the letter is still circulating for signatures, I’m told that Senators Inhofe, Bennett, Chambliss and several Democrats have already offered their support.

The letter warns against an overcorrection in favor of counterinsurgency and urges Gates not to jeopardize America’s “air hegemony” by ceasing production of two aircraft that provide critical airlift and air-to-air capability….

Goldfarb has a copy of the letter at the WS web site.

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Kasim Reed names ex-John Lewis staffer to run Atlanta mayoral campaign — so will the congressman follow?

Kasim Reed was just 32 years old when he successfully managed Shirley Franklin’s first campaign for Atlanta mayor in 2001.

Eight years later, a candidate for mayor himself, Reed has settled on another young face to run his campaign.

Tharon Johnson, 31, district director for John Lewis, the venerable Atlanta congressman, has joined the Reed team as its campaign manager, according to my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus.

Johnson’s past political experience includes management of state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond’s 2002 re-election bid. He was also field director U.S. Rep. John Barrow in his 2004 and 2006 campaigns.

Johnson has been involved in past Lewis campaigns, including an unexpectedly competitive primary last year arising from the congressman’s early support of Hillary Clinton for president. Lewis later switched to Barack Obama.

Johnson said he decided to work with Reed because of the candidate’s efforts as a state senator to help the city pay for its sewer improvements …

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Paul Broun on swine flu and illegal immigration

Speculating ahead of the facts is dicey in any profession, but it’s particularly hazardous in politics. And especially on live television.

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) was on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” this morning, discussing the swine flu outbreak. Broun was a logical choice. Not only is the congressman a physician, he sits on the House Homeland Security Committee.

While he finished strong, Broun got off to an inauspicious start when the moderator asked for his reaction to the first death in the United States attributed to the flu: a 23-month-old toddler in Texas.

Broun drew a straight line between the swine flu and illegal immigration. News outlets would afterwards report that the dead child was from Mexico City, brought by his family to the border town of Brownsville,Texas, on April 4 to visit relatives. The family arrived by plane.

See the entire program here. This is the relevant part of the exchange:

Broun: Of course, it’s sad to see a 23-month-old child die from …

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With John Lewis in the pews, Chief Justice John Roberts compares Voting Rights Act to ‘an elephant whistle’

Debo Adegbile, of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Artist rendering by Dana Verkouteren/Associated Press

Debo Adegbile, of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Artist rendering by Dana Verkouteren/Associated Press

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a leader of the Civil Rights protests that gave birth to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, sat in the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court this morning to listen to justices debate whether to continue the act’s most basic provisions.

“It reminded me of some of the same debate of 1965,” Lewis told my AJC colleague Bob Keefe afterwards. “This Act is one of the most progressive pieces of legislation the country ever passed, and it changed America forever. We don’t need to go back.”

The case of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder challenges the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal approval for any change in election law in nine states, including Texas and Georgia, and parts of seven others.

Lewis, an African-American and …

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Melvin Everson to run for state labor commissioner

We just got word that state Rep. Melvin Everson of Snellville, who in 2005 became the first black Republican since Reconstruction to be elected to the House, will run for state labor commissioner.

Given that the incumbent is Democrat Michael Thurmond, who is also African-American, Everson’s candidacy could make for some interesting dynamics.

When we last talked to him, Thurmond was mulling over whether to stay put or run for lieutenant governor, or governor. But don’t expect any news on that front until former Gov. Roy Barnes makes his decision about a comeback.

But if he runs for re-election, Thurmond can now expect enhanced opposition — given that House Republicans are likely to put their weight, and money, behind Everson, a former Snellville city councilman.

Over on the Democratic side of the ballot, Gary Horlacher, one-time spokesman for Barnes, announced his entry into the open race for secretary of state.

Horlacher promised to eliminate “the partisan shenanigans that …

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