Your morning jolt: White House arm-twisting on F-22

A vote on increased funding for the F-22 is set for high noon today, and Politico reports that the tide has shifted to favor President Barack Obama and other opponents, as Democrats in the U.S. Senate respond to some heavy arm-twisting:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is the public point man for the administration, making calls to senators and delivering a toughly worded speech last week in Chicago.

But as the political stakes have become more evident, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has also begun working the phones, and Vice President Joe Biden last week even called his old friend, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), an ardent F-22 backer.

In Georgia, a curious war has broken out on the far right side of the political spectrum, between the Republican candidate for governor who has led most polling, and a rival GOP candidate known for his embrace of states’ rights.

The John Oxendine camp is objecting to the use of the phrase “Ox Nazis” by Jenny Hodges, campaign director for candidate Ray McBerry.

An anti-abortion activist, Hodges has posted several video clips — long, extemporaneous sessions with the camera — on YouTube.

In at least two she describes confrontations with the Oxendine campaign, and neglects a new rule in American politic debate: He/She who invokes Hitler or his minions loses the argument.

The first was posted on July 4, after Hodges said she and her husband were accosted by Oxendine volunteers in Woodstock, over a McBerry bumper sticker on their car — which had been slapped over an Oxendine bumper sticker.

A second was posted Saturday. Hodges describes a Union County confrontation — she was not involved — between McBerry and Oxendine aide Jeff Breedlove.

Breedlove, she said, insisted that McBerry fire her. “Why don’t you decide. Is Ox Nazis over the top?” she asks in the video.

The Oxendine campaign wouldn’t talk about the confrontations per se. This is what campaign manager Tim Echols said:

This is the same person who produced a video calling our volunteers Nazis. The same person who gloated on YouTube when [Kansas abortion doctor] George Tiller was murdered.

People can decide for themselves whether to take her seriously or not. I’ll not apologize for defending our good volunteers.”

A similar message went out in a fund-raising e-mail last night: “How sad it is when a person calls our volunteers such an offensive name.”

As for that “gloating” accusation. Hodges is one of those pro-lifers who believe the anti-abortion movement has gotten itself bogged down — and betrayed the cause — with incrementalism. And this is what she said after Tiller’s murder, in a YouTube clip made while her husband finished the dishes:

”Killer” Tiller was an American terrorist… He was a wicked, wicked man, and he was a treasonous enemy of our nation….

“I’m certainly not going to sit here and say I’m sad he’s dead. I thrilled he’s dead. Hundreds of lives this week will be saved because he’s dead. Hundred of lives next week will be saved because he’s dead. I’m sorry he didn’t repent, and that he’s burning in hell….”

So why spend several paragraphs on a schoolyard fracas? McBerry won nearly 50,000 votes in a doomed 2006 primary against Republican incumbent Sonny Perdue. Oxedine may be convinced that he needs a few of them.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • DFCS says it “missed the signs” that led to boy’s death.
  • Perdue open to restarting water talks with other governors.
  • Georgia’s docs in Congress influence health care debate.
  • DeKalb County parks director fired over swim league snafu.
  • Atlanta to use city bonds to buy MLK papers.
  • Atlanta traffic violators to face boot.
  • Proposed police cuts anger Gwinnett residents.
  • Could Atlanta lose a NASCAR race?
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Memo to GOP: Hush. Listen.
  • Chemical plants can and must make themselves much safe.
  • Pro & Con: Do anti-smoking programs work to reduce smoking?
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • ABC: Atlanta City Council OKs streetcar study.
  • Fox5: No prosecution for cop’s “baseball bat” comments about mayor.
  • Mostly Media: Report from the CBS46 blogging summit.
  • And beyond:

  • NYT: U.S. withheld data on risks of distracted driving.
  • WP: CIA committed fraud, judge writes in ruling.
  • LAT: TARP watchdog cites lack of transparency in Obama administration.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    7 comments Add your comment

    TRUTH

    July 21st, 2009
    11:04 am

    “We’re still hunting votes, but I think it’s very close. It will come down to the people who don’t really have a dog in the fight,” Chambliss told POLITICO late Monday.

    Saxby thinks other Senators are as in the pocket of lobbyist, like he is. How did this crook get elected? He is not a Republican.

    John

    July 21st, 2009
    12:21 pm

    “What I have not heard is substantive reason for adding more aircraft in terms of our strategic needs,” Gates said Monday while reiterating his opposition to the purchase.

    Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday that spending on the stealth fighter would “inhibit our ability to buy things we do need,” including Gates’ proposal to add 22,000 soldiers to the Army.

    The $1.75 billion is currently part of a $680 billion defense spending policy bill.

    Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and the top Republican on the panel, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, sponsored the amendment to take out the F-22 money.

    “The Senate has heard from the senior leadership of the Defense Department both civilian and military that we should end F-22 production. The recommendation is strong and clear, as strong and clear as I have ever heard,” Levin said.

    Keith

    July 21st, 2009
    2:14 pm

    China is racing to build sophisticated stealth fighters and an armada of aircraft carriers to carry them on. We must maintain the F22… the F35 fighter is not stealth and it requires 5 of them for each F22 in the air to maintain the same air dominance.

    Neil

    July 22nd, 2009
    7:04 am

    McBerry’s primary issue is an important one and should be absorbed by other candidates before his house of cards falls.

    Jenny Hodges

    July 22nd, 2009
    11:21 pm

    The Ox Nazi comment was primarily pointed at Jeff Breedlove (paid $5,000 a month) and Brian Laurens (paid, but I don’t know how much), so they’re hardly volunteers. Deceitful manipulation of facts on their fundraising letters is to be expected. But I’m glad that Ray McBerry continues to lead the way on the issues, and Ox’s pro-life position has moved from “evolving strategy” (Jeff Breedlove’s words) to vowing to shut down abortion clinics in Georgia. Even Oxendine will follow McBerry’s excellent leadership.

    Michael

    July 23rd, 2009
    9:20 am

    I have to admit, I kind of like the way McBerry’s campaign manager doesn’t edit what she says. It’s a rarity in a political campaign. As for the “Ox-Nazi” comment, in context, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me at all and seems to be more of a comparison to Seinfeld’s “Soup-Nazi” than to any former German political party. So maybe Oxendine’s team should calm down, dry their tears, and get back out on the playground.

    Dan

    August 5th, 2009
    2:59 am

    It’s too bad for the ox nazis that they don’t really have much of a chance. I was actually planning on supporting the ox, but then I heard McBerry speak at a gun show. I couldn’t believe someone running for Governor actually believes the things that he talks about. He’s actually the real thing. Sorry, ox, I won’t be giving you my support after all. Now I see where ox had been getting his ideas. I’d rather just go for the real thing than support a fake.