This from the morning cycle of the Associated Press:
President Barack Obama says he believes the Tea Party is built around a “core group” of people who question whether he is a U.S. citizen and believe he is a socialist.
But beyond that, Obama tells NBC he recognizes the movement involves “folks who have legitimate concerns” about the national debt and whether the government is taking on too many difficult issues simultaneously.
In an interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, Obama said he feels “there’s still going to be a group at their core that question my legitimacy.” But he said he didn’t want to paint Tea Party activists “in broad brushes” and he hopes to win over members who have “mainstream, legitimate concerns.”
In his own defense, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal told investigators with the Office of Congressional Ethics that the allegations against him are rooted in the dynamics of the Republican campaign for governor.
The report, released Monday, can be found here.
Deal is restrained in his language, but the accusations are there. First, the north Georgia congressman takes aim at state Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham, whose meetings with Deal about his auto salvage business have landed him in trouble.
On Page 74:
The commissioner is not backing my campaign for governor and I believe that any press story about our meetings or this investigation probably started with one of my opponents. He is free to do as he pleases but I take offense at any suggestion that I have acted in any improper way.
On Page 75, Deal appears to be drawing a line from Graham to GOP opponent Karen Handel:
Both the Democratic and Republican primary contests are hotly contested. In the GOP primary, the candidates include (i) former Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson; (ii) Commissioner of Insurance John Oxendine; (iii) Secretary of State Karen Handel; and (iv) Congressman Deal. Not surprisingly, each has support among various groups, with one of Congressman Deal’s primary opponents enjoying the support of many of the current GOP governor’s appointees.
Then, of course, there’s the damned newspaper. But it’s a strange and unclear passage. The phrase “same zeal as the maker” is a head-scratcher:
In the context of the election, “ethics” attacks and complaints have been leveled early and often (although this is the only one leveled against Congressman Deal, and he has not leveled any). Of course, the local media has eagerly reported and repeated every attack with the same zeal as the maker and with some embellishment.
The instant matter involves an article which appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (”AJC”) on August 23, 2009, a Sunday edition, on the front page. Other attacks against other candidates have appeared in similar fashion.
As of this morning, we have five candidates who have qualified for the May 11 special election to fill the seat of U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, according to the secretary of state’s Web site.
All are Republican: Chris Cates, a physician; Tom Graves, the former state represenative; Lee Hawkins, the former state senator; Bert Loftman, and Bill Stephens, the former state senator.
The balloting will involve 15 north Georgia counties. The Gainesville Times this morning reports:
The cost estimate for nearly 394,000 voters to take part in a special election in Georgia’s 9th Congressional district could be as much as $240,000.
In an already-tight budget year for most local governments in the state, the 15 counties of north central and northwest Georgia are bracing their bank accounts for an election to fill former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal’s seat in Congress.
DeKalb County will be spending its money on the same day, for a special election to fill the state senate seat made vacant by David Adelman’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to Singapore.
Fresh from Iowa, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks this evening at Emory University before a group of Federalist Society members and college Republicans.
Gov. Sonny Perdue will make the introductions. Romney’s officially on a book tour. But this Monday piece from Politico.com highlights what could be part of the conversation:
In the days immediately before and after passage of the landmark health care reform bill, Mitt Romney responded so forcefully as to suggest his own political fate is tied to the new law.
It may well be.
Just as health care, or “Obamacare,” as it is derided on the right, hangs over this year’s midterm elections, it is already casting a shadow on the 2012 presidential contest — and its GOP front-runner.
What was once thought to be an asset for Romney, his passage as Massachusetts governor of a health care mandate for the state’s residents, now poses a potentially serious threat to his White House hopes.
Perdue is among those who have questioned government’s right to mandate the purchase of health insurance.
Travis Fain with the Macon Telegraph has a good piece on the dead bills that littered the ground after lawmakers left the state Capitol on Friday:
House Resolution 1087 seemed like a no-brainer to many. It called for a voter referendum to change the state constitution and make sure people who don’t pay their taxes can’t hold public office.
But the measure failed by a few votes as late Friday night became early Saturday morning and “Crossover Day” — the deadline for legislation to clear the House — came to a harried close.
The vote was 117 to 31, with another 31 legislators not voting at all. The measure needed three more votes to pass.
“I cannot believe there are that many people … that don’t want people kicked out of office for (not paying) income taxes,” said state Rep. Calvin Hill, R-Canton, the measure’s sponsor.
But it wasn’t that simple. Some legislators felt the vote wasn’t legal, since it came after a midnight deadline. Others, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter said, were upset that their bills didn’t make it to the floor Friday, making them casualties of Crossover Day.
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