Archive for May, 2010

Andrew Young: The tea party movement is motivated by ‘nativism’

In an interview with ABC News, former Atlanta mayor and Civil Rights legend Andrew Young was asked what he thought about the tea party movement:

Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young

Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young

[H]e’ll all but tell you it’s one sign the country hasn’t reached a post-racial era.

“Without making a moral judgment about it, let’s just say ethno-centrism runs so deep in America that we are hardly beyond this,” he said….

The tea party “is motivated by a nativism — an appeal to the good old days and people who are anxious about change and want to go back to the way they would like to think things were.”

Young, 78, was plugging a new book, “Walk in My Shoes,” that he’s co-authored with his godson, Kabir Sehgal.

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Roy Barnes pushes harder on mandatory mortgage negotiations

Former Gov. Roy Barnes continues to press on the issue of mortgage foreclosures with yet another ad on the topic:

Sharp-eyed viewers noted that Barnes’ initial TV spot on the topic, which began airing last week, was graphics-heavy and misspelled the word “foreclosure.”

Here’s the script of the new, graphics-free ad:

Barnes: Georgia leads the nation in bank failures.

Female voice-over: We tried to do the right thing, but nobody would listen.

Barnes: Bankers and their lobbyists got bonuses and bailouts but you lost your home. They slapped you on the back to lend you the money and slapped you in the face when you got in trouble. When I’m governor, nobody’s going to lose their home until there is mandatory negotiation to try to save it. It’s only fair.

Male voice-over: Roy Barnes will make Georgia work again.

Target audiences are Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Albany and Columbus, said campaign manager Chris Carpenter.

Tom Baxter of InsiderAdvantage spots what could be a …

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Eric Johnson failed to disclose $280k paid to his Savannah architecture firm

Shannon McCaffrey with the Associated Press has written the following:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Eric Johnson did not disclose more than $280,000 in taxpayer money paid to his Savannah architecture firm at a time when he was required to do so, according to an Associated Press review of financial reports and state records.

Under state ethics law, Johnson was obligated to disclose any business with the state worth more than $20,000 since he held more than a 10 percent ownership as a managing partner of Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung — one of the largest architecture and engineering firms in the Southeast. Johnson no longer has an ownership interest in the firm.

Between 1999 and 2004, Johnson’s financial disclosure reports show the firm took in $578,953 for design work on eight state contracts, most for the state university system. At the time, Johnson was the top Republican in the state Senate.

Missing from Johnson’s reports, however, was an additional $289,375 the …

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Asked if she’s ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice,’ Carol Porter picks none-of-the-above

As the weekend broke, Democratic candidate for governor DuBose Porter let it be known that he should be considered “pro-life” when it comes to the issue of abortion.

It was not unexpected news, and arose from a discussion of biotech research at the University of Georgia.

Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

But the House minority leader from Dublin is only one half of a political couple on the July 20 primary ballot. There remained the question of how the husband’s point of view would reflect on Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

On Monday morning, we asked the Carol Porter campaign whether she supported a woman’s right to an abortion.

On Tuesday, a long explanation, penned by the candidate herself, arrived via e-mail. The brief essay said many things, and even came with a footnote. But it did not answer the question.

And in a phone conversation, Carol Porter declared that hers was not just a …

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Johnny Isakson questions SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan on Georgia water rights

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) greets Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Capitol Hill. Associated Press/Harry Hamburg

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) greets Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Capitol Hill. Associated Press/Harry Hamburg

My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington talked with Johnny Isakson after the senator’s private session with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan this morning.

Questioning prospective justices is often fruitless. But Isakson didn’t find it so:

Isakson said he was particularly pleased with Kagan’s answers to his questions about what she might do as a Supreme Court judge considering the arguments in the tri-state water disputes between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over Atlanta’s use of Lake Lanier.

“To paraphrase, she said, ‘In the end, you’ve got to consider the human uses in all these states,’ ” Isakson said. “I found that to be a good statement, because if the governors and states can’t negotiate a water sharing agreement and it goes to court, in the end it should go back to … riparian rights,” allowing users fair use of water as long as it doesn’t harm …

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Your morning jolt: Democrats condemn end of limits on class size, Republicans split

The state Board of Education on Monday voted to gut its limits on class sizes over the next year in response to a deepening school budget crisis that has already forced thousands of teacher layoffs and shorter school years across the state.

The move prompted criticism among a majority of candidates for governor, especially Democrats in hot competition for the public school constituency.

But Republicans were decidedly split in their reactions — Karen Handel and John Oxendine called it was a bad idea, Nathan Deal described himself as “disappointed,” Jeff Chapman declared it “the best thing,” and Eric Johnson said “vouchers.”

We asked the major candidates to send us a paragraph or so of commentary on the topic. In alphabetical order:

DEMOCRATS

Attorney General Thurbert Baker:

Baker

“For a decade, our leaders have been on a spending spree with a credit card. Now the bill has come due, but instead of cutting government waste to pay for their spending, the politicians are cutting …

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Republicans try to derail tea party candidate in N.C. — who once claimed to be the Messiah

The infusion of new, tea-colored blood into GOP politics has forced a nationwide debate over who should be accepted as a Republican – and who shouldn’t be.

In Georgia, the GOP drew a line with Ray Boyd, the real estate millionaire who refused to sign a loyalty oath.

In North Carolina, the do-not-cross line is a little brighter. Among Tarheels, you can’t declare yourself to be Jesus, or his successor – and still be a bona fide candidate. At least in the eyes of Republican leadership.

This from Mike Baker with the Associated Press:

RALEIGH, N.C. – Republican officials are working to derail the campaign of a tea party-supported candidate in North Carolina – circulating documents from the man’s messy divorce that depict him as a pot smoker who has called himself the Messiah.

It’s a risky move for state and national party leaders trying to harness the power of the tea party movement without letting it spin out of their control.

Tim D’Annunzio, a congressional candidate in North …

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Jeff Chapman: Tea party organizers ’sold out’ to GOP establishment

On Saturday, FreedomWorks hosted a debate of four Republican candidates for governor.

Democrats were invited, but did not attend the Gwinnett County event. Two GOP candidates – Jeff Chapman and Ray McBerry — were excluded. Organizers cited their low, 2 percent showings in a poll earlier that week.

GOP candidate for governor Jeff Chapman of Brunswick. Ben Gray/AJC

GOP candidate for governor Jeff Chapman of Brunswick. Ben Gray/AJC

McBerry was barred for other reasons as well, an Atlanta Tea Party organizer explained – including his refusal to salute the U.S. flag, and a relationship he had with a 16-year-old girl when he was a public school teacher.

The exclusion has angered Chapman, a former state senator from Brunswick who has challenged his party’s close association with monied interests in the state.

Mike Griffin, a Chapman field organizer, said what really stung the campaign was the fact that former state Eric Johnson of Savannah, at 5 percent in the same survey, was permitted onstage. The poll had a 5 percent margin of error – which …

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Jason Carter, the man with the familiar smile, on Georgia politics and his granddad

Jason Carter of Decatur, new occupant of one of the safest Democratic seats in the state Senate, on Monday was a featured interview on ABC’s “Top Line” segment – which included a discussion of political dynasties.

The grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who won a special election this month, appears at the three-minute mark of this clip:

An interviewer noted that Jason Carter didn’t bring his grandfather into the campaign picture until the weekend before the vote. Said Carter:

“I decided to handle it the way I have my whole life, which was to introduce myself, and then when it comes up, say, ‘Yeah, absolutely. I’m Jimmy Carter’s grandson, and I’m really proud of it, and here’s how it’s impacted my life.’ But we didn’t want that to be the center of the campaign. The campaign had to be about the future and not about who we were related to.”

Jason Carter, an attorney, also had this assessment of the political climate for Democrats in Georgia:

“There really is an …

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Georgia newspapers form partnership for ‘10 political coverage

Here’s why you’ll be seeing the work of other political reporters across the state — Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News, Blake Aued of the Athens Banner Herald, Chuck Williams of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, and others — in the daily pages of the AJC, and at ajc.com:

In an unprecedented move to combine journalistic resources, Georgia’s 12 largest daily newspapers announce the formation of an historic partnership to deliver comprehensive political coverage across the state.

The combined group, working as the Georgia Newspaper Partnership, will provide deep reporting found nowhere else in the Southeast. Sunday readership of this group alone exceeds 2.2 million.

“This partnership helps put an end to the idea that there are two Georgias,” said Bert Roughton Jr., managing editor of the AJC. “The work that these partner newspapers do will go a long way toward providing the state’s voters a more unified voice.”

Over the next several months the partnership will …

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