Your morning jolt: Happy Fathers Day to me, says Thurbert Baker in first TV ad

Jekyll Island — Thurbert Baker’s Democratic campaign for governor goes up on TV for the first time on Sunday with a message geared specifically for Father’s Day:

The ad is introductory in nature: “Growing up, my dad didn’t even knew his father. But it was never going to be that way with him,” said Chelsea Baker, one of the attorney general’s two daughters – who is now a DeKalb County teacher like her mother. So education is a subtext.

Spies tell us that the Republican campaign of John Oxendine has purchased TV time starting early next week, and that former GOP congressman Nathan Deal looks like he’s focusing on a 10-day strategy for his ads next month.

Thursday’s debates of Republican and Democratic candidates for governor on Jekyll Island were jointly sponsored by the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce – two entities that have often warred over public access to information.

So it was significant that every single candidate, regardless of party, declared his support (Karen Handel didn’t attend, remember) for legislation that would require all closed meetings held by government entities – from city councils and school boards to state authorities – be recorded.

That way, if the meeting is later found to be illegal, a record of what happened exists.

But as he declared his support, former GOP congressman Nathan Deal may have made a slight gaffe – at least in the eyes of newspaper editors and publishers in the audience.

Deal declared himself in support of efforts to restrict public access to information regarding economic development efforts, a cause pressed by the Georgia Chamber.

Said Deal:

One of the things that we sometimes run into is that, when we’re competing for an industry to bring into our state, and other competing states are relying on the information that we have to disclose – in other words, they know what our offer is, and their laws do not allow us to know what their offers are. That is a problem.

Georgia newspapers fought that legislation several years back. “I blocked that bill in the Senate,” Eric Johnson, then Senate president pro tem, reminded the audience.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, in a slight dig at Johnson, declared that he favored making the General Assembly subject to the state Open Records Act.

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Roy Barnes reminded his audience that he pushed through legislation to require local governments to sign an affidavit declaring why meetings were being closed.

The only lawmaker to vote against it, Barnes said, was Glenn Richardson of Paudling County, the future House speaker. “Apparently, we didn’t have the right lobbyist to talk to him,” he quipped.

The former governor also used the opportunity to chide editors and publishers for not pressing other candidates to join him in disclosing their income tax returns. Said Barnes:

“You ought to disclose your income tax [returns] if you’re running for governor. It is the most painful thing on the face of the earth. But I put 25 years of income tax returns online. And I hate to say this, but I don’t see too many editorials about where are the other candidates doing it.

“If Thurbert’s agreed to do this, I ain’t seen it yet. We ought not to have a whisper about what occurred on somebody’s personal finances. We’ve had that the last eight years, and it’s time to stop it.”

DuBose Porter, the House Democratic leader, made a bit of news on the issues of transportation and water. First, he said he would redraft the transportation sales tax legislation passed by the General Assembly just this spring.

“What we did last [session] will not do one thing toward fixing transportation. It basically shut the door to commuter rail in Georgia. There’s no way you can get two, three regional government districts between Atlanta and Macon agree to that corridor. It does not work.”

Porter said he would then put his reworked legislation and the penny sales tax up for a statewide referendum in 2011, rather than wait until 2012, as the current law dictates.

Porter also declared that the simplest, quickest and cheapest way to address Georgia’s water problem is to raise the level of Lake Lanier by two feet – though it would require re-authorization from the U.S. Corps of Engineers, which operates Buford Dam.

Sam Olens, the former Cobb County commission chairman and a GOP candidate for attorney general, was in the audience for the Democratic debate. He declared Porter’s idea highly sensible.

While candidates for governor gathered at Jekyll Island, a Fulton County judge made a decision likely to affect the Republican side of the equation. From my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

A judge issued an order Thursday blocking a State Ethics Commission hearing set for next week from discussing two insurance companies caught funneling $120,000 to Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s gubernatorial campaign.

The commission has been investigating the donations since last year and recently subpoenaed the companies – State Mutual Insurance and a subsidiary Admiral Life Insurance, both of Rome – for financial records.

The companies balked, and filed a suit in Fulton County to stop the investigation. They argued it was political and had been delayed until just before the July 20 primary election to hurt Oxendine. Delos Yancey III, who heads State Mutual, is a friend of Oxendine.

My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington has collected more details on what has prompted an ethics investigation into the fund-raising activities of U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell):

A day before voting against financial industry reform legislation, Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell held a luncheon where he sought up to $2,500 in campaign donations from political action committees and lobbyists representing banks and other financial companies, records show.

The fund-raiser, held at the Washington insider restaurant Capitol Hill Club, came in a month in which Price received tens of thousands in campaign contributions from banking groups and other political action committees that had a stake in the legislation.

Eric Johnson’s contention that the last major oil spill in the United States occurred in 1969 gets slapped down by PolitiFact Georgia today:

Johnson’s statement fails the Truth-O-Meter test. While the nation’s largest oil well blowout did take place in 1969, it’s not factually correct to call it the “last major oil spill.”

PolitiFact Georgia also comes to the defense of Attorney General Thurbert Baker. An anonymous YouTube video attacks Baker – using a clip of then candidate Barack Obama, in 2007, condemning the 10-year sentence given to 17-year-old Genarlow Wilson, who had been found guilty of aggravated child molestation, for consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Obama said Wilson had been convicted of a misdemeanor. But the crime was a felony at the time Wilson was convicted.

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18 comments Add your comment


June 18th, 2010
10:21 am

Thursday’s debates of Republican and Democrat (Not Democratic) candidates for governor. There is a big difference.


June 18th, 2010
10:41 am

Yes Dominick, there is a difference. People who say “Democrat” candidates are idiots. Before you criticize, maybe you should learn how to write and speak.

Proud American

June 18th, 2010
10:46 am

Dominick must be a Republic or profess to be a conserve. I don’t think he is a Libertar because they are usually better with their language skills.

Raquel Morris

June 18th, 2010
10:50 am


The party refers to itself as the Democratic Party. Whether you agree with the party or not, doesn’t it at least have the right to name itself? Don’t be childish.

Wounded Warrior

June 18th, 2010
10:52 am

I like a commercial with Bingo Baker playing Bingo with old ladies at the churches for education is a better idea!!! B-I-N-G-O.

The Snark

June 18th, 2010
12:13 pm

A couple of years ago, the PR strategists at the Republican Party revived the idea of having everyone refer to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Party.” The thinking was that it was perjorative sounding and would diminish the image of the Democratic Party in the minds of the public. The idea was circulated and duly acted upon by the sound bite crowd — Bohnor, DeLay, etc. As political discourse goes, this is on the level of “nanny nanny boo boo.”


This country needs two strong political parties. But so long as the Republican Party puts its energy into h*****t ideas like this, instead of developing pragmatic, substantive ideas about how we can best govern ourselves, it is impossible to take them seriously.

Keeping Georgia Great

June 18th, 2010
12:17 pm

I would not consider this a gaffe by Nathan Deal. Neighboring states such as Alabama, Tennessee, and the Carolinas are working hard trying to pull existing Georgia businesses away from our state. As companies become exasperated with restrictive taxes in other states, they look to relocate to the south. They will choose a state down here to set up shop. Our neighboring states have people whose full time job is to seek and obtain proprietary information about Georgia’s economic development efforts, in order to hurt Georgia’s growth. These states want to see Georgia fail, for their own benefit. To make information public for the sake of the newspapermen is done at the financial risk of all Georgians and potentially to these benefit of our competing neighbors who would like to chip away at Georgia’s status as “the city on the hill”.


June 18th, 2010
12:23 pm

If polifact ga is going to say Johnson’s comment was a truth fail on that distinction: largest prior oil spill but others could be major, then I don’t know if polifact ga should be trusted. Bust the real lies.


June 18th, 2010
12:51 pm

Thurbert’s new tv ad hit a homerun with the Democratic base–women, both black and white. And, how about that shout out to teachers! Regardless of who you support–the ad is a great introductory profile of the candidate. Now, with that said–voters need the meat and potatoes. What are you going to do for Georgians?

Disavantaged Insider

June 18th, 2010
1:38 pm

“Growing up, my dad didn’t even knew his father”… said Chelsea Baker, … who is now a DeKalb County teacher like her mother.

I pray to God that Miss Baker is NOT teaching English.

And as for the Repubs refering to the Democrat Party — get over it, y’all. Every time you get in a wad over that, it makes them smile. They aren’t thin-skinned. You shouldn’t be either.

Disavantaged Insider

June 18th, 2010
1:45 pm

Snack, don’t be such an left-wing-elitist. We already developed pragmatic, substantive ideas about how we can best govern ourselves. They are in the Constitution. And as for political discourse, na-na-boo-boo is about as good as you are going to get. I relised long ago that the best way to understand politics is to understand the subtle discourse of the kindergarten sandbox. They are practicly the same, so do not waste engergy hoping for better. Insteada, find ways to make it work for you.

The Snark

June 18th, 2010
2:50 pm

@ Disadvantaged Insider:

No one who knows the Snark has ever accused him of being a “left-wing” anything. How typical of a right wingnut to assume that anyone who criticizes the right is a leftwinger. It apparently never occurs to you people that there are choices and views in between Barney Frank and Michele Bachman.

Judging from your spelling and your grammar, Miss Baker could probably teach you quite a few things about your mother tongue.

PS It’s “Snark,” not “Snack.”

Georgia voters

June 18th, 2010
4:11 pm

Thurbert Baker may appear to believe in “Open Records” – yet, he is quick to have his office file “Protective Orders” to keep the media and taxpayers from seeing very revealing facts about his friends at the Board of Regents. One AJC reporter said that there are only two reasons for a Protective Order to be filed: “national security or they have much to hide.” Our guess is the latter.

Frequent Voter

June 18th, 2010
5:50 pm

Every time I hear one of those partisan hacks say “Democrat Party” I discount anything they say. Either they are downright dumb or they are doing it on purpose for petty reasons. Either way, that person should be excused from any conversation dealing with serious issues. They simply don’t have the capacity to lead at all. If this is all the Republicans have to offer then they shouldn’t even be a minority party. They should just go away.

Educated Voter

June 18th, 2010
6:45 pm

She said, “Growing up, my dad didn’t even KNOW his father.” –To those wasting energy on this -pettiness is an unbecoming quality.

Bobby Anthony

June 19th, 2010
2:18 am

Disavantaged Insider if you listen to the ad you will find that Baker’s daughter uses the word know. It was my fellow graduate from the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jim Galloway, who made the grammatical error. Dean Agee would be disappointed with you Jim if you do not correct your mistake.


June 19th, 2010
4:30 pm

I attended a candidates forum in Macon, GA. Baker is going to win because most people want an honest person to lead this State. A person that has the courage of their convictions and follows the rules of law. When the attorney general did not file a lawsuit against the federal government because of healthcare reform he won my support and most importantly my vote! Baker for Governor 2010!


June 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

Every time I see the add…I think ” Video Bingo Baker” and wonder who bought him off.