Archive for June, 2010

John Oxendine, Eric Johnson open up air war in GOP race for governor

Two of the top-ranking Republicans in the contest for governor – Eric Johnson and John Oxendine — cut loose a first round of TV ads on Monday.

Both are designed to give voters a first look at the candidates. Neither campaign would tell us where or how often the ad is playing.

But spies tell us that Johnson has dropped $237,265 on metro Atlanta network this week, for 626 points. Oxendine’s Atlanta broadcast buy for the week now stands at $338,075, for 892 points.

First, the Oxendine ad:

The script, with Oxendine narrating:

“Too often, politicians worry more about their re-election than your future. But as insurance commissioner, I solved problems to help you. That’s what I’ll do as governor.

“My contract with Georgia is a reform plan to downsize government, scrap the income tax, and fix our transportation and water problems. This will attract businesses and help Georgians go back to work. As governor, I won’t care who gets the credit – just so creating jobs is Job …

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White House defends Barack Obama’s golf game

As soon as Louisiana voiced its disgust over BP executive Tony Hayward’s decision to spend Saturday watching his yacht compete off the English coast, the Republican National Committee decided to see if the metaphor could be extended.

BP executive Tony Hayward on his yacht "Bob" on Saturday/AP

BP executive Tony Hayward on his yacht "Bob" on Saturday/AP

Michael Steel, chairman of the RNC, on Sunday pointed out that President Barack Obama had been pacing the links the same day:

“As oil continues to spill in the Gulf and unemployment hovers at ten percent, the President can no longer take his eye off the “Oil”.

“While it is fitting and appropriate to look at the yachting activities of the BP CEO, with incredulity, it is equally incredible that President Obama finds himself on yet another golf course as oil continues to spew into the Gulf. Until this problem is fixed, no more golf outings, no more baseball games, no more Beatle concerts, Mr. President. The stakes are too high for President Obama’s lackadaisical approach to both his …

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Your morning jolt: Blow that well to Kingdom Come, says Phil Gingrey

Just as Father’s Day weekend began, Denis O’Hayer over at WABE (90.1FM) posted two versions – one long, one short – of an interview with U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta).

Gingrey sits on the House committee that last week grilled Tony Hayward, the BP executive, about the oil spill in the Gulf.

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta)/AJC

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta)/AJC

First, there was the matter of that apology from U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who declared – and then undeclared – that BP was the victim of a White House “shakedown.”

Did Gingrey agree?

“I don’t. I think I understood the point he was trying to make, but I think he was off-base on that, because quite frankly, the CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, met with the president, and the suggestion was made that an escrow fund be created – a $20 billion escrow fund, to be administered by a third party.

“If he agreed to that, then he agreed to it. Certainly that’s what it appeared to be. I would not call that a shakedown, and I don’t think anybody held …

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Not your grandmother’s game: Thurbert Baker and his big bingo gamble

Jekyll Island — In 1990, an unknown Democratic political strategist named James Carville convinced Zell Miller that church-going, middle-class voters in Georgia were ready to back a lottery aimed at putting their kids through college.

The lottery became the centerpiece of Miller’s winning campaign for governor, and was credited with staving off a Republican takeover of the state for yet another eight years.

Last week, Attorney General Thurbert Baker — a Miller acolyte in the Legislature during that period — proposed a return to the well.

Now a Democratic candidate for governor himself, Baker wants to bring electronic bingo machines into the state as a way to juice funding for the lower half of the educational ladder — from kindergarten through high school.

The $1 billion the game would raise each year, Baker says, could fund the smallest classrooms in the nation, extend the school year from 180 to 200 days, and send teacher pay through the roof.

With five weeks to go …

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Democrats target Tom Price and his BP ’shakedown’ comments

Now that U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) has backpedaled – faster than Lester Maddox and his bicycle – on his apology to BP for what the congressman called a White House “shakedown,” Democrats are turning their sights on U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell).

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell)/AJC

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell)/AJC

Price is chairman of the House Study Committee, the policy arm of the GOP. Barton may have picked up his “shakedown” language from an HSC press release issued on Wednesday:

“BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics.

“These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.”

Price and …

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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, …

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On adopting a replica of the Arizona law in Georgia

Jekyll Island – Whether the children of illegal immigrants should be allowed into Georgia universities wasn’t a topic at a pair of debates among candidates for governor on Friday.

But whether Georgia should adopt a replica of the Arizona law – to identify and deport illegal immigrants – was a major topic among both Republicans and Democrats.

Georgia Governor

The debates were sponsored by the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

As you might expect, all five candidates in the GOP debate,held first, favored adoption of a similar measure. (Karen Handel was absent.)

The entire answer of state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine:

“Yes.”

Eric Johnson said he’d go a step further, requiring all hospitals and public schools to ascertain the citizenship of the people they serve. The former state senator from Savannah said he would then sue the federal government to get back money spent on illegals.

He would also crack down on businesses that hire illegal aliens. The …

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Head games: Roy Barnes sits in on a GOP debate for governor

Jekyll Island – The Republican debate among the Republican candidates for governor, sponsored by the Georgia Press Association, has begun.

No great news has been made yet, but an interesting head game may be occurring.

Georgia Governor

Just before the five candidates sat down – Jeff Chapman, Nathan Deal, Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry, and John Oxendine – former Gov. Roy Barnes entered the room and began shaking hands with top-ranking editors and publishers throughout the state.

The Democratic debate doesn’t start until 2:30 p.m. Barnes has arrived 90 minutes early – a large chunk of time in campaign terms.

Barnes is now sitting in the sixth row, listening to the candidates.

(Update: “It was a little dry, to be quite frank with you,” Barnes said afterwards.)

Other points:

– Chapman, a Brunswick state senator, says Georgia has more illegal immigrants than Arizona. All agreed that we need to see legislation like that state has introduced;

– Johnson has said the state needs an immediate …

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14 GOP senators demand regents close universities to illegal immigrants

Fourteen Republican state senators have told the state Board of Regents that they want Georgia’s universities completely shut off from illegal immigrants.

See the letter here.

The university system has argued that federal law prohibits awarding in-state tuition to those in the country unlawfully, but that it is silent on whether they can attend upon payment of full tuition rates.

In the wake of a Kennesaw State University senior discovered to be in the country illegally – her parents brought her here from Mexico when she was a child – the state’s universities have been ordered to check the citizenship status of all students by this fall.

The senators praised that effort, but said it was not enough:

However, we remain disappointed and perplexed that the Board of Regents seems to be engaged in verbal gymnastics in an effort to escape the obvious and full application of law. Persons not lawfully present in the United States are not eligible, regardless of tuition rates, to …

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Your island jolt: Wood chips fly over charges of theft in governor’s race

From the veranda of the Jekyll Island Club – An island debate among the Democratic candidates for governor this afternoon, hosted by the Georgia Press Association, is highly likely to include charges of theft.

On Thursday, former Gov. Roy Barnes launched his sixth TV ad – this one proposing that Georgia Power and other utilities be required to burn wood pellets from Georgia pines to generate some of their power. Thousands of jobs could be created, he said.

House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin this morning says Barnes is guilty of intellectual poaching.

“I have been advocating wood-fired power for years. I know it will create thousands of jobs in Georgia — foresters, skidder operators, mechanics — and help landowners by creating a market for timber.”

Porter said. “Coal produces jobs for people outside of Georgia. Wood-fired power doesn’t poison Georgia’s rivers and streams. Coal-fired power does. Wood-fired power doesn’t create pollution that harms unborn …

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