Archive for July, 2010

Guess who won’t be coming to lunch with Obama?

Updated on Monday: Although a staffer said he didn’t plan to show, U.S. Rep. John Lewis was present for President Barack Obama’s visit to Atlanta, we’re told.

President Barack Obama’s second visit to Georgia this year may be one of those parties best remembered for the guests who failed to show.

The president will spend the better part of Monday in Atlanta — first speaking to a convention of disabled veterans. Then the president will be the featured guest at a Democratic National Committee luncheon and fundraiser.

President Barack Obama last week addressed the National Urban League. Associated Press

President Barack Obama last week addressed the National Urban League. Associated Press

Many Democrats will flock to the downtown events. Michael Thurmond, the labor commissioner and U.S. Senate candidate, will be there. U.S. Rep. David Scott of Atlanta will greet Obama as he steps off Air Force One, as will Gov. Sonny Perdue — a Republican.

Mayor Kasim Reed will give the first African-American president an effusive introduction at the DNC fundraiser. A spokesman for …

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School board member confesses to misuse of credit card

This unusual confession from Courtney English, an at-large member of the Atlanta Board of Education, arrived late last night:

Dear Atlanta Community Member,

As an elected member of the Atlanta Board of Education, I’ve made a mistake and I hope you will accept my apology.

I did not fully understand the terms of use of a credit card issued to me by the Atlanta Public Schools. I misinterpreted a document that accompanied the credit card when it was issued to me. I mistakenly thought I could use the credit card for personal use as long as I immediately reimbursed the district for any charges incurred.

This is not the policy. I never should have made any personal purchases, period.

I am responsible for $855.83 of disallowed charges made to the credit card between May 29 and June 30, 2010. These charges included an airline ticket, food, gratuities, hotel charges, and other sundries. On July 14, 2010, I reimbursed the district in full for all disallowed charges.

I apologize for this …

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The real Republican runoff: Sarah Palin vs. the Georgia General Assembly

With Karen Handel’s big news, the story line of the GOP runoff for governor finally becomes clear.

Only on the Aug. 10 ballot will the contest pit the former secretary of state against former congressman Nathan Deal.

Everywhere else, it will be Sarah Palin vs. the Georgia General Assembly.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Associated Press

From my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

 

Handel’s campaign said the details are still being worked out but that Palin would hold an event from noon to 1 p.m. somewhere in the “north metro area, most likely,” spokesman Dan McLagan said.

Palin’s endorsement on July 12 helped elevate Handel to the top spot in the July 20 runoff. Now, she and former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal will face off on Aug. 10 for the GOP nomination.

“I’m coming to Georgia to campaign with my friend Karen because it is absolutely critical that Georgians nominate an ethical leader and a true conservative to take the fight to Roy Barnes in November,” Palin said in a statement …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal heads south, Karen Handel courts the coast

The two surviving candidates in the Republican race for governor on Thursday moved into territory once held by defeated comrades.

While Nathan Deal followed I-75 to south Georgia, Karen Handel was on the coast for a meeting with the editorial board of the local newspaper — which had endorsed homeboy and former senator Eric Johnson in the July 20 primary.

We weren’t there to here the pitch from the former secretary of state, but Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News was.

Handel told editors it was a “disgrace” that Nathan Deal, her runoff rival, didn’t reveal that he was “associated” with a federal grand jury investigation into a ‘09 meeting with state officials about his business dealings with the state.

Said Handel:

“Heaven forbid,” [she said], “if it had come forward and Nathan Deal was our nominee.

“The GOP would be in big trouble. And that would mean he put his interests ahead of the greater interests.”

Now, about this Johnson fellow — who so far has endorsed neither …

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Hem and huff over hammers and sickles in the 7th District

Over the past two mornings, Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) in Athens has hosted the two GOP runoff candidates in the 7th District congressional contest – Rob Woodall, the former chief of staff to retiring John Linder, and Jody Hice, who is also in the talk radio business.

The “Had enough of Obama’s change?” billboards placed by Hice in the district, prominently spelling the word “change” with a hammer-and-sickle, were a natural topic.

hicebillboard

Bryant asked each candidate if he thought the communist symbolism was over the top. Said Hice on Wednesday:

7th District GOP candidate Jody Hice

7th District GOP candidate Jody Hice

“I make no bones about it. I respect the office of the president, but I make no bones about it – I do not respect the policies of this president, which are socialistic.

“We are watching this administration take over the health care industry, the banking industry, the student loan industry, the insurance industry, automobile — one part of the private sector after another.”

But Woodall was of another …

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State GOP lawmakers weigh in on Nathan Deal’s side

We have two developments today in the Republican runoff for governor.

First, as mentioned this morning, there’s Karen Handel’s new TV ad, another aggressive punch that you can see here.

It describes rival Nathan Deal as “a corrupt relic of Washington.” The language is important. The word “corrupt” is strong but unsurprising, given Handel’s message of reform and her need to enhance her image as an outsider.

It is the word “relic” that startles – another hefty allusion to the 20-year gap in the ages of the two GOP candidates. How Deal responds to the two-pronged attack — and how quickly — is likely to be telling.

This afternoon, the Deal campaign cut loose with a list of 24 current state senators who endorse his candidacy – and three Republican nominees for the Senate.

That’s pretty much the entire Republican Senate caucus – minus those GOP senators themselves engaged in runoff campaigns. Remember that the leader of the chamber, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, comes from Gainesville – as …

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Your morning jolt: On TV, Karen Handel hits Nathan Deal as ‘a corrupt relic of Washington’

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel makes use of Sarah Palin’s endorsement in her first TV ad in the Republican runoff for government – which also condemns rival Nathan Deal as “a corrupt relic of Washington D.C.”

“One carries a purse, the other carries baggage,” the 30-second ad begins.

The TV spot follows on the heels of an AJC report of federal grand jury interest in a meeting called by Deal in the hope of preserving his business with the state.

Handel spokesman Dan McLagan says the ad is targeted at metro Atlanta, and describes the airtime buy as “big.”

The script:

Male voiceover: One carries a purse. The other carries baggage.

One whom Sarah Palin says has cut government, and is the true conservative.

Or the other, who added trillions to our national debt.

One a conservative reformer. One a corrupt relic of Washington D.C.

Karen Handel is Georgia’s strong conservative. Impeccable integrity. Our thrilling, vibrant future. Karen Handel. Bring it on.

The ad by …

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Northern ‘burbs may finally be on cusp of new clout

Suburban Atlanta — specifically its northern roof of Cobb, north Fulton and Gwinnett counties — may finally be on the cusp of true political clout in Georgia.

The governor and the attorney general are the most powerful administrators in state government. The Republican nominations for both jobs are up for grabs in runoff elections now only 12 days away.

In each case, the leading candidate is the former head of a county government in metro Atlanta.

In the race for governor, Karen Handel, before she served as secretary of state, was chairman of the Fulton County Commission. Sam Olens, a candidate for attorney general, is the immediate past chairman of the Cobb County Commission.

Former Fulton County commission chairman Karen Handel/Associated Press

Former Fulton County commission chairman Karen Handel/Associated Press

Both, like many of you, are non-native Georgians. Though she now lives in Roswell, Handel was born in Maryland. Olens is from New Jersey.

In the Aug. 10 runoffs, both Handel and Olens face multigenerational natives of the state with …

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Your morning jolt: Georgia’s GOP delegation fractures over Iraq, Afghanistan funding

The Republican portion of Georgia’s congressional delegation on Tuesday showed a significant fracture when it comes to funding the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the New York Times:

The House of Representatives agreed on Tuesday to provide $59 billion to continue financing America’s two wars, but the vote showed deepening divisions and anxiety among Democrats over the course of the nearly nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

The 308-to-114 vote, with strong Republican support, came after the leak of an archive of classified battlefield reports from Afghanistan that fueled new debate over the course of the war and whether President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy could work.

Voting for the measure were Georgia Democrats John Barrow of Savannah, Sanford Bishop of Albany, Jim Marshall of Macon, and David Scott of Atlanta; Republicans Tom Graves of Ranger, Jack Kingston of Savannah, Tom Price of Roswell, and Lynn Westmoreland of Sharpsburg.

Voting against the …

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Nathan Deal picks up Jack Kingston’s endorsement

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah

Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal has picked up the support of U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston – one of Deal’s former colleagues in Congress.

Kingston had been a backer of Eric Johnson, the third-place finisher in the GOP gubernatorial sweepstakes.

Perhaps more important, Kingston is one of Johnson’s BFFs – and perhaps an indicator of where the former Senate president pro tem might be headed in the next few days.

Said Kingston, in a press release just sent out:

“I encourage conservative Republicans in Southeast Georgia to join me in rallying behind Nathan Deal to be Georgia’s next governor. For those who supported Eric Johnson, Nathan is the natural fit for the Aug. 10 runoff.

“As a member of Congress, Nathan earned a perfect score from the American Conservative Union which speaks volumes for his conservative record….”

U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell is now the only Republican member of the Georgia delegation not within the Deal circle. …

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