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 Sanford Bishop said the Democratic congressman from southwest Georgia will be in the audience for both events.

But the list of Democrats who won’t be there is long and conspicuous.

Roy Barnes, the former governor and his party’s July choice to retake the office, has received the most attention for his decision to give priority to a Monday schedule that will take him through Middle and South Georgia. But there are others:

– Ken Hodges, the nominee for attorney general, will be in Albany for a case he’s working on for his law firm;

– U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon, who faces yet another Republican challenger, has plans to help his daughter move;

– U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah will remain in Washington for “a minor medical procedure.” And, yes, he’ll have Republican opposition in November.

– A staffer for John Lewis said the Atlanta congressman simply has other plans;

– And U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Decatur will remain in Washington to prepare for the September impeachment of a federal judge. He’s one of the impeachment managers.

Clearly, some of the excuses are legitimate. The congressional summer recess began only last Friday. Monday, then, is the first real day of vacation for U.S. House members.

Given their large African-American constituencies, neither Lewis nor Johnson has anything to fear from being photographed at Obama’s side. Barrow didn’t hesitate to appear with the president in Savannah this winter.

But it is simply a fact that many other Democrats can’t afford to be seen with a president awarded a 37 percent approval rating by Georgia voters just last month.

Republicans are sure to chortle at the snubbing of Obama as something rare and, thus, significant. But in fact, Democrats are simply re-embracing a long-standing Southern tradition.

As a governor and U.S. senator, Herman Talmadge would schedule fishing trips that coincided with the quadrennial meetings of the Democratic National Convention.

Sam Nunn, concerned with winning his first term in the U.S. Senate in 1972, stayed as far away as he could from Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.

Steve Anthony is the former chief of staff for the late House Speaker Tom Murphy and now his biographer. “Witness to History: A Memoir” (McGraw-Hill, $19.95) just hit the bookshelves.

One passage in the book dwells on Murphy’s reluctance to back Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988 — who was nominated at that year’s convention in Atlanta. The House speaker was at the apex of his power, but he had opposition at home that year.

“A reporter asked the speaker if he was going to vote for [Dukakis]. And the speaker deferred. It created a little bit of a firestorm with the liberal wing of the party at the time,” Anthony said.

“It wasn’t that they didn’t want to be engaged in national or presidential politics,” said Anthony, who now teaches political science at Georgia State University. “It’s that they knew what the voters of Georgia would tolerate. And when a candidate presented himself that fit that definition, they were for him.”

Murphy, for instance, was a reliable supporter of Al Gore. In the 2008 presidential contest, as the fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton reached fever pitch, Barnes was safely tucked behind the candidacy of fellow lawyer John Edwards of North Carolina.

But even safe decisions aren’t always safe. This week, the Georgia GOP sent out an e-mail with a photograph of Barnes standing next to the fallen, philandering Edwards.

Nor is the tradition of shunning national party figures restricted to Democrats. In 2005, Perdue — a year away from re-election — ducked an appearance with the not-so-popular Dick Cheney, then vice president.

But the fact that Obama is a sitting president has posed an unfamiliar problem for Georgia Democrats. Appearing with Jimmy Carter was a matter of state loyalty. Bill Clinton, too, was a familiar Southerner — sponsored and encouraged by then Gov. Zell Miller.

And the situation is made more discomfiting by the possibilities that 2010 has dangled in front of Democrats.

“My question is, when I first heard [Obama] was coming was, why did they do it? Who are the brains in Washington that thought, let’s do something in Georgia — and that it would benefit the candidates in Georgia?” Anthony asked.

“Here you’ve got a decent situation for a Democrat to win the governor’s race. Their move here could endanger that,” he added.

For the record, the state Democratic Party referred all inquiries about the Obama visit to the DNC in Washington.

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238 comments Add your comment

the ever gullible people

July 31st, 2010
3:06 pm

Notice how jim won’t explain why he runs the Courtney English story, but won’t talk about how the blue ribbon commission that is “investigating” the CRCT cheating scandal is full of people who have business dealings with APS?

As an “insider” he has to know about it, so the question is why doesn’t he have the journalistic integrity to talk about it?

Hector

July 31st, 2010
3:35 pm

King Roy can run but he can’t hide.

john

July 31st, 2010
3:51 pm

@anthony. The main reason the President is going to be in Georgia is to speak to the Disabled Veterans of America at their convention. Perhaps “the brains in Washington” thought that the man who leads our armed forces should speak to such an honorable group. I am sorry if speaking to veterans who spilled their blood in defense of our nation doesn’t fit into your parties agenda.

Ronnie

July 31st, 2010
4:58 pm

As a service-connected disabled veteran, I agree with you John.

Dawg '88

July 31st, 2010
5:18 pm

No one wants to be seen with a failure that doesn’t do what the public wants, demonizes those who disagree with him, and someone who has an in the 30s job approval rating.

You also don’t want to stand next to the face of the Culture of Death….a man who supports the dismembering Partial Birth abortion technique and votes against the Born Alive Act (law to give medical attention to save a child who survives an abortion…w/o it the baby is placed in a room until it dies).

And he calls himself a health care champion…Bull. Funny someone who was allowed to be born dictating who lives and who dies. Can’t trust:

Barack Obama….The Abortion President!!!!

MD

July 31st, 2010
5:22 pm

I won’t be there either but I will be in the voting booth in nov. to vote as many democrats out of office as I can.

JMC

July 31st, 2010
5:30 pm

John, you are much too sensible for the current political climate! Mr. Anthony should take a look at the first sentence of Article II, Section 2 of the US constitution. That might give a hint as to why the president will be in Atlanta.

WE lost our way

July 31st, 2010
5:31 pm

It’s sad that people put there election needs ahead of our veterans.Show you where their hearts are and it’s not whats best for our commitment to our veterans. I would like to ask Roy and all the others who have an excuse to attend to show their support.Put up as true Americans are shut up! Need to get out of the way and let true leaders lead.I am sick of all this party crap! To Hell with the parties.Do what’s right for America and our Veterans.

Keith Helms

July 31st, 2010
5:44 pm

If I were a Disabled Veteran I would certainly be on the front row to greet President Obama, And leave after I gave him the fickle finger of fate and informed him he is the sorriest President this country has ever had, in every way anyone can imagine.

Real GA

July 31st, 2010
5:46 pm

I am happy that President Obama will come to Georgia to speak to the disabled veterans. These men and women actually served our country and they deserve to hear from the Commander in Chief. By the way, the individuals who write negative commons about our president are some of the same people who did not think that he was going to win in 2008.

The president will continue to have the support of the true Americans.

Kay

July 31st, 2010
5:47 pm

I for one and excited to see that the President will be in GA….and if those Dems are too scared to be photograped with him, then that’s their loss. Serves them right trying to cater to these folks down here.

Kay

July 31st, 2010
5:47 pm

@Keith….bitter much?

Fire Eater

July 31st, 2010
6:24 pm

We need to fasten Mr. Obama ’round Roy’s neck while reminding folks who don’t live “ITP” that it was he who defiled and defamed the most beautiful state flag in America. Remind people that it is the Donkey Party that objects to the expulsion of illegal aliens from America…that seeks to outlaw guns.

Roy Barnes new tack on illegal aliens is especially amusing since it is the Democratic Party that has filed suit to void the wise law requiring voters to show official ID at the polls.

colin richards

July 31st, 2010
6:31 pm

To Jim Galloway: I quote you, “Given their large African-American constituencies, neither Lewis nor Johnson has anything to fear from being photographed at Obama’s side.” RACIST MUCH??? Many of us Conservative Christian parents who are involved in scouts and/or PTA and the Church love the Commander in Chief and the USA and not only support the troops but have many in our families serve. Racists like you are in the minority in Georgia, although I think most of you are outside the Metro area and suburbs. Most of us (who pay most of the taxes in Georgia) are good family people and are INTELLECTUAL progressives, not throwback web-toed racists. For goodness sake, PLEASE, Young people, and intellectuals, and progressives, VOTE in the midterms!! God bless America.

SHAME ON ROY BARNES

July 31st, 2010
6:36 pm

ROY YOU HAVE LOST MY VOTE!!!!!!!! IF YOU CAN STAND WITH US THEN YOU MUST BE AGAINST US!!!!!! WANT VOTE AT ALL.

AtlantaUGA guy

July 31st, 2010
6:51 pm

Colin… ease up a little on Jim. Since the Republican wave hit Georgia a few years ago, the numbers show that race and party are close kin here. Jim was speaking from a demographic/stats standpoint. If you look at the President’s approval numbers there is a very strong correlation with race (particularly with male voters). That doesn’t make us all racists. I happen to see myself much the way you described yourself. I also happen to be a white male who strongly supports Pres. Obama. However, I’m the exception to the rule in Georgia. There are too many racist for sure. But I don’t believe Jim is one of them.

Hear what you want to hear

July 31st, 2010
6:58 pm

@Dawg ‘88. President’s Obama’s approval rating is not in the 30’s. It’s slightly above 50%. I think you’re getting him confused with our previous president, who’s approval rating was at 25% when he left office, but not before he trashed everything in his path. Because of the disastrous decisions made by him and his totally incompetent administration, we now have hundreds of thousands more disabled veterans than we should. And oh yeah, the 4,000 plus who gave their lives for…hmm…for…remind me again what they gave their lives for?

And you’re incensed at him for what reason? Is it because he gave you access to affordable health care? Is it because he’s steering the U.S. economy out of the second worst predicament ever? Is it because he’s black? And before you start going off about our deficit, know that we were spending 10 BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH IN IRAQ (all totaled that adds up to about seven health care plans in the event you don’t own a calculator). Conservatives mouthing off about fiscal responsibility is laughable beyond words. Where were they from 2003-2008?

Sigh

Can we please stop pretending?

July 31st, 2010
7:01 pm

When will Democrats stop trying to pretend they can fool voters? Democrats running away from a Democratic president makes the entire party look spineless.

The number of voters who will not vote for someone because they went to lunch with the first African-American honoring disabled vets is far smaller than the number of voters who’ll stay home because they didn’t go.

Stop pandering to racists. Barnes has lost my vote, I’ll vote for other Democrats, but not him, not now.

Dacula voter

July 31st, 2010
7:04 pm

How is it racist to state a political fact? Obama has 95% approval among blacks- obviously Johnson/ Lewis are in majority black districts where Obama’s approval is still sky high- as opposed to most of Georgia. I know its the in thing these days to jump out and scream racism every time something is happening they don’t like or agree with it, but as AtlantaUGA guy said lay off here.

William

July 31st, 2010
7:14 pm

I have to be downtown for a cardiologist appointment. I hope to be out before the Naked Emperor arrives

GI Dolly...

July 31st, 2010
7:23 pm

Roy is a draft dodger, and continues to dodge the veterans…

Billy Joe Poteet

July 31st, 2010
7:34 pm

I am not a disabled veteran, but I deeply respect and honor those who have served and sacrificed for America. It is ironic to me that a President who has not served this nation in that capacity should address such an honorable group, considering the aplogies he has made around the world for America. His systematic destruction of capitalism makes it difficult for veterans to find a job, as it does for the rest of the population. The America for which these disabled veterans sacrificed is falling victim to the “change you can believe in” for a “hope” of socialism.

To echo an earlier post, I will not attend either.

I will be in the voting booth to vote against every democrat on my ballot, though.

Juanita J

July 31st, 2010
7:45 pm

MY MY…well I am a registered Democrat and the ones that won’t attend luncheon, or would not change their schedules or ashame to be with the President….I’m DARN ASHAME TO VOTE FOR THEM…SO, BARNES AND THE REST HAVE LOST MY VOTE AND I’M GOING TO SPREAD THE NEWS TO AS MANY OF MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS TO DO THE SAME. WE KNOW WHAT THE REAL PROBLEM IS………………………!!

Juanita J

July 31st, 2010
7:50 pm

Another thing, whether I liked Bush or not, I respected him. A lot of you have disrespected the President of these United States…He was elected by people of all races. Its a shame that Southerners are still harboring on the past, and can’t look past Color. If you are Demorcrat and running for office, you should support the President when he is coming to Georgia. Heck, Sara Palin is not liked either, but she is coming and coming with a Force…Democrates dishing the Pres…take heed………I’m really not going to VOTE for you because of your looking like a “:Fool”

get behind our country

July 31st, 2010
7:56 pm

It is sad that everything needs to be politicized and the journalists try to stir the pot at any (or anyone’s) expense. He is here to honor those who have served our country and suffered for America. He also serves our country well like his political views or not.

The way it works is that those who voted and lost in 2008 have an other chance in 2012. Please pare the petty statements that all those who like him are not American. America voted for him and also not for him but the majority for him. If the majority votes for him again OK and if it does not OK. It is the way our system works. Those who lost should not be so bitter. The pendulum swings both ways. The world will continue to turn either way. Stop crude political assaults now!

SickofIt

July 31st, 2010
8:05 pm

I am a long time Southern Democrat that won’t be there either. But like the earlier poster stated, I will be in the voting booth in November, to vote as many “democrats” out of office as I can!

Bring on the old Regan Revolution (true Southern Democrat mentality), Trickle down economics is a Hell of a lot better than “just print more billions” and let our kids and grand kids pay for it all (as new legal Chinese citizens I might add).

WideAwake

July 31st, 2010
8:07 pm

No one polled me. I support the President of the U.S.A. And will vote Nov 2010 with many others.

SickofIt

July 31st, 2010
8:11 pm

This LIFE LONG Democrat will be voting Republican for the next TWO years. OBAMA and the Senate and House has done more long term harm to the USA than ANY party in the history of our country. Sad that you will only read this on a blog instead of CNN,

SickofIt

July 31st, 2010
8:13 pm

WideAwake

lol

You and 20% of the other idiots in this Country illegally

SickofIt

July 31st, 2010
8:17 pm

get behind our country:

OK, But it will NOT be with an Obama presidency or a “Democratic” House or Senate.

It will be with conservative (true Southern Democrats). people that think like Zell Miller, Sam Nunn, etc.

SickofIt

July 31st, 2010
8:20 pm

Juanita J

“Its a shame that Southerners are still harboring on the past, and can’t look past Color”.

COLOR has nothing to do with it. COMPETENCE does.

SickofIt

July 31st, 2010
8:30 pm

Left in the South

July 31st, 2010
8:33 pm

Boy how many dumb a**es are there in GA. After 8 years of the George Bush trying to dismantle govt how can you idiots say Obama is bad. As a white Georgian I am ashamed at the ignoramuses in this state. You’ll back a quitter like Palin but not some who is competent and can actually form coherent sentences when he speaks.
Juanita J is right you are all a bunch of Racists.

Jill

July 31st, 2010
8:33 pm

Well said John!

Keith Helms

July 31st, 2010
8:34 pm

The facts are that Obama has replaced Carter as the worst president as for as governing goes. Obamacare is pure communism. I do not any able bodied person who does not work 60 to 70 hours per week one cent and any one who says I do is a traitor Another fact is the only reason we are losing in Afghanistan is because he wants to lose. He even tried to free some of the 9/11 terrorists by having them tried as USA citizens. Now he wants to spread AIDS throughout the military and elsewhere by supporting the practice of abominations such AS HOMOSEXUALITY.

Jill

July 31st, 2010
8:36 pm

Well said Left in the South! Many Georgians are so behind the times. Crawl out from under the rock you all have been living under. This is 2010. Get over race issues, etc. I hate how overly conservative and close-minded this stupid state is sometimes.

Gary

July 31st, 2010
8:36 pm

I am a native georgian and a military veteran. Sometime I am sorry to say I am a georgian. Mr. Barnes I for one won’t have time to go to the voting booth in November to vote. (I am a proud democrat and would never vote for Rebublican from Georgia). President Obama is only the sorriest president because he is black. I am old enough to know what this state was like during Jim Crowe and the only difference then and now is that the bigots was proud to own up to it. Now you bigoted hipocrits will lie to yourself and anyone else that call you out, that you are not racist. Why don’t you say the president don’t do what white people that thank like you want him to do. Why should he when you didn’t even vote for him. You are so stupid that Rush, Shawn, Neil and the Republican got you hating President Obama so much that you are voting againt your own interest. Oh, I forgot the Republican don’t have anything to offer but that is okay because race has always trumpthed anything or anyone when the choice is between a Black person with ideas and a White person without any. Nathan Deal hadn’t told you one thing about how he is going to “put Georgian back to work. But got you hating President Obama and anyone associated with him, Mexicans, and people that think a woman should have a choice about what happens to her body.

Jill

July 31st, 2010
8:40 pm

Whatever Keith. It’s called fear mongering by the stupid Republicans. Obama is taking away this, Obama is taking away that. What the hell ever. We are not experiencing Communism…dumb. Your comment is an abomination you jerk. People should be free to be with whomever they choose as far as your prejudice comment about homosexuality goes. Shame on you, you sad, pathetic loser for your out of line comments. God I hate this stupid state sometimes. Obama wants to spread AIDS?? OMG, do you hear how dumb you sound? I’ll pray for you.

Jill

July 31st, 2010
8:41 pm

Thank you Gary! I’m with you!

J.B. STONER

July 31st, 2010
8:43 pm

Left in the south — what kind of DA are you ??

Oblama is taking down this country one brick at a time..
Quit watching ABC and watch Fox news to get a valid report on this fool..
YOU ALSO ARE A BIG FOOL- FOOL !!

J.B. STONER

July 31st, 2010
8:48 pm

GOOD POST KEITH…

J.B. STONER

July 31st, 2010
8:49 pm

AND GOOD POST SICKOFIT

J.B. STONER

July 31st, 2010
8:51 pm

BILLY JOE POTEET—- GOOD JOB

Fact check

July 31st, 2010
8:56 pm

Yes Keith, Obama wants to spread AIDS through the military. That’s why the military requires all soldiers to get tested for HIV; because they are trying to spread AIDS through the military.

Keith book a flight to Washington; you’ve just been awarded the Congressional Medal of Ignorance.

Laura K.

July 31st, 2010
9:11 pm

Enter your comments here

Left in the South

July 31st, 2010
9:13 pm

JB STONER your tag proves everything I said. (for those not in the know, JB Stoner was a racist who ran for Governor in the 70’s)
FOX(FAUX)NEWS has already proven they are not above race baiting as seen in the Shirley Sherrod false story they were pushing.
I

Ted

July 31st, 2010
9:13 pm

As a veteran I will say – OK come on down Mr. President, but what will you tell us in a speech that we don’t already know. If I hear you say “It’s Bush’s fault”, I will stand and loudly remind you that Nancy Pelosi has been in charge for the past five years. Give credit where it is due – Nancy, Barney Frank, Rangel, etc.
Yes, you dem bloggers are right – King Rat Roy should have his picture made with the Won, so that every voter can see it at election time in November and vote against him.

Go Karen – she will beat him like a drum

Billy Joe Poteet

July 31st, 2010
9:14 pm

For those of you posting with regard to perceived racism:

This is not about race. It is about America and her future. If Obama and the liberals have their way, they will systematically destroy this country – and they have made a very good start of doing just that. No, I do not respect Obama. I see him for what he is and I see what his real goals are.

As for racism, I submit that the worst problem with racism in this country today is with blacks. They are the racists even as they accuse whites of racism. They have learned that if they scream “racism”, they gain an audience which they use to their advantage.

So spare me: instead of the accusations of racism, try supporting your arguments with fact and logic.

Left in the South

July 31st, 2010
9:15 pm

Billy Joe
Nothing perceived about your comments, you are a flat out f’ng racist.

Billy Joe Poteet

July 31st, 2010
9:17 pm

@Left in the South

. . . and you can CHANGE your tag to “Left the South”

I will salute your departure.