Roy Barnes: ‘I’d rather be with these folks’

Forsyth, Ga. – In politics, it is a fine thing to be able to tell a voter that you prefer his company to that of the president of the United States.

Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes with Georgia sheriffs.

Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes with Georgia sheriffs.

This is the line that peach, pecan and row crop farmers from Houston County heard this morning during a private meet-and-greet breakfast with Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes.

It’s what the former governor said as he stood in front of two dozen or so middle Georgia sheriffs at a morning news conference here at the Monroe County courthouse.

“I’d rather be with these folks, if you want to know the truth,” Barnes said. “I’m not running for governor of Washington D.C. I’m running for governor of Georgia.”

He’ll be able to say the same thing in front of voters in Bainbridge and Thomasville this afternoon, and finally to workers at a peanut-shelling facility in Donalsonville.

And President Barack Obama – who was speaking in Atlanta as Barnes chatted up the sheriffs – was okay with the situation, the Democratic nominee said. Obama called after Barnes won the nomination on July 20, and raised the topic of his Atlanta visit.

“I told him that I already had a date planned, and he said, ‘I understand,’” Barnes said.

Though he and his staff portrayed the conflict as a mere clash of calendars, the disparity in location allowed Barnes to trumpet his independence to rural swing voters who will be crucial in November.

“I agree with some things that President Bush did, and I disagreed with others. I agree with some things President Obama did, and I’ve disagreed with others. I’ve always been a pretty independent type,” Barnes said – pointing to former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.

At the conference with sheriffs, Barnes very carefully read out each of the 28 serving and retired sheriffs who had signed up as supporters.

Though billed as a meeting of middle Georgia sheriffs, among those attending was Thomas Brown of DeKalb County – a close friend of Thurbert Baker and a supporter during the attorney general’s campaign for governor. Brown could surely have obtained an invitation to see Obama — if he’d wanted.

The sheriffs did not dispute the underlying assumption that their support would be more important come November than any president’s.

“The sheriff has more contact with voters than any other county politician. The tax commissioner – nobody likes him,” laughed Gene Pope, sheriff of Butts County – and president of the Georgia Sheriffs Association. “I’ve had people come to me. They’re running for office, and they say, ‘I’ve been told that if I want to get votes, I’ve got to go see the sheriff first.’”

Pope said Barnes is the only candidate for governor who’s paid him that courtesy.

Sheriff John Carry Bittick of Monroe County agreed: “We’re closer to the public than any other elected official – especially in the South or the West.”

In front of his sheriffs, Barnes criticized the closing of regional GBI crime labs that forced deputies to make long drives to Atlanta to deliver evidence. He singled out sex-offender registries as one of the many unfunded mandates heaped upon sheriffs.

“We require these sheriffs to check on all these folks. Good thing – to make sure we know where they are. But we have not provided funding, nor have we provided assistance to them,” Barnes said.

Barnes also criticized the closing of work camps that he had established for medium-security inmates during his four-year term:

“This administration has closed almost all of those work camps, which I think is unfortunate. I think we should look at going back to those work camps [as a place for] soft offenders. There are people that need to be locked up – but not forever.

“Particularly young folks. It’s remarkable what a six-month sentence can do to get some attention into young folks. We need places to do that. And people who commit non-violent crime – we need to use their labor.”

Barnes also declared that the state was periously close to a federal court takeover of its prison system – something that has already happened once, in the 1970s:

“We are defaulting. Everybody in the race talks about [cussing] the federal government. I believe in cussing the federal government from time to time. It’s a constitutional right, and I recommend it.

“However, we have three departments that are about to be under the control of the federal courts. One is Juvenile Justice. The other is Behavioral Health. They just filed suit recently. The third one that’s coming soon is Corrections.

“We know the parameters that have been set by the court. It’s the state’s responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Updated at 3:15 p.m.: Scheree Moore, spokeswoman for the Department of Juvenile Justice, called to say that Barnes was mistaken on one point. Said Moore:

“The United States Department of Justice ended its monitoring of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice in April 2009, therefore, dismissing the case with prejudice.

The monitors had a favorable report at the end of our federal oversight, citing DJJ’s major service improvements in the areas of education, medical, mental health, protection from harm and quality assurance.”

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100 comments Add your comment

lmno

August 2nd, 2010
12:54 pm

The President gave a wonderful speech this morning to the Disabled Vets. He represented the people well and should be commended for it.

George

August 2nd, 2010
1:01 pm

Imno;
FYI–Obuma doesn’t represent me on anything. No longer respect the office he holds, much less office holder.

Gloria

August 2nd, 2010
1:01 pm

I’m sure the President didn’t miss Roy Barnes. He is definitely exaggerating his importance.

The Penguin

August 2nd, 2010
1:01 pm

Funny article I read. The Georgia GOP-led legislature takes billions in stimulus dollars to balance its own budget then bashes the President on spending. If they had any gumption or credibility, they would’ve said thanks, but no thanks.

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/gop-reacts-to-obama-583363.html

Kevin

August 2nd, 2010
1:02 pm

Let’s face it– association with Obama is a liability. The surveys prove it.

PHD

August 2nd, 2010
1:02 pm

The Disabled Veterans that met with Obama were probably Georgians, as well. A small number of Sheriffs or Disabled Veterans….I know who I would choose. People over politics.

adcrwc

August 2nd, 2010
1:03 pm

Our president showed major support for our disabled veterans. He outlined ACTIONS taken to improve their lives. He outlined plans for improvement in their access to benefits. He did not focus on what had not been done, he was proactively speaking to positively influence our veterans’ lives. I’m very discouraged about local leaders…As far as I’m concerned, Congress and our local leaders are showing no respect for the office of the presidency. Worse, they showed no support for our disabled veterans. All they had to do was simply attend an event for a few hours. I believe that they will regret that when they, themselves take office and find so little respect for them and the offices they hold. Where was our governor? Where were the candidates for governor? Politics again. bah. I’m sick of it.

BTR

August 2nd, 2010
1:05 pm

Enter your comments here

APDOldCop

August 2nd, 2010
1:18 pm

“Words…Just Words…”

oydaver

August 2nd, 2010
1:23 pm

The governor was at Dobbins to greet the President, you footstool. Sonny’s got class, unlike the leftist radical academician who was accidentally elevated to the highest office. It will be so good to send these Chicago party hacks back to Chicago, never to be heard from again. Phase 1 – Nov. 2010. Phase 2 – Nov. 2012.

BABY SAY

August 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

ROI BEE SMARTT. NO WON NO BELEEVE DIS ..2 HE BEE SMARTT AN HUMBEL NOW. HEE GONNA BEE NEX GUVNOR. BABY SAY DIS. WHUT BABY SAY IN POLITIK GO. NOT NEEED MATT TOWELS OR BOBBI CON. BABY SAY…

Tommy

August 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

It is amazing how people want to distance themselves from Obama. He is coming to Atlanta and people are running from him.

- Roy Barnes – South Georgia
- U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon – help his daughter move
- U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah – stay in DC for minor medial reasons!
- Hank Johnson – the Guy who thought an island could “Tip over!” staying in DC

No one wants to be seen with Obama!!

At GW Bush’s lowest point in office people still would flock to see him, That still holds true today for him and his dad. Even Clinton or Sara Palin draws a big crowd. But when the sitting president comes to a capital city and everyone is to busy to turn out that speaks volumes of his performance. It proves the point the dems are in deep trouble in 2010 & 2012.

SRB

August 2nd, 2010
1:27 pm

While I appreciate Gov. Barnes honoring his commitment with the sheriffs, I also see his action as disrespectful and defiant toward the President of the U.S. I will have to think twice before voting for him. Stick to your beliefs, Mr. Governor… You made a fine Governor and I believe you are the right person for the job. However, your lack of President Obama support will be on many voters mind.

I am also from a family of many veterans it would have been wonderful for you to make an appearance to show your support.

georgiadawg70

August 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

Hey Barnes, for whom did you vote in the last Presidential election?

BABY SAY

August 2nd, 2010
1:30 pm

BOBBI::: BABY WONT INAGURALL TIKETS. YOU HEERE ME — BOBBI CON. WHUT BABY WONT))) BABY NEEED. INAGURALL TIKETS. NO WESTERMINSTER TIKCETS …. ((( INAGRUALL TIKETS !!!!!!!!!!! I WINT TU SONNY BOYS EVINT……..BABY WONT TIKETS…….BOBBY CON))) YOU NO HOO BABY IZ.

David S

August 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

He’s off trying to pretent that the pariah that occupies the White House has nothing to do with his own personal government philosophy. We all know better Roy. This same thing happened with Bush as the smart GOP folks kept him as far away as possible. Good to see folks finally giving the president the respect (or lack thereof) he deserves. Always good to see this for a president, regardless of party. Respect is earned. It should never just come with the office.

brett

August 2nd, 2010
1:36 pm

Adcrwc

Where was the outrage when our last president was treated like a villian by democrats in washington and in ga. How quickly forget or is it hypocrisy. Sonny and others can show support for disabled vetrans without standing behind obama.

Kingfish

August 2nd, 2010
1:40 pm

Truth be told, Obama didn’t want to be seen with that old cracker Roy Barnes and Roy Barnes didn’t want to be seen with Obama. It would have hurt both of them with their followers.

Uncle Jessie

August 2nd, 2010
1:41 pm

Roy, Saw you with Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane right behind you I quess Boss Hawg was a waitin off to the side. Me an Daisy and the Duke Boys will see you down the road, We was not thar wit them sheriffs cause we thought them Veterans up in Hotlanta deserved our support instead.

Patriot

August 2nd, 2010
1:54 pm

George wrote:

“FYI–Obuma doesn’t represent me on anything. No longer respect the office he holds, much less office holder.”

…Of course you are a flag-waving patriot, that holds up one of those mini-Constitution pamphlets. The POTUS of the United States was duly-elected. His office deserves the respect of everyone regardless of political affiliation…

However, I suppose this will fall on deaf ears and you will continue to shout loudly…”I want my country back!”

But the question to seriously consider is; Who are you taking your country back from and to whom are you returning it to?

Wake Up Georgia!

August 2nd, 2010
1:55 pm

Barnes should have been with President Obama today. The President has been faced with more difficult and challenging issues (from two wars, to almost depression, to oil leaks, etc.) than any President since Harry Truman. Obama has faced these challenges with dignity. He is not perfect, but he is smart and he plans things out and looks at the big picture down the road and what is best overall for the country. He faces a hostile right wing media (FOX News PR types) and does so by basically turning the other cheek. Americans just do not know how good they have it these days, despite some of the economic challenges. We were on the brink for calamity in 2008 and Obama basically has turned things around for the better. If you voted for “what’s his name” and the Republicans in 2000 and again in 2004, then you have no one else to blame but yourselves. It is called accountability. Voters have to be held accountable too. It is not too late for Barnes to repent, but he has to admit he paved the way for the Perdue and the Republican mess this state currently faces.

Joe Biden

August 2nd, 2010
1:57 pm

The Great and Powerful Community Organizer “stood up” by King Roy. I guess King Rpoy really wants to get elected.

The Centrist

August 2nd, 2010
2:00 pm

The comment that, “At GW Bush’s lowest point in office people still would flock to see him,” is a joke. GWB only came to Georgia to go to Reynold’s Plantation or Cobb County for fundraising events. Near the end of his disasterous second term, there were a lot of Republicans who had schedule conflicts and didn’t even make it to some those fundraisers. Besides, he never came to Georgia for a policy speech, let alone go anywhere the “common” people could “flock to see him.”

Bill Orvis White

August 2nd, 2010
2:01 pm

I just read how Roy is running away from Hussein Obama. King Roy cannot hide away from his personal and dear liberal friend, this incompetent installed-”leader.” How could Lil Hussein show up and give a speech to the men who sacrificed everything for this once-free country? If I were to organize that event, I would tell everyone in the audience to turn their backs to this Kenyan-born “person” who is selling this country to jihadists.

I’m praying Mr. Deal wins this runoff and will teach the good people of Georgia that Roy Barnes is a far left liberal September 10th secular progressive who messed with the teacher and got rid of the flag.

Amen,
Bill

KING JACK

August 2nd, 2010
2:01 pm

ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BAD MOUTHING PERSIDENT OBAMA, I HOPE YOU MAKE OVER A $1,000,000 A YEAR IF NOT SHAME ON YOU THIS IS WHAT THE gop IS LOOKING FOR REMEMBER BUSH LESS TAXES FOR THE RICH MORE FOR THE POOR

Joe Biden

August 2nd, 2010
2:02 pm

The Centrist

August 2nd, 2010
2:00 pm
…he never came to Georgia for a policy speech, let alone go anywhere the “common” people could “flock to see him.”

Hey, Centrist, to get to see The Great and Powerful Community Organizer, you had to contribute $1,000 to $30,000. “Common” people????

james

August 2nd, 2010
2:02 pm

I wonder why the republicans keep blaming the president about something president bush started in 2000. people you can not stop something in one year, that started eight years ago.

Joe Biden

August 2nd, 2010
2:05 pm

james

August 2nd, 2010
2:02 pm

Hey James, the Dems have controlled the money since January 2007.

Jewel

August 2nd, 2010
2:08 pm

Well, I made it my business to go and vote for Roy Barnes in the primary election…guaranteed I will not vote for him in the general.

If you don’t support the President who is a member of your own party…then you don’t deserve my family of 60 or more registered voters. Hopefully they will pass this on to their friends as well.

Shame on you Barnes and just to think we tried to give you another chance.

MTA56

August 2nd, 2010
2:10 pm

I do not support Obama & refuse to refer to a socialist as president! I will not call him a derogatory name but will borrow a phrase from Boortz & refer to him as the ‘community organizer’! He is not & will never be a leader! The last leader the U.S. had was Ronald Regan.

I will pray for the ‘community organizer’ however.
PSLAMS 109.8 – “Let his day be few and let another take his office”

KING JACK

August 2nd, 2010
2:14 pm

patriat if your country is missing the gop has it

lmno

August 2nd, 2010
2:20 pm

I think Obama is doing a pretty good job. There are a couple of things that I haven’t liked.

I would have liked to have seen a strong public option in health care reform.
I would like to see him aggressively trying to bring ALL of our troops home from BOTH wars.
I would like the Financial Reform Bill to have completely re-instated Glass Steagle, and to eliminate many forms of derivative trading.

But overall, he is doing pretty well.

Dollie Mollie

August 2nd, 2010
2:20 pm

I won’t vote for RON BARNES in November for governor. I had wanted desperately to do so, but his unwillingness to greet President Obama upon his arrival in Georgia has turned my stomach. If Barnes can’t stand up and take a stance with the President and the Democratic Party, then how can I expect him to stand-up and take a stance for me-a Black man?

Mike

August 2nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Both Republicans and Democrats have failed us.

Bush tax cuts while waging two wars.

Obama spending plans (Health care, stimulus)

Both parties have contributed to the overwhelming national debt which will continue to get worse if the Democrats find new ways to spend and the Republicans refuse to look at ways to increase revenue.

leo

August 2nd, 2010
2:26 pm

If Deal is the Republican candidate, I’ll be voting for Barnes. I don’t want a corrupt politician as my governor…someone who left Congress to run for governor because he didn’t want to face an ethics charge, someone who was named one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress by the non-partisan Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and a career politician who rails against Washington yet for the last 18 years has been a part of the problem.

ATL

August 2nd, 2010
2:48 pm

I WISH I CAN TAKE MY VOTE BACK, I HATED THAT I VOTED FOR ROY, IT WANT HAPPEN IN NOVEMBER. SAY NO TO ROY IN 2010!

Vince Calhoun

August 2nd, 2010
2:51 pm

Obama has been the most destructive leader and with his dishonest Congress, have wreeked horrible warfare against the American citfzen’s freedoms, protections, and economic survival.
Just look at what the Obama administration has destroyed through their legislation!
If I were a Roy Barnes, I would definitely rush to leave the Democratic party as fast as possible!
This is not the Democratic party of 40 or 50 years ago we all supported because it was a party of true Americans who loved their country and could be counted upon to tell the truth with honor and support citizens. No, far from it. More like a party taken over by subversives whose object is to destroy our American system, and already have for some extent.

Billy Joe Poteet

August 2nd, 2010
2:55 pm

I see some of y’all still don’t get it . . .

Do not listen to what the Marxist/socialist Hussein Obama SAYS. Watch what he DOES! He delivers what the teleprompter tells him to say very well. Obama can light the candles and make some of you yearn for the “change you can believe in”. He shakes out the chicken bones and you read “hope” in the result. You sell your souls to a merchant of destruction, for destroy he will. If left to his own devices, Obama will destroy capitalism which has provided Americans with the highest standard of living on earth. He and his fellow travelers have begun the destruction of the health care system in this country, and unless repealed, you will soon know and realize that the health care you and your family receive is substandard and difficult to obtain. He is increasing the national debt tremendously and unless he is stopped, your children and grandchildren will be able to give a first-hand account of true poverty.

For those of you who are Obama supporters, you DESERVE what you get. The only problem is that his non-supporters will have to suffer with you.

SWEAR

August 2nd, 2010
2:56 pm

SWEAR, I REGRET VOTING FOR ROY BARNES!!!!!!!! WHAT A SPINELESS, WIMP! I WILL CAMPAIGN AGAINST HIM IN NOVEMBER….YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!

SWEAR

August 2nd, 2010
2:58 pm

AND ALL YOU RACIST OBAMA HATERS OF GEORGIA…GET OVER IT, YA’LL LOST THE WAR 246 YEARS AGO…MOVE ON!

Billy Joe Poteet

August 2nd, 2010
2:58 pm

I know y’all missed me . . .

I’m back!

Desiree

August 2nd, 2010
3:01 pm

I wish I knew before the primaries how Roy Barnes felt about President Obama. I voted for Barnes. The President is not perfect, but pray tell who is? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Jesus Christ to those who wanted to stone the woman caught in the act of adultry. St. John No one even mentions the man she was with. That is how many of you think; one-sided. Well since a Republican Governor met the President, I will vote Republican in November. It’s my vote and I can use it as I please. I mean it.

SWEAR

August 2nd, 2010
3:06 pm

I APOLOGIZE 146 YEARS AGO…SWEAR, I’M FROM GEORGIA AND YOU ALL EMBARASS ME SOMETIMES WITH ALL OF THE IGNORANCE. HOWEVER, AS SOMEONE POINTED OUT TO ME YESTERDAY; IF WE DIDN’T HAVE SUCH IGNORANT PEOPLE RUNNING AROUND THIS GREAT STATE WE WOULDN’T HAVE PRODUCED ONE OF THE GREATEST MEN TO EVER LIVE….DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING. I DIGRESS, BUT REALLY, THE CONFEDERACY DIED ALONG TIME AGO…GET OVER IT! PISSES ME OFF! WHITE SUPREMACIST, CAPITALIST, PATRIARCHAL LOSERS!

Scarecrow

August 2nd, 2010
3:09 pm

Watch out Roy Barnes!!! This little incident of staying away from having lunch with President Obama could land you back on your a@#$! AGAIN!!! We are watching you and YOU know who we are!!!!

GA Ed.

August 2nd, 2010
3:10 pm

I love reading these comments. You can really tell who received an education in the state of GA. No wonder these kids down here are not that smart. This state is never going to get the respect it deserves because of the Roscoe’s and the Daisy’s that run it. The local reps. are just a joke. Georgians lack the education to make rational decisions on running this state. I guess it could be worse. I could live in Alabama or even Mississippi. Not much worse though.

Mary D

August 2nd, 2010
3:15 pm

Racism is alive and well in Georgia. Georgia’s elected officials do not want to be seen with the President, because they are afraid they will not get the white vote. I hope and pray that black people see the handwriting on the wall.

Rafe Hollister

August 2nd, 2010
3:25 pm

To all of you who voted for Rerun Roy and now feel remorse, let me say this. Once Obama’s dust clears, Ole Rerun Roy will come flying back to the ATL bringing you praises and hosannas and make it all up to you. He will say how badly he wanted to meet with Barry, but his prior obligations were just so important. He will say that he is sorry it worked out this way and if he could get a do over he would carry Barry from Dobbins to downtown ATL on his shoulders. You guys will all be swept up in his remorse and say you knew ole Rerun Roy didn’t really mean to disrespect Barry, he just made a bad decision and you will vote for him. He has such a charming manner with that soft drawl, the ya’lls, and yes mam’s. You gotta love the guy he is a snake oil salesman par excellent.

Q

August 2nd, 2010
3:25 pm

My job is the only thing that keeps me in Georgia…and the south all together!

Jack

August 2nd, 2010
3:33 pm

Hope Barnes can be elected and that he will have half the leadership and vision of Obama. The Republicans put us in this mess and we need all the positive energy we can get to regain our strength as a state and nation.

MiltonMan

August 2nd, 2010
3:37 pm

Barnes is independent??? Since when??? All I have seen in his commercials is that he keeps kissing the hind quarters of teachers within this state.