Your morning jolt: Bill Clinton comes to ATL for a Mike Thurmond fundraiser

A notice just showed up on the web site of Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Thurmond, announcing that former President Bill Clinton will be in Atlanta for a $1,000-a-head fundraiser.

The 5 p.m. Thursday  event will be at the Sheraton Atlanta.

The fundraiser will provide an excellent occasion for Thurmond – notice that he is “Mike” now, rather than “Michael” – to emphasize his connections to the Clinton wing of the Democratic party rather than the less popular wing dominated by President Barack Obama.

Former President Bill Clinton/Associated Press

Former President Bill Clinton/Associated Press

Thurmond was a 2008 supporter of Hillary Clinton for president, and his connections to Bill Clinton go back to the welfare reform days of the early ‘90s, when Gov. Zell Miller assigned Thurmond the task of working with the White House on the issue.

Thurmond was allegedly offered a federal post by the president/husband. But Hillary Clinton suggested instead a statewide run for labor commissioner.

Thurmond could use whatever money Bill Clinton brings his way. In terms of fundraising, and polls, he lags far behind Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson. Libertarian Chuck Donovan is also a candidate.

***

The long, three-day Labor Day weekend turned into an opportunity for two of Georgia’s candidates for governor to place some contentious topics before a distracted public.

On Thursday, well after the 6 p.m. start of local TV news, Republican Nathan Deal released partial tax returns covering 28 years – and declared questions about his personal finances closed.

The late announcement guaranteed that the partial revelation wouldn’t hit the largest part of TV watchers in Georgia until the next day – at the outset of the holiday. (See the TV ad that Democrat Roy Barnes pushed out this morning to revive the topic.)

On the Democratic side, an Associated Press piece on Barnes’ position on federal health care legislation was less premeditated – he sat down with AP reporters and editors last week. But the effect was the same.

Said Barnes:

“I consider it to be the greatest failure, modern failure, of political leadership in my lifetime,” Barnes said….

“Everybody recognized ‘we’ve got to do something here,’ but there was such partisanship on it.”

Barnes blamed Democrats for failing to explain the plan better and Republicans for not delivering reasonable alternatives. But he said ultimately the buck stops with Obama, as it did with him during his one term as governor.

“Listen, I made mistakes. I pushed some things that I should’ve reached a better consensus on,” Barnes said. “He did the same thing. He’ll learn.”

…But Barnes said — like Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue — that he worries the plan’s expansion of Medicaid in 2014 to cover more of the state’s estimated 1.7 million uninsured will leave Georgia on the hook for “staggering costs.”

“I hate to agree with Gov. Perdue, but I agree that this is one place that I think could be very financially devastating to the state until we get this ironed out,” Barnes [said]….

Barnes said current state Medicaid spending of roughly $2 billion could more than double to $5 billion once the federal government reduces matching rates back to more traditional levels.

The federal government and the state share the costs of Medicaid.

The federal government will pay 100 percent of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016, under the law. But federal officials are also under pressure to cut the deficit, and Barnes said there will be tremendous pressure in Washington to have states pitch in.

He predicted governors would band together to create fixes to the law that would make it more manageable for state budgets.

Barnes also said that while he disagrees with Perdue’s decision to sue to overturn the health law, he wouldn’t pull the plug on the legal action if elected governor.

“If the state takes a position then you have to stick with the position,” he said.

He added, however, that he believes the lawsuit will be unsuccessful.

Barnes said roughly the same thing last month before a group of Georgia sheriffs, on the same day that President Barack Obama visited Atlanta.

But his more recent comments contained two significant differences: First, the specific criticism of Obama – no doubt driven by the current barrage of TV and radio ads paid for by the Republican Governors Association, seeking to portray Barnes and Obama as twins separated at birth.

In August, Barnes also predicted that the constitutionality of the new health care legislation – which mandates the purchase of insurance – would be settled quickly:

”I think that’s going to be decided long before I am governor. That issue’s going to be decided in the next 30 to 45 days.”

That optimism seems to have disappeared — Barnes has conceded that the topic of health care will be with him through the November.

***

Gov. Sonny Perdue was on the stump for Republican Nathan Deal – and himself – over the weekend. From the Times-Georgian of Carrollton:

Gov. Sonny Perdue said Saturday that he has made the Georgia government more efficient over the past eight years and he thinks Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal will continue that trend.

“We want a governor who’s dedicated and focused on the job at hand, with integrity and honesty,” Perdue said. “That’s who [Deal] is.”

Perdue joined Deal and several other Republican candidates in Carroll County Saturday at the annual customer appreciation day and dove shoot hosted by North Georgia Turf.

***

Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal will announce a set of education policies this afternoon at the state Capitol. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson told the Gainesville Times that the platform will “emphasize math, science and technology and focus on fitness and nutrition.”

***
:
Meanwhile, at a Labor Day rally down in Albany, Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes may have been trying out a new jobs message. From WALB-TV:

Barnes says of Georgia’s 10 percent unemployment rate, 6.5 percent are those who have a high school diploma or less. Barnes said he would be in favor of raising the drop-out age, and taking more immediate steps to help business.

“All state and local contracts should be given to companies that employ Georgians and not out of state. We should in my view give a holiday on payroll taxes for those who hiring new workers for at least a year or two,” [he] said….

Barnes says it’s taken President Obama too long to get around to focusing on job creation in the United States, and he’d like to see the President create more permanent job tax credits.

**

Finally, a compromise offer on the expiration of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts may have surfaced Monday in the New York Times. This from an op-ed piece by Peter Orszag, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Obama administration:

In the face of the dueling deficits, the best approach is a compromise: extend the tax cuts for two years and then end them altogether.

Ideally only the middle-class tax cuts would be continued for now. Getting a deal in Congress, though, may require keeping the high-income tax cuts, too. And that would still be worth it.

Why does this combination make sense? The answer is that over the medium term, the tax cuts are simply not affordable.

Yet no one wants to make an already stagnating jobs market worse over the next year or two, which is exactly what would happen if the cuts expire as planned.

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15 comments Add your comment

Trentis Duirden

September 7th, 2010
11:17 am

Bill Clinton

Needs to be out to pasture & let burn some more flags.

Rafe Hollister

September 7th, 2010
11:42 am

Hillary is going to need to peal off some black votes in 2012 to unseat Barry, so Bill is just here to claim an IOU from Mike. I can’t imagine the 25 votes that Mike could bring to the table in 2012, would be worth it, but Bill is quite the campaigner.

DEM

September 7th, 2010
12:37 pm

I do not like Bill Clinton. Therefore, I will not vote for Mike. Okay, that is one decision made for the November ballot.

Logic 05

September 7th, 2010
12:45 pm

Now that Clinton has endorsed him…looks like Mike will be a winner …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….NOT

Joan

September 7th, 2010
12:53 pm

I hope Mike wins. However, I don’t like the fact that most high position Democrats are trying to distance from Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama could do a whole lot better if he had more support. Some started trying to block him from the beginning. I think it will hurt the candidates by not being associated with Pres. O. I’m a strong supporter of Mr. O, and I’m having second thoughts on voting for Democrats who distance from him..such as Mr. Barnes…..too. Mike I hope you win!!

Jenny Lee

September 7th, 2010
12:57 pm

bill looking for more interns…

Disavantaged Insider

September 7th, 2010
1:13 pm

Go on and sit on that high horse of yours Joan, and leave the governing — and voting — to people who get reality.

@ Jenny — right on!

[...] U.S. Senate race in Georgia is finally heating up – first with news that former President Bill Clinton will host an Atlanta fundraiser for Democrat Mike Thurmond on [...]

Lone Star

September 7th, 2010
3:24 pm

I have it on good authority that Clinton has been promised a box of genuine Cuban cigars if he shows up. Get ready, Monica . . .

Just Nasty & Mean

September 7th, 2010
5:37 pm

I wouldn’t go see slick Willie Bill Clinton if HE PAID ME $1,000! How this man holds his head up in public–and how he holds respect from any decent person—is beyond me.

Somebody needs to tell this lowlife to take is $100+m fortune earned off his presidency….. and just fade away…….

calvinb

September 7th, 2010
6:07 pm

GoodJob Mike go for it. Maybe you can convince President Obama to campaign with you. I think that Mike Thurmond will win Georgia in a landslide. I think that President Obama can also win in Georgia and the South in General.

Lone Star

September 7th, 2010
6:40 pm

calvinb:

WHAT are you smoking?

Doug Craig

September 7th, 2010
9:20 pm

This could be the first race where the democrat comes in third. the Race is going to be between Johnny “Big government” Isakson and Libertarian Chuck Donovan

calvinb

September 9th, 2010
5:24 pm

No I don’t think so. Mike has done a terrific job as labor commissioner. He deserves a shot at the Senatte Seat because Johnieee does not care about the working man. The working will determine the winner of this Race.

barbara

September 9th, 2010
5:29 pm

Calvin, why should Obama campaign for Thurmond? Mike Thurmond had nothing good to say about Obama during his presidential run. In fact, Thurmond thought like a lot of entrenched politicans – that Obama wasn’t good enough and that Hillary was the one for the job. Even now he doesn’t want Obama’s help, he prefers Bill Clinton because Thurmond still plays by the good old boys network. He’s looking out for himself just like he will do if he reaches the Senate floor.