A forum in downtown Atlanta, featuring the three candidates for governor and the largest teacher’s group in the state, starts in a little more than an hour, so we’ll let Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News set the plate:
Nathan Deal wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education, won’t rule out more teacher furloughs and once backed private school “vouchers.”
So the Republican governor hopeful may face tough questions today at an education group’s candidates forum in Atlanta.
Attempting to burnish his credentials on education issues, Deal last week released a plan to upgrade Georgia’s schools.
He and Democrat Roy Barnes, trying to win back his old job, are due to participate in a forum sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
Deal told the Chattanooga Free Press he’s for “the elimination” of the education department and said its funds were “not going to the children.”
“The federal government does not need to be in the business of operating local schools,” he also said.
He told the Athens Banner-Herald there might have to be more unpaid days off for teachers and it was “unrealistic” to rule them out.
He also voted to continue “vouchers” – federal money to help parents in Washington, D.C., send their children to private schools. Congress killed the program last year.
Such positions are popular with his conservative supporters. But they don’t sit well with groups representing Georgia’s 125,000 or so public school teachers.
One day after an AJC article laid out the precarious nature of Nathan Deal’s finances, the ground was littered with opinions of how it would affect the campaign of the Republican nominee for governor.
On Fox5, “Georgia Gang” moderator Dick Williams said:
I don’t think as a single event it will have a huge impact on the race. As part of a cumulative series of events involving money and trust, the danger for Deal is that the Barnes’ campaign can keep chipping away and erode the public trust.
Wrote Matt Towery this morning, on Southern Political Report:
I do not pretend to know what the revelation in [Alan] Judd’s story, indicating that Deal is nearly insolvent, will have on this race. One side of me thinks the public will have great sympathy for a fellow Georgian going through tough times, particularly when he spent the money to help his own kids.
But the other side of me says that Barnes may now have an opening to say that the viability of a relatively small “salvage company” that caused ethics issues in DC for Deal may have been more critical to Deal’s financial stability than we once thought.
The ethics attacks on Deal have not worked so far, and I’m not sure that this new and very huge wrinkle will change that. But Barnes now has a smoking gun he could — and I stress could — use in his “Deal’s a Crook” effort.
What he risks is making himself, a multimillionaire, look like a bully, picking on a hard-up dad trying to help his child. But what he might be able to gain is to demonstrate that he knows how to manage money – both his own and that of the state.
On his Crystal Ball blog, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia this morning declared the race for governor to be up in the air:
It surprises us to have this one listed a Toss Up. We are aware of a couple of public and private polls that show former Congressman Nathan Deal, the GOP nominee, leading former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes outside the margin of error.
Maybe it is just a matter of time before this contest becomes as Red as the Georgia clay and the overall election year, and that is the probable outcome. Yet Deal barely won the GOP nod and has ethics problems that keep cropping up in the news. Despite his stunning reelection defeat in 2002, Barnes is a wily politician. So at least for now, we decline to classify the race.
Political commentator Phil Kent tells us the Republican Governors Association has paid for 15 of these billboards across the state. We’ve only seen the one on I-75 just north of Marietta:
No word on where U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is on this point, but his colleague has made the plunge. From The Hill newspaper in Washington:
Nearly a dozen Senate Republicans interviewed by The Hill on Wednesday said they would write checks for their party’s surprise Senate primary winner in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell.
“Already sent it to her this morning,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). “She’s the nominee, and I’m going to support the nominee.”
Chuck Donovan, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, on Wednesday won the endorsement of political activist Joe McCutchen of Elijay, who has a weekly cable TV talk show that covers much of north Georgia, and can often be heard on radio talk shows across the state.
From the press release:
“I supported Johnny Isakson because I thought he would be a taxpayer champion,” McCutchen said. “Instead he turned out to be a pork champion. On November 2nd, I’m voting for Chuck Donovan.”
The Georgia chapter of Americans for Prosperity is sponsoring a bus caravan into the hinterlands of the state this weekend, to rally against government spending. The anti-tax group’s transportation leaves the parking lot of Dick’s Sporting Goods at 9 a.m. Saturday, and heads to Warner Robins for a noon gathering. A stop in Columbus is scheduled for 4 p.m.
AFP leader Virginia “No Relation” Galloway says Democratic candidates for Congress have been invited, but only their Republican challengers have accepted.
New York magazine has posted a hilarious dissection of how Jon Stewart and his team of writers for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” struggled over how to cope with the results of the Aug. 10 Republican runoff for governor in Georgia:
In the rewrite room, Stewart sits with head writer Steve Bodow, and co-executive producers Rory Albanese and Josh Lieb.
Stewart: Back on-camera, “In this time of anti-incumbent angry proxy fervor, I think we know how this turns out.” And then just cut to them saying, “Karen Handel lost.”
Lieb: Someone made the point earlier, Handel and Deal, it sounds like a buddy-cop movie, right? Handel and Deal!
Albanese: What’s the deal with Handel!
Lieb: Looks like Handel’s going to have to deal with handling, that … what happened?
Stewart: He’ll have to Handel with care the deal … what’s the deal with Handel’s deal? I guess Handel’s “Messiah” turned out to be a deal-breaker …
Albanese: I don’t know how Deal is going to Handel this situation or how Deal is going to Handel …
Stewart: I guess Handel’s “Messiah” … I mean, what’s the deal …
Lieb: I am so confused …
Stewart: What’s your Handel …
Albanese: Deal? A deal-breaker.
Stewart: [Pause.] How does Sarah Palin lose a proxy war?!
Albanese: She’s a [expletive deleted] grizzly bear!
Stewart: She’s a grizzly bear!
Albanese: Ain’t nothing in Georgia that could kick a grizzly bear’s ass! What do they have in Georgia that could kick a grizzly bear’s ass?
Lieb: The gay monster! Woooo-oooooo! Kick a grizzly bear’s ass …
Albanese: Gay monster, a Liberace face on
Stewart: A Liberace face on like a yeti, or something.
Bodow: I think actually the way you gotta do it is like a “Where the Wild Things Are” head on a Liberace body, like in the bedazzled clothing or something. Or what’s-his-face throwing a bucket of confetti with a werewolf head ….
Stewart: The gay monster … you know what, [expletive deleted], go Liberace on a …
Albanese: You want to do, like, a three-headed monster, like a Liberace’s head, Elton John’s head …
Stewart: Uh, yeah, but then you’re going to make it about them. At least Liberace just makes it seem ridiculously fictional …