The Insider offers you a quick-and-dirty transcript of the conference call that Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal held with supporters this morning, to calm angst over articles dealing with his financial situation.
The message Deal was trying to send:
– The loans he co-signed on an outdoor store were made to support his daughter and her husband, which any voter should understand;
– He is not insolvent;
– Intimations that his debt, $2 million of which will come due in February, have any bearing on his ability to govern are out of line and of a political nature;
– If anything, his financial troubles mean that he understands the pain of the average Georgian;
Overall, the remarks are similar to what the Republican nominee told reporters on Wednesday. I’ve placed in bold the two paragraphs that are likely to quickly show up in news reports. Otherwise, Deal’s remarks below are untouched:
”Good morning. This is Nathan Deal.
“I want to thank all of you for being on the call this morning. I wanted to talk to you about something that has developed within the last week with regard to financial obligations that my wife and I have.
“It’s the kind of issue that sometimes, of course, surfaces in the midst of a political campaign. I believe that one of the responsibilities of parents is to help their children. And several years ago, our middle daughter and her husband, who – they’d both been traveling all across the country on their jobs – wanted to be closer to home, since they had the youngest of our grandchildren.
“My wife and I decided that we would help them in that venture. They were opening an outdoor store in Habersham County. Everything was going very well – as it was going with a lot of things in our economy at that time.
“But suddenly, of course, the economy turned. And that downturn is the worst we’ve seen in more than a generation. It obviously has taken down some of the largest banks. It has taken down some of the largest businesses, some of the largest insurance companies all across our country — and certainly hundreds of thousands of small business people across the country as well as right here in our state.
“Unfortunately, my children were caught in that same process. They’re store had to be closed. My wife and I had agreed to guarantee the loans for that undertaking. We’ve always believed that a responsibility of a parent is to help their children, and we certainly intended to do that.
“The obligations are certainly outstanding, and we are in the process of addressing those obligations. The press would have you believe we are insolvent, and that is far from the truth. We have assets that are going to be liquidated, including the place where the business was in operation, as well as other assets that we are willing to sacrifice in order to live up to our obligations.
“We believe that’s the responsible thing to do. Now, of course, on top of all of this is the implication that this in some way should have something to do with the governor’s race. I, quite frankly, don’t think that it has. I believe, if anything, this is an illustration of the fact that you need a governor who understands the pain that Georgians are facing.
“And certainly, many, many Georgians are facing the same kind of problems that my family has incurred in this business venture. Now, I’ve made investments over the years. Some have been good, some have been bad. This was an investment that was made on behalf of a child, and I think when you try to help your children, that’s probably always the right thing to do.
“Now, we’re going to live up to our obligations. It has nothing to do, in my opinion, with this campaign. The press would perhaps have you believe that this is an indication that I cannot govern this state. I tell you that it has nothing to do with that.
“In fact, I believe the fact that I understand the pain of Georgians is all the more important as I enter the governor’s office.
“Now, yesterday, I believe there was another article about another business venture that I’m involved in – a small business that is a very successful business. Something that my partner and I started from scratch.
“Like any small business, if you are a stockholder, you are sometimes asked to be guarantors on a loan for the corporation. That’s exactly what those loans are. The assets of the corporation and the assets that we own as individuals for the business far exceed any of those obligations.
“The loans are performing loans, and it is a profitable business. There again, this is simply an effort to divert attention away from the campaign for governor. And I want to tell you that I appreciate the fact that many of you have been reaching out to me and my wife, and to our family.
“We thank you for your prayers and your words of encouragement and support. And I want you to know that from the beginning of this campaign, that I’ve been attacked. And I think the reason is that the other party understood that I was the strongest candidate, the one most likely to win the governorship of this state.
“And, of course, the polls still continue to indicate that, and have consistently indicated it throughout the entire campaign. We intend to go forward with strength. We intend to provide the kind of leadership that Georgians will expect from a governor. We will do it on our personal level, and we expect to do it at the state level as well.
“These are still difficult times for many Georgians. And I’ll be a governor who has a perfectly reliable understanding of those challenges that Georgians continue to face. And I’ll be a governor who will work very hard to help make their lives better.
“Theses are the kinds of things, unfortunately, that are the dark side of politics. I think it is extremely regrettable when anyone tries to bring a candidate’s family into a political campaign.
“My children have suffered and will continue to suffer the consequences of an effort where they put all of their strengths, all of their time, all of their energies into trying to be a successful small business. That’s what Georgia ought to encourage.
“That’s what has made our state and our country strong – people who are willing to invest their lives, invest their own fortunes, and invest their futures. I am proud that my children were willing to take this venture. My wife and I still stand behind them. We’ll live up to our obligations, and we will move forward.
“I thank you for all that you’ve done. I ask you to continue to work very, very hard. November 2 is coming quickly. This is the kind of campaign where people need to understand that our state has great strengths. Just as families and individuals have suffered the consequences of a downturned economy, so has our state.
“The lessons that all of us learn from that are the kind of lessons that will not only make families and individuals, but will make our state stronger. That’s the kind of leadership I’ll provide. Thank you once again for all of your support, thank you for your prayers. Let’s get out and work extremely hard. That’s what my wife and my family and all of us are going to do…..”