TV war gets deadly serious in governor’s race

The TV battle for governor went deadly serious today, as Democrat Roy Barnes pushed out a dark ad that accused GOP nominee Nathan Deal of once attempting to weaken the state’s rape shield law – and the Republican Governors Association focused on a Barnes gaffe that helped sink him in 2002.

The Barnes ad:

The RGA ad:

Background of the Barnes ad

The script:

Male narrator: “It was my niece. If Nathan Deal had won his fight to weaken the rape shield law, and my niece took the stand, she would have been forced to defend what she wore and that she didn’t deserve to be raped.

“How many women could stand that insult? How many rapes would go unreported? Thousands of angry women finally forced Mr. Deal to retreat. And I haven’t forgotten. Have you?”

Click here to read supporting info from the Barnes campaign. Here’s the statement from the Deal campaign. Capital letters are always a sign of a ticked-off spokesman:

In the final weeks of the campaign, Roy Barnes has stooped to new lows in the race for governor, alleging in a new TV commercial that Nathan Deal attempted to weaken protections for rape victims. This comes one day after Barnes dropped an outrageous race-baiting mail piece that stated that Deal would threaten Georgians’ right to vote if elected governor.

As a former prosecutor, Nathan Deal is the candidate in this race who has fought on behalf of crime victims and HAS PUT RAPISTS IN PRISON. In the state Senate, Nathan fought to align state law with THREE Georgia Supreme Court decisions and with federal law in attempt TO PREVENT RAPE CONVICTIONS FROM BEING THROWN OUT on appeal. Nathan’s bill passed the state Senate with only THREE dissenting votes, which undermines any suggestion that this legislation was controversial or ill-advised.

This is a complete AJC article, from February 1991, on the event referred to by the Barnes campaign:

The phone calls began over the weekend and peaked Tuesday morning, after “the hall” issued an ultimatum: Leave the state’s rape shield law alone, or prepare to fight for the next several years.

The vote was unanimous for leaving it alone.

The hall – as women lobbyists at the Capitol have dubbed themselves -had beaten the second-ranking man in the Senate.

Under the pressure, President Pro Tem Nathan Deal (D-Gainesville) amended his own bill, which opponents said would have permitted rape victims to be questioned in court about their sexual past and their lifestyle.

The version passed continues protection for victims, and broadens it to cover all victims of sexual assault.

Mr. Deal, a defense lawyer, said he had proposed the revisions because the Georgia statute is vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. “The consensus is, that is a risk they are willing to take, ” he said on the floor.

Mr. Deal also backed away from a proposal to require oaths of children testifying in court. State law now leaves it up to judges and juries to decide whether a child is a credible witness.

Senate – and House members as well – were swamped with phone calls Tuesday morning from angry women.

“It had it’s own life, ” said Rebecca Keel, an assistant Fulton County district attorney.

At issue was Mr. Deal’s 164-page rewrite of the rules governing what evidence can be used in criminal and civil trials.

Beginning on Page 21, the bill declared that defense attorneys could question a rape victim about her sexual background, if the prosecutor introduced evidence that the woman had become pregnant or caught a disease because of the alleged attack, that she was injured, or that doctors found semen.

That, critics said, meant sexual history could be brought up if prosecutors presented any physical evidence.
Originally, prosecutors were the first to voice objections, working quietly with lawmakers to persuade them not to change the law.

Freshman Sen. Cathey Steinberg (D-DeKalb County) had voiced her concerns of the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee one week ago, but she decided not to press the issue. “I didn’t want to overdo my welcome, ” she said.

Ms. Steinberg joined the fight reluctantly a few days later, after the hall – a name drawn from the place women lobbyists spend their time at the Capitol – decided to take it up.

Attorney Margie Pitts Hames, who represents abortion-rights groups, called Ms. Steinberg and rape-crisis centers across the state after she stumbled on the change while reviewing the legislation.

Twice last week the bill was on the Senate calendar for a vote, and twice it was put off.

On Monday, Ms. Hames and other women met with Mr. Deal. Ultimately, Ms. Hames told Mr. Deal they intended to make the rape shield law a major issue of the General Assembly session, and the next session if necessary.

Mr. Deal was not available to comment on the meeting.

By Tuesday, all members of the Senate had begun hearing from constituents.

“I was very disappointed and outraged, ” said Deborah Gordon- Hernandez, an office manager for a Roswell computer company. It was the first time she had called or written a lawmaker.

Background on the RGA ad:

The script:

Female narrator: “We all remember the disastrous results of former governor Roy Barnes. Last in education. Leading the nation in job loss. But even worse was his callous lack of concern when two Georgia children died under state supervision.”

Roy Barnes: “Out of twenty thousand children, you’re going to have children that die every day.”

Female narrator: Unbelievable.

Roy Barnes: “Out of twenty thousand children, you’re going to have children that die every day.”

Female narrator: “Roy Barnes, Once really was enough.”

Here’s an AJC article from Nov. 2, 2002 that offers the background:

Sonny Perdue won a brief fight Thursday to show metro Atlanta a 30-second TV spot that features a debate gaffe by Gov. Roy Barnes.

Shortly after the Republican candidate filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, WSB-TV agreed to run the ad, which criticizes Barnes for a statement about deaths of children in state custody. The comment came during a Sunday debate in the station’s studio.

WSB-TV originally refused the ad, citing infringement of their copyright broadcast of the debate. The station relented after consulting the Federal Communications Commission.

The Perdue ad shows Barnes saying in the debate: “Out of 20,000 children, you’re going to have children die every day.” Immediately after the debate, Barnes said he had misspoken. “No child dying in state custody is acceptable, ” he said.

The Barnes campaign immediately responded with a TV ad of its own. “Sonny Perdue opened his campaign calling Roy Barnes a rat. Now he accuses him of hurting children. He’ll do or say anything, ” the Barnes ad says, referring to both the new Perdue ad and an early Perdue campaign video that depicted Barnes as a giant rat with a golden crown.

In the final days of the race for governor, Perdue has hammered away at the issue of child protection, and has denounced Barnes and other Democrats for what he said was a failure to deliver on a computer system that would give caseworkers fingertip access to voluminous files on abused children. It also would track foster children in state care.

Two children reported to state authorities as abused died this summer.

“It’s unacceptable that we would have children dying in state care, ” Perdue told a Dalton dinner crowd this week. Perdue and his wife, Mary, occasionally serve as foster parents for newborn babies awaiting adoption.
Barnes campaign spokesman Billy Linville called Perdue’s statements “morally outrageous.”

“For him to use these tragedies for political purposes says a great deal about Sonny Perdue, ” Linville said. He pointed to the hiring of 200 new state caseworkers and a $126 million upgrade in the state’s child welfare system.

On Wednesday, the Perdue campaign submitted the ad with Barnes’ blunder to TV stations around the state, attacking Barnes’ image as “a saint.” The campaign has bet three-quarters of all the airtime it can afford on the ad, said spokesman Dan McLagan.

Initially, WSB-TV not only refused to run the ad, but sent a letter to other metro Atlanta TV stations, warning them of its copyright concerns.

The Perdue campaign responded with a news conference and a lawsuit filed by attorney Michael Bowers, a previous GOP candidate for governor.

Perdue accused the station of censorship and favoritism.

As a motive for WSB-TV’s “intervention” in the race, the Perdue campaign noted contributions to the Barnes campaign by James C. Kennedy, chairman and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises Inc., and Anne Cox Chambers, chairman of Atlanta Newspapers. Cox Enterprises owns WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. State records show Kennedy and Cox each contributed $5,000 to the Barnes campaign in late 2001.

Greg Stone, vice president and general manager for WSB-TV, said copyright infringement was only one concern. The station had provided an hour of airtime for a prolonged discussion of issues and didn’t want the public to think it approved of the use of a 16-second “snippet.”

To settle the issue, Stone said, the station contacted the FCC. The agency replied just as the lawsuit was filed, saying the TV station had no choice. “In light of that, we’re now running the ad, ” said Stone, though he said he was “disappointed” with the decision.

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142 comments Add your comment

Karen Handel Supporter

October 15th, 2010
4:45 pm

That why I am switching my vote to Roy Barnes

Ralph

October 15th, 2010
4:51 pm

Just how low can Barnes go?

Oh sure you were a “Karen Handel Supporter”. Who do you think you are kidding?

AnnaGrace

October 15th, 2010
4:56 pm

I don’t see how Deal’s campaign can be so outraged. It seems pretty clear to me that he intended to weaken the rape shield protections and only backed down when the public pushed back. Why is that a low down trick, Ralph?

Aquagirl

October 15th, 2010
5:02 pm

In Nathan Deal’s world rape victims can look forward to being called a slut in court, then being forced to bear the rapist’s baby.

I can only imagine his sour puss when uppity women derailed his legislation. We just don’t know what’s good for us, do we?

John

October 15th, 2010
5:18 pm

That’s pretty rich that a gaybaiting, Mexibaiting has the cojones to be outraged over the truth.

Perimeter Progressive

October 15th, 2010
5:25 pm

Actually, according to that article, it sounds like Barnes’s ad has a point.

The Goobernator

October 15th, 2010
5:29 pm

Maybe it is a lowball attack ad. But Deal’s attacks, beginning with the primary race, were so vile, unnecessary and petty, that no one could ever come out with anything to match it.

Two more weeks, there’s still time for some red panties to end up in the driver’s seat of someone’s big boy pants.

Hmmmmmm

October 15th, 2010
5:40 pm

We can only pray that this mud will actually stick.

ATF

October 15th, 2010
5:45 pm

Deal just didn’t think.

Hmmm. Seems to be a habit.

Todd

October 15th, 2010
5:46 pm

Roy Barnes is a slimy little weasel who cannot run on the issues so he resorts to crap like this. What he does not understand is that what is most important is what our governor will do to keep our freedoms safe. Barnes is a power hungry maggot that will do or say anything to get elected – Deal is a regular guy who has made mistakes. Vote Deal!!

older conservative

October 15th, 2010
5:46 pm

Before the election gets here, I am convinced that the Barnes Campaign will swear that it is factual that Nathan Deal is not a US citizen even though he has a Southern accent.
Get ready, AJC, Mr. Galloway and others to be the first to report this.
NOW, could I please hear or read what each of the candidates plan to do to strengten the state of Georgia.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jack of Clubs

October 15th, 2010
5:49 pm

Well boys, it seems that Ole Roy is getting desperate and more desperate. When was the last time anyone heard in a TV ad what Ole Roy was going to do to help this state out of the mess we are in? Not lately. One stinky ad after another. Soon he will foul up the whole state such that out of staters will bypass us completely to avoid the stench. Po’ us, we’re stuck in it.

Bill

October 15th, 2010
5:51 pm

The only plan Shady Deal has to strengthen anything is his plan to strengthen his financial situation.

John

October 15th, 2010
5:51 pm

That’s exactly who we need as governor, “a regular guy who has made mistakes”, every redneck’s mantra!

Paul Milich

October 15th, 2010
5:54 pm

Here are the facts from the law professor who drafted that reform of the evidence code (me). The proposal was to adopt the Federal Rules of evidence which had been adopted in most states. The bill was sponsored by the State Bar of Georgia and included a version of the Federal rape shield act which the lawyers on the State Bar Committee and I believed was superior to Georgia’s rule in several respects. Senator Steinberg, who was not a lawyer, incorrectly believed that the proposed rule would make it easier to bring up a rape victim’s sexual history at trial. I have been an evidence professor at Georgia State College of Law for 27 years and can say without hesitation that Senator Steinberg was completely wrong and that the reform we proposed actually was MORE protective of the victim. And here is something else you should know. Roy Barnes served on the State Bar Evidence Committee that reviewed and approved that proposed legislation. Paul Milich, Professor of Law, Georgia State Univ.

Rape Survivor

October 15th, 2010
6:04 pm

@Paul Milich Can you expand on how the reform would have made it more protective of the victim?

I was raped 6 years ago and found that there was very little shielding during the criminal process…

Jawja

October 15th, 2010
6:04 pm

Deal is a self serving idiot!! I know you repubs are taking a shower after voting for him; not to mention holding your noses.

[...] into thinking Deal is going to disenfranchise them, and now trying to make us believe Deal wants to punish rape victims is beyond the [...]

Bill

October 15th, 2010
6:14 pm

Shady Deal has already run a heart warming commercial with his grandchildren telling libruls (whatever percentage of the state’ population that may be) that he won’t work for them.

Paul Milich

October 15th, 2010
6:19 pm

Rape Survivor: The Georgia statute allows evidence of the victim’s sexual history when “so highly material that it will substantially support a conclusion that the accused reasonably believed that the complaining witness consented to the conduct.” The Federal Rape Shield statute and the one that was proposed in 1991 by the State Bar has no such exception. The Georgia and Federal statutes are very similar in most other respects. To suggest, as the ad does, that the proposal approved by the State Bar would have abolished rape shield protection for victims in Georgia is simply and absolutely false. As the author of that proposal, I can tell you that I based it not only on the Federal rape shield statute but also the rape shield statutes of Minnesota and Wisconsin which were at that time considered in the forefront of protecting rape victims’ rights at trial.

He Just won't stop

October 15th, 2010
6:20 pm

I hope all you Barnes supporters follow him back to the toliet he hails from after he gets sent packing in a couple of weeks!!! Yep Next Deal will be a Russian Spy.

dorothy strickland

October 15th, 2010
6:24 pm

Nathan Deal really does believe women “are asking for it” when they wear short skirts and therefore”bring it on themselves” when they are raped. What a threat to women’s rights if he gets elected.

John

October 15th, 2010
6:27 pm

Why is Deal always mad at Barnes for telling the truth?

ROBOCOP

October 15th, 2010
6:30 pm

Aquagirl

Give ‘em Hell !

khc

October 15th, 2010
6:34 pm

milich if it was so good why did it get beat…..and did roy read and sign off on it

yuzeyurbrain

October 15th, 2010
6:51 pm

Deal and his current ethics lawyer also say Deal is not guilty of ethics violations for using his Congressional office get Hall County to take his private dirt road for the public, pave it and have it lead to the landfill he was acquiring and having rezoned. The reason: a Congressman can perform constituent services for his constituents. And who are the constituents: well, Nathan and his business!! And he says it with such a straight face that I think he has actually convinced himself. It shows the mine-bent of someone who has been a defense lawyer defending special interests his whole working life. Zero in on a word here, a word there in order to prove something that is not common sense. You can see the same thing in his rape shield law analysis. As Deal is one of those who voted for President Clinton’s impeachment, he should realize that most people don’t buy “It depends on what the meaning of is is”.

Last Man Standing

October 15th, 2010
6:54 pm

Paul Milich:

Sir, are you saying that Barnes’ ad is, at least in part, misleading?

Nancy

October 15th, 2010
6:58 pm

maybe if deal murders someone before the election I might change my vote. The AJC would probably set up a murder if they could…

catlady

October 15th, 2010
6:59 pm

Deal does what he thinks will profit him OR what his “handlers” tell him. We need a governor smart enough to do the right thing, and to think for himself.

hoyt28

October 15th, 2010
7:02 pm

I support Roy Barnes. He wasn’t teaching the children of Georgia when they were 50th, teachers were and parents, so who is to blame for their failure?

Just peachy

October 15th, 2010
7:05 pm

I find it ironic that Deal supporters always call bringing out the truth about him “negative” but he can create any ad full of lies and fabrications. He did it in the primary, the runoff, and now in the general. One thing is for sure this “four of four r voter” is voting d in the governor race.

Last Man Standing

October 15th, 2010
7:11 pm

Mr. Paul Milich wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 6:19 pm:

“To suggest, as the ad does, that the proposal approved by the State Bar would have abolished rape shield protection for victims in Georgia is simply and absolutely false.”

This statement seems to me to refute the ad. If I am missing something here, please tell me.

Aquagirl

October 15th, 2010
7:14 pm

Perhaps the purported author, Mr. Milich, should have explained all this wonderful new protection to Nathan Deal who said he was concerned about losing cases on appeal.

What a shame those irrational women just didn’t get it. Must have been their time of the month.

Bill

October 15th, 2010
7:20 pm

I appreciate that Mr. Milich teaches evidence. However, there are attorneys who disagreed with him regarding the revisions he drafted and that Deal pushed for. The 1991 article stated:

“Originally, prosecutors were the first to voice objections, working quietly with lawmakers to persuade them not to change the law.”

“Attorney Margie Pitts Hames, who represents abortion-rights groups, called Ms. Steinberg and rape-crisis centers across the state after she stumbled on the change while reviewing the legislation.”

Rape Survivor

October 15th, 2010
7:27 pm

Thank you for expanding. I found the Barnes’ ad focused more on fear than facts from the beginning. Unfortunately, politicians rely on ads that appeal to influencing people who don’t question facts, but just continue to based opinions on spoon-fed spin.

Last Man Standing

October 15th, 2010
7:34 pm

So what we have here is Barnes making a charge that is supported by an AJC article. How very unique! The AJC has heretofore been so favorable towards Mr. Deal’s candidacy, it is hard to believe that they might be working on a “hit” piece here.

I am not an attorney and I don’t even play one on television so I won’t pretend to know the specifics on this issue. I do know that the AJC, almost as if acting in concert with the Barnes campaign, has done its’ very best to paint Mr. Deal in the worst light possible on a daily basis. I will assume that Barnes’ ad and the accompanying story by the AJC is nothing but a continuation of their mission.

NoDealGeorgia

October 15th, 2010
7:37 pm

Here’s the difference between the Deal ad and the Barnes ad:

Barnes didn’t actually kill two children out of 20,000.
Deal DID actually introduce this law to curtail the rape shield protection.

The Barnes campaign is hitting on…facts. I know that’s something the Deal campaign can’t quite seem to comprehend (those silly little things called facts.)

Billy in Savannah

October 15th, 2010
7:38 pm

All this mudslinging is sad. I have voted for Barnes and still am convinced he is the more qualified of the two. There are just too many danger signs with Deal. (financial, being from same town as Cagle and the no bid contract).

Billy in Savannah

October 15th, 2010
7:39 pm

Savannah is voting 300 a day! (a blue county)

Last Man Standing

October 15th, 2010
7:40 pm

Nancy:

“maybe if deal murders someone before the election I might change my vote. The AJC would probably set up a murder if they could…”

Don’t give them any ideas. They would probably arrange it!

Cissy

October 15th, 2010
7:40 pm

Aquagirl, simmer down. You’re “thinking” with your emotions again.

And those of you who are challenging Mr. Milich on the basis of a 1991 article in the AJC…???? Are you saying that the newspaper always gets its facts, much less its inferences, correct? And even if the prosecutors did “work quietly” with the bill’s drafters, as the story asserts, who is to say that the prosecutors, at that time mostly “old boys” themselves, did not simply want to preserve the “she wanted it, yer honor” defense? The story, confusingly written at best, says only that prosecutors tried to convince legislators “not to change the law.” Period.

hitherebrian

October 15th, 2010
7:41 pm

Paul Milich: Margie Hames, as mentioned in the article above, was a women’s rights lawyer and also didn’t think the 1991 bill was a good idea.

Billy in Savannah

October 15th, 2010
7:43 pm

Last Man Standing: I cannot help but wander why you read the AJC if you constantly criticize them. (no offense intended, just an observation)

Aquagirl

October 15th, 2010
7:53 pm

Cissy, you question the AJC article, yet accept an anonymous poster is the author of the legislation?

You have yet to even *begin* a thought process, honey.

PP

October 15th, 2010
7:59 pm

My favorite line in the AJC article from 1991: Mr. Deal was not available to comment on the meeting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLpgaRYlrM0 Seems to be a pattern developing here. Mr. Deal is only willing to comment when he has his lies prepared for him ahead of time.

Home School Drop Out

October 15th, 2010
8:02 pm

Nathan Deal; the Blue Dog Democrat that was EXPOSED by a WOMAN in Congress.
They made The WOMAN out to be AWFUL; because she proved they had never supported any BILL that a PRESIDENT needed.

Last Man Standing

October 15th, 2010
8:09 pm

Billy in Savannah:

“Last Man Standing: I cannot help but wander why you read the AJC if you constantly criticize them. (no offense intended, just an observation)”

I gave some thought to giving it up, Billy, but then realized I’d miss your writing too much.

dorothy strickland

October 15th, 2010
8:19 pm

BILLY IN SAVANNAH…don’t you get it? LAST MAN STANDING is really NATHAN DEAL!!!

NoDealGeorgia

October 15th, 2010
8:20 pm

Also, head over to Barnes site. It’s not just one AJC article from 91 They put up a pdf file of 18 pages of articles that are all about this.

Hugh G

October 15th, 2010
8:22 pm

Mr. Milich, if the original version of the 1991 law Deal proposed was sufficient, as you claim it to be, why did you yourself backtrack at the time and throwout much of your own changes according to the Daily Report in 1991? And, to quote the article above, “Beginning on Page 21, the bill declared that defense attorneys could question a rape victim about her sexual background, if the prosecutor introduced evidence that the woman had become pregnant or caught a disease because of the alleged attack, that she was injured, or that doctors found semen.” How does this prevent a defense attorney from bringing up past sexual history any time the victim has physical evidence that she was raped? The exception you find in the Federal Rape Shield Law and Georgia Rape Shield law in regards to the evidence being “so highly material that it will substantially support a conclusion that the accused reasonably believed that the complaining witness consented to the conduct” seems designed to allow a Judge to use reasonable judgment in admitting such evidence while clearly setting a high bar to do so. By contrast, the 1991 law you mentioned seems designed to explicitly waive those protections in the event of any physical evidence, such as pregnancy, disease, blood, or semen. It removes discretion from responsible judges, and places the burden of proof on whether or not to admit the evidence not on the attorney who would invoke the history, but on the victim to defend it. In any reasonable circumstance, this explanation doesn’t hold water. If the bill was so constitutionally troubled, why has there not been a Constitutional challenge that overturned it? If the bill is so similar to the Federal Law, why has that law also not been Constitutionally challenged?

http://www.roy2010.com/images/stories/Deal_Rape_Articles.pdf

I know half of ya’ll are going to yelp based on where the pdf’s located, but it looks like the articles are legit.