Archive for February, 2011

Help wanted: Where will Newt Gingrich put his HQ?

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a little cloud journalism. Not a game of Where’s Waldo, but Where’s Newt?

Friends of Newt Gingrich have let it be known that the former U.S. House speaker will announce soon an exploratory committee to figure out whether he really, truly wants to run for president.

Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich. Associated Press

Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich. Associated Press

Gingrich is to make the news here in Georgia. One presumes that it will be made from the site of a local headquarters.

So if the man has already has rented new office space, or put a contract on said square footage, then it becomes darned likely he’s in the game. This is where we need your help. Please forward this link to your friends in the Atlanta real estate market.

If you’ve got a clue where Gingrich might land, sent me a note via e-mail.

We’ve heard that Gingrich has had his eye on Buckhead – which is logical. Many Republicans for statewide office have located themselves in the same general area. Eric …

Continue reading Help wanted: Where will Newt Gingrich put his HQ? »

Your morning jolt: Cut Paul Broun some slack, says Athens newspaper

The Athens Banner-Herald and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from the same city, might often be mistaken for blood enemies.

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

More often than not, one can often be seen or heard hyperventilating about the other. But not this weekend.

The Banner-Herald editoriaialists decided that Broun ought to be cut some slack over his handling of a town hall meeting last week, when an elderly constituent opened proceedings by asking “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”

Broun issued a strong rebuke of the question three days letter. At the meeting, the congressman said he was stunned by the comment and simply moved on as quickly as possible.

From the newspaper:

… Broun came in for his share of criticism on this newspaper’s website and elsewhere from people who suggested he should have forcefully rejected the man’s question as inappropriate. But, inappropriate as it was, the question did not come out of Broun’s mouth, and it seems …

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Those revisions to the House immigration bill? Get your copy here

State Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, has what may be the hottest bill of this legislation – an anti-illegal immigration measure that requires most businesses to use the federal E-Verify database to ascertain the legal residency of new hires.

Ramsey finished yet another revision of HB 87 on Saturday. This one’s likely to be voted out of committee on Monday. It hasn’t been posted on the official General Assembly website yet – but you can get your copy here.

If you see anything worth noting, please post a comment.

Here’s the assessment from my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon:

State Rep. Matt Ramsey has revised his bill targeting illegal immigration to penalize people who “willfully and fraudulently” use fake identification to get a job in Georgia.

Such people could be charged with a felony — aggravated identity fraud — under the newly revised House Bill 87, Ramsey said Saturday in an e-mail.

Ramsey, a Republican from Peachtree City, also has added additional language …

Continue reading Those revisions to the House immigration bill? Get your copy here »

The HOPE scholarship and a Democratic policy of engagement

Gov. Nathan Deal, center, with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, left, House Speaker David Ralston, right, and House Democratic Leader Stacy Abrams of Atlanta behind the governor. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal, center, with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, left, House Speaker David Ralston, right, and House Democratic Leader Stacy Abrams of Atlanta behind the governor. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

The most daring political statement at the state Capitol last week was contained within a photograph.

The shutter caught Gov. Nathan Deal in mid-phrase as he outlined the cuts he thinks have to be made in order to preserve the HOPE scholarship program.

The governor was the centerpiece in a sea of white Republicans — with the exception of the face positioned just over Deal’s left shoulder. It belonged to Stacy Abrams of Atlanta, the sole African-American in the frame and the new House Democratic leader.

Abrams’ presence, on behalf of her Democratic caucus, guarantees swift passage through the House this week.

But her endorsement caught insiders and outsiders by surprise. David Lucas, D-Macon, one of the most senior members of the caucus, had already filed a bill that would return …

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Newt Gingrich to announce exploratory committee ‘within 10 days’ — in Georgia

Continue reading Newt Gingrich to announce exploratory committee ‘within 10 days’ — in Georgia »

Paul Broun condemns town hall question, ‘Who’s going to shoot Obama?’

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, just issued a sharp condemnation of a constituent who, at a town hall meeting this week, raised the prospect of violence against President Barack Obama.

A spokesman for Broun also confirmed that his office contacted the Secret Service to report incident.

Broun’s relatively quick reaction is an indication of a changed climate since last month’s shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. The incident happened on Tuesday night, but didn’t get widespread play until Thursday.

A Broun staffer, as reported by the Athens Banner-Herald, almost immediately called the question “inappropriate.” Broun himself weighed in once it became clear that — this morning — the incident was developing national legs.

From Broun:

“Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; …

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Your morning jolt: Saxby Chambliss, the Gang of Six, and the apostasy of tax increases

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and the “Gang of Six” effort to shape a massive deficit-reduction package have sparked the curiosity of two of the world’s top business publications.

The Economist starts with the early conversations between Chambliss and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.:

To limit partisanship and keep the proceedings low-key, Mr Chambliss and Mr Warner initially only invited senators who were not seeking re-election and not part of their party’s leadership. When the deficit commission, led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, released its report on December 1st, however, the two Democratic and two Republican senators who supported the final report joined the group…..

The group now has an informal membership of around 30. They have yet to coalesce behind a single proposal, but are considering a bill that would instruct committees in Congress to enact the commission’s major recommendations, with triggers that would cut spending automatically and eliminate tax …

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Question to Paul Broun: ‘Who is going to shoot Obama?’

Early today, we told you of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s assertion at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County on Tuesday that he intended to use his new House subcommittee chairmanship to raise questions about scientific assertions about climate change.

What we missed was the blog post that came afterwards from Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:

At Rep. Paul Broun’s town hall meeting on Tuesday, the Athens congressman asked who had driven the farthest to be there and let the winner ask the first question.

We couldn’t hear the question in the back of the packed Oglethorpe County Commission chamber, but whatever it was, it got a big laugh. According to an outraged commenter on the article, the question was, when is someone going to shoot Obama?

Update: Broun’s press secretary, Jessica Morris, confirmed that the question was indeed, who is going to shoot Obama? “Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on,” she said.

Here was Broun’s …

Continue reading Question to Paul Broun: ‘Who is going to shoot Obama?’ »

A Republican’s question about Sunday sales and a liquor dealer

Last year, Liz Carter was the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Decatur.

Since then, she’s landed a local radio gig and launched her own blog, Politico Portico. Carter’s blog topic for today is her disappointment specific members of the Senate GOP caucus when it comes to the sale of package alcohol on Sunday.

She writes this about state Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, a long-time opponent of Sunday sales:

This morning, February 24th, I spoke to Senator David Shafer on, and off, the record. Needless to say I was disappointed to hear that yes, four years ago his committee gave a “do pass” to the bill, but he no longer supports the bill because the errors he corrected four years ago are back. Here is his official statement:

“Senate Bill 10 is flawed in its current form. Local communities should determine the hours of alcohol sales, but the bill would mandate alcohol sales until 11:30 p.m. on Sundays. Many communities end alcohol sales earlier than 11:30 …

Continue reading A Republican’s question about Sunday sales and a liquor dealer »

Vince Dooley, Herschel Walker on opposite sides of billboard fight

The House fight over a measure to loosen restrictions on billboard companies pit former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley against his former protégé, Herschel Walker.

Walker won, 98 to 68, as the House passed HB 179.

Dooley recorded a robo-call urging defeat of the bill aimed at residents of lawmakers in key districts. Less publicly, No. 34 made live calls to lawmakers on behalf of the billboard industry.

State Rep. Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla, said from the House well that he was one of those called by the former UGA running back — and that he had saved Walker’s cell phone number.

Here’s a transcript of the recorded message from Dooley:

”This is Coach Vince Dooley. I’m calling to alert you to House Bill 179 which allows billboard companies to clear cut trees on public property for the viewing of billboards on private property. This controversial bill would replace an existing compromise that was agreed to by the billboard companies and the environmental …

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