At 6:52 a.m. today, President Barack Obama sent an e-mail to supporters announcing that he would run for re-election in 2012. Call it a soft roll-out.
A New York Times profile of Jim Messina, his former deputy chief of staff and now his Chicago-based campaign manager, included these paragraphs:
The headquarters space is bare. For now, there are no Obama signs or posters, only a paper bag filled with office supplies and a stack of maps from the American Automobile Association, which provide an early clue to the state-by-state battlegrounds.
“It’s too early to look at that stuff,” Mr. Messina said, taking a seat in an empty cubicle. “If you look at the new census numbers, you would think that Georgia would be in play. You would definitely think that Arizona would be in play — as I think it is. Those are states where we didn’t play in last time.”
We speak of former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich’s efforts in Georgia to become the state’s favorite-son candidate.
But Gingrich may have to get past Herman Cain, the former U.S. Senate candidate, who’s expected to announce his formal candidacy this month. Gallup has begun including Cain in its weekly polling.
”Many people have never heard of Cain. His name recognition among Republicans nationwide is only 21 percent. But Cain creates enthusiasm among those who do know him, with a pretty solid Gallup positive intensity score of 19, which ties him with the much better-known Newt Gingrich.
“There’s also Congresswoman Michele Bachman. She, too, is less well known, but like Cain, she generates a lot of intensity among those who know her. It’s not clear that either Bachman or Cain has a real chance of winning the GOP nomination, but we learned in 2010 that fervor and enthusiastic supporters can make a real difference in low turnout races….”
From a conference in suburban Atlanta, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke this evening will issue a progress report on how Wall Street is recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, was the star of a Maureen Dowd column in Sunday’s NYT. The topic was the U.S. military’s effort to educate troops on the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy:
Two top Pentagon officials testified that the transition was going swimmingly, yet Republicans scoffed. Representative Austin Scott of Georgia demanded the price tag. Clifford Stanley, an under secretary of defense, replied that the training materials cost only $10,000.
Scott harrumphed, “If something was done at D.O.D. for $10,000, I would like to know what it was.” He said that hundreds of thousands had been spent training a soldier in his district to disarm I.E.D.’s, but the soldier wouldn’t re-enlist because of the “social policy.”
The Democrat Chellie Pingree of Maine jumped in to note that the cost of purging gays between 2004 and 2009 was $193.3 million: “It’s not only unconscionable … but the costs are horrendous.”
Scott persisted in looking for trouble, even after Vice Adm. William Gortney, director of the joint staff, said the Pentagon had seen no problems so far.
The congressman asked the admiral if he had ever dismissed anyone. Gortney said he had dismissed a young sailor who acknowledged being gay after “don’t ask, don’t tell” first passed.
“Did you discharge him from the service because he was gay?” Scott asked. “Or because he violated the standard of conduct?”
“Because he was gay,” Gortney said.
“He did not violate the standard of conduct before he was dismissed?” Scott pressed.
“He did not,” Gortney said.
“Well,” Scott said, once more at a loss, “that’s not the answer I thought you would give, to be honest with you.”
Gortney assured him there were “very few cases” of gays’ being dismissed for violating the standard of conduct.
As the weekend broke, Blake Aued of Athens Banner-Herald put up a post on state Senate feud and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s bid to regain authority over the chamber. It included these paragraphs:
Apparently Cagle had cut a deal with Democrats to help him restore his power. In exchange for their votes, he would put Democrats in charge of three committees and ensure that four Republican-leaning districts are redrawn to favor Democrats. Those districts are represented by Cowsert and Sens. Johnny Grant of Milledgeville, John Bulloch of Ochlocknee in southwest Georgia and Fran Millar of Atlanta.
Cagle spokesman Ben Fry denies any such deal exists, as do Senate Democrats. It should be noted that Democrats already serve as chair of four Senate committees. Which makes the above information a bit puzzling.
Nonetheless, state Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, on Friday pumped out this response:
“I cannot speak to the veracity of the story, but as long as I am the Chairman of the Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, the redistricting process will be conducted in accordance with the law and with the utmost integrity and fairness. As Chairman, I will not accept anything less.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider