His close friend Karl Rove thinks Donald Trump’s presidential ambition is one big joke, but Ralph Reed isn’t so sure.
Earlier this week, Reed’s name surfaced as someone Trump had sounded out to run his campaign – an idea that the former head of the Christian Coalition slapped down.
But in an NPR interview with Neal Conan and Ken Rudin on Wednesday, posted here, Reed declared himself “intrigued” by a Trump candidacy, and said he has encouraged The Donald to take a close look at the race.
The former chairman of the state GOP was first asked if the “birther” phenomenon was the fuel behind Trump’s sudden performance in national polls:
Reed: “I don’t know that I would reduce his poll performance to just one issue. After all, Donald Trump is somebody who’s been kind of a larger-than-life figure on the American stage for more than a quarter century.”
NPR: “Would he be a serious candidate?”
Reed: “I think he’d definitely be a serious candidate.”
NPR: “Could you support him?”
Reed: “Because of my Faith and Freedom Coalition hat, I’m unlikely to endorse pre-nomination. Or support pre-nomination. But I will say this – I’m intrigued by Donald Trump. He took a look at this in 2000. I think this is a much more serious look.
“I’m very pleased, and I think a lot of other social conservatives in the party are pleased that he is pro-life and pro-family and pro-marriage.
“And I think given, his business acumen and his business record, like Mitt Romney – maybe in a little different way with his business background – Mitch Daniels would be another one – [he] could really turn to Barack Obama on a stage in a nationally televised debate in the fall of 2012 and say, ‘I’ve run businesses and created jobs for 30 years. When have you ever created a job?’
“I don’t think that’s a bad contrast. I’m not taking sides in the primary, but I’ve encouraged him to look at it, and I think he’s looking at it very seriously.”
Not a few people in the state Capitol are looking at the following with a sense of irony. From the Associated Press:
Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens has filed a joint complaint with the Federal Trade Commission seeking to delay Phoebe Putney Health System’s proposed acquisition of Palmyra Park Hospital.
The complaint was filed in federal court in Albany, Ga.
It alleges the transaction would violate federal law by eliminating the current competition between Phoebe Putney and Palmyra Park Hospital in Albany and the surrounding six-county area. The complaint also charges that Phoebe Putney has used the Hospital Authority to shield private, anticompetitive activity hoping it would exempt the acquisition from federal antitrust law.
The filing came after the FTC vote unanimously to request an injunction of the merger.
In November, Republican Sam Olens defeated Democrat Ken Hodges of Albany – who as a lawyer has represented Phoebe Putney.
The National Journal has placed U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, in the No. 2 position on its list of most vulnerable members of Congress in 2012:
Armed with a 2009 Supreme Court decision that rendered districts with less than 50 percent minority population unworthy of special protection, Georgia Republicans could easily dilute the four-term Democrat’s 44 percent African-American district by dropping black precincts in Savannah and adding heavily white Augusta suburbs. This would create a district much like the one in effect during the late 1990s, a period when Democrats were locked out in the region.
On Wednesday, much attention was given to Gov. Nathan Deal’s announcement that he had signed legislation giving himself the authority to replace members of the Atlanta Board of Education, should that school system lose its accreditation.
But in his session at the Atlanta Press Club, Deal also declared that the state needs to be prepared to go it alone when it comes to the dredging of the Port of Savannah. Georgia has been pursuing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for the project. Writes Walter Jones of Morris News Service:
“I’m not going to place any bets on whether or not we get it,” he said. “We’re going to have to be prepared in the alternative to do whatever the state of Georgia and the [Georgia] Ports Authority has to do in the event that federal funding does not come forward in a timely and appropriate sum.”
This year, he convinced the Georgia General Assembly to commit $32 million in bond-borrowing to the project, raising the state taxpayers’ total investment so far to $125 million….
[Deal] recounted a conversation from his trip Tuesday to visit with bond-rating agencies.
“It’s amazing to me when you go to New York City and they ask how the deepening of the port of Savannah is going,” he said. “You know they are keeping up with what’s going on here.”
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is on a tour of Asia with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other members of Congress. They have already made a diplomatic misstep, angering Gov. Benigno R. Fitial of Guam, for not checking when they were on his island.
Fitial’s press secretary, Angel Demapan, said “while the full details of the trip are still unknown, we find it disturbing that such high level members of the U.S. Congress would go to Guam in secrecy and without any degree of courtesy to the leadership of the Government of Guam.”
“Like the [Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands], Guam is a member of the American political family. It is disheartening to know that our brothers and sisters in the south have been made to feel like second class citizens of America,” Demapan [said].
A spokeswoman for Isakson said no snub was intended. “The delegation stopped in Guam to refuel. They were on the ground for about one hour,” she said.
AJC’s Politifact Georgia takes a look at the Democrat claim that, by voting for a budget proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Bryan, House Republicans voted to end Medicare.
ong>- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider