Archive for May, 2011

Channel 2/InsiderAdvantage poll: Herman Cain ties for second in fluid GOP contest

The hoopla surrounding Herman Cain’s entry into the Republican presidential race has pushed him into a virtual three-way tie for second place, according to a new national poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage for Channel 2 Action News.

The automated poll of 770 likely Republican voters has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points – and shows the damage done to Newt Gingrich as a result of his poor start:

– Mitt Romney, 16.2%;

– Michele Bachmann, 11.8%;

– Sarah Palin, 11%;

– Herman Cain, 10.9%;

– Tim Pawlenty, 7.4%;

– Newt Gingrich, 6.4%;

– Ron Paul, 5%;

– Other, 5.3%;

– Undecided, 25.5%.

Crosstabs were not immediately available, but the Channel 2 report includes this:

The poll showed Romney with an edge among women voters, but Bachmann received the highest percentage of votes from men.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Norfolk-Southern: If voters approve, we’re ready to negotiate Macon-Atlanta passenger rail

One brick does not a wall make, but some bricks are more important than others.

In Georgia’s hot-then-cold pursuit of passenger rail, the missing item has been the working experiment – a short but substantial, inter-city line that could help us determine what is possible and what is pipedream.

Several weeks ago, a Norfolk Southern executive wrote a letter to Todd Long, planning director for the state Department of Transportation.

If voters in three transportation regions approve the measure next year, the railroad company is ready to sit down with the state and negotiate a passenger rail service between Macon and Atlanta, according to the March 29 letter.

Click here for a letterhead copy. But this is the content of the message from Joel Harrell, resident vice president for Norfolk Southern, to Long:

As you are aware, over the past 10+ years there has been much interest in the use of Norfolk Southern’s “S” line between Macon and Atlanta for development of passenger …

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Georgia Music Hall of Fame to close

There’s more to come, I’m sure, but the Macon Telegraph just posted this:

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in downtown Macon is scheduled to close June 12.

The hall of fame’s authority voted 4-3 Tuesday to shutter the museum next month.

A drought of state funding and a lack of visitors is to blame. Otis Redding, James Brown and Allman Brothers memorabilia – and much more — will be handed over to the University of Georgia.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal, Kasim Reed to make tag-team visit to D.C.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office confirmed Monday that he has asked Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to accompany him to Washington next week – for a strategy session on Port of Savannah funding with a bipartisan assembly of Georgia’s congressional delegation.

And if Reed could help arrange a meeting with other Washington notables, that would be nice, too.

“We’ve asked for a meeting with the president,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson. “The mayor has strong relations with President Obama. But obviously, that’s up to the White House at this point.”

Deal and Reed will be seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to deepen the Port of Savannah, so that the coastal transportation hub can handle larger ships set to begin passing through the Panama Canal in 2014.

The Democratic-Republican duo will also be paying a June 1 visit to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, to persuade him that Georgia is indeed serious about bringing mass transit – i.e., rail …

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Herman Cain: Barack Obama is no patriot

More evidence that we have crossed a kind of Rubicon when it comes to political discourse. From Cameron Joseph with the National Journal:

Throughout a Monday interview with Hotline On Call, Cain bashed Obama and his policies. When asked about Obama as a man, he complimented his family life. But when asked whether the president was a patriot, Cain hesitated. After asking for a definition (a man who is working to do what he sees as right for his country), he simply said “no.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Roger Ailes, Sarah Palin and the Fox News presidential machine

Using the departure of Glenn Beck as a starting point, Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine has a terrific look at Roger Ailes and Fox News’ (allegedly) faltering plans to groom the next Republican presidential candidate. It includes this:

All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. “You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger,” one GOPer told me. “Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.” But he hasn’t found any of them, including the adults in the room—Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney—compelling. “He finds flaws in every one,” says a person familiar with his thinking.

“He thinks things are going in a bad direction,” another Republican close to Ailes told me. “Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the …

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Time for Herman Cain’s close-up

So begins the scrutiny of Republican presidential campaign Herman Cain.

Mother Jones, a decidedly liberal publication, says the metro Atlanta entrepreneur was involved in some funny business while on the board of directors of a Midwestern energy company named Aquila:

According to five lawsuits filed in federal court in 2004, Aquila’s board of directors—which Cain joined in 1992—allegedly steered employees into heavily investing their retirement savings in company stock. At the same time, the company shifted its business model from straightforward energy generation to risky energy trading, an unregulated market made infamous by now-defunct Enron. The suits, later folded into a single, massive class action, alleged that Cain and top company officials violated a 37-year-old federal law requiring that employers manage employees retirement programs responsibly. (Cain’s presidential exploratory committee did not respond to a request for comment.)

The legal action was settled in …

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain corrects his Sunday statement on Israel

Following a week-old Republican tradition, newly announced presidential candidate Herman Cain last night corrected a statement he’d made on a Sunday interview program only a few hours before.

The venue of his error was “Fox News Sunday,” during a debut appearance that strayed into foreign affairs and the question of whether ousted Palestinians should have the “right of return” to Israel.

See the entire 13-minute clip here:

Said Cain, after bashing President Barack Obama’s speech last week on the topic of peace negotiations:

”I don’t think [Israelis] have a big problem with people returning. The issue is there are some things that they simply do not want to give in on.

Actually, Israel has a very large problem with the “right of return,” as Cain acknowledged last night:

”All Israeli governments have rejected the ‘right’ of large numbers of Arabs or Palestinians to return to what is now the state of Israel. Such an en masse return would unbalance …

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The day T. Boone Pickens met the Georgia tea party

Billionaire oilman and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens met the Georgia tea party Thursday.

The two forces eyed each other with some admiration. But don’t expect the relationship to flourish. They don’t agree on the basics.

Billionaire entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens. Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

Billionaire entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens. Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

The occasion was the 2011 Manufacturing Summit in Dalton. For the better part of the day, Georgia’s political and economic center shifted from Atlanta to the mountains — a region that, despite hard times, still can claim more manufacturing jobs than any other area of the state.

In front of 900 or so job-hungry citizens, dozens of state officials, business executives and academics pondered an unemployment rate that remains only a whisper under 10 percent.

The first prominent speaker was U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger. More than any other House Republican from Georgia, Graves has embraced the tenets of the tea party movement. He reflects his constituency.

“I’m here to get out of …

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Group that fought illegal immigration bill won’t support boycotts of Georgia

The head of a group that led the fight against Georgia illegal immigration bill said his and two other Latino groups will not support boycotts of the state or its products.

From the statement by Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials:

HB 87 is deeply flawed legislation that will be challenged in the federal court system. Absent a federal injunction, our groups will work to ensure Latino and immigrant civil rights are protected in our state should HB 87 be fully implemented in our state.

However, Georgia is our home and we do want our state to progress and develop. HB87 will make our efforts much more difficult, but as good-hearted Georgians, we will stand together to make Georgia a better place for all of us, including Latinos and immigrants. Georgia is home to almost 900,000 Latinos and thousands of immigrants; it is where we live, work, and play. A boycott would devastate Georgias tourism and convention industry. Many …

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