Archive for May, 2011

A bouquet of flowers from Roy Barnes — to the chairman of the Georgia GOP

When newly re-elected state GOP chairman Sue Everhart arrived home from an out-of-town trip on Wednesday, she found a sizeable bouquet of flowers on her porch.

There was a card attached, which read: “I couldn’t beat Nathan Deal, but you did.” It was signed, “Your friend, Roy.”

Democrat Roy Barnes, defeated by Deal last November in an attempt to return to the Governor’s Mansion, confessed to the delivery – which followed Everhart’s defeat of Tricia Pridemore, Deal’s choice, in the race for chairman at Saturday’s state GOP convention.

“I admire Sue’s courage, and she has been a mainstay in our community,” Barnes said of his fellow Cobb County resident.

Everhart confirmed delivery Friday afternoon. “I will not deny it. I tried to call him and thank him,” she said. But if he truly, truly liked her, the former governor would vote Republican, Everhart said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: A majority of Americans now support gay marriage, says Gallup

For the first time since Gallup began tracking the issue with its polls, a majority of Americans say same-sex marriages should be recognized, “with the same rights as traditional marriages.”

Says the polling group:

This year’s nine-point increase in support for same-sex marriage is the largest year-to-year shift yet measured over this time period. Two-thirds of Americans were opposed to legalized same-sex marriage in 1996, with 27% in favor. By 2004, support had risen to 42% and, despite some fluctuations from year to year, stayed at roughly that level through last year.

Democrats’ and independents’ support for legalized same-sex marriage increased this year by 13 and 10 points, respectively. Republicans’ views on the issue did not change from last year. Clear majorities of both Democrats and independents now support gay marriage, 69% and 59% respectively, contrasted with 28% support among Republicans….

Support for legal gay marriage decreases markedly with age, ranging from …

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Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh: Criticism of Paul Ryan? It didn’t happen

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to local party activists earlier today in Waterloo, Iowa. AP/Charlie Neibergal

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to local party activists earlier today in Waterloo, Iowa. AP/Charlie Neibergal

Chris Good over at The Atlantic has one of the first accounts of GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s session this afternoon with Rush Limbaugh.

A day earlier, the conservative talk show guru had declared himself “befuddled” by Gingrich’s criticism of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to fix Medicare during his “Meet the Press” appearance on Sunday.

Gingrich’s explanation? It didn’t happen. Writes Good:

“It was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer,” Gingrich told Limbaugh, who was in the process of gently grilling him about why he used those words in the NBC interview.

Limbaugh asked Gingrich why, then, did he call Ryan to apologize for the remark, if it wasn’t made in reference to Ryan.

“It was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble which he doesn’t need or deserve,” Gingrich said. “My answer wasn’t about …

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Your morning jolt: The first U.S. vote to ban male circumcision

A world of campaign slogans come to mind, but few of them are printable. From the Associated Press:

A proposal to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has been cleared to appear on the November ballot, setting the stage for the nation’s first public vote on what has long been considered a private family matter.

But even in a city with a long-held reputation for pushing boundaries, the measure is drawing heavy fire.

Opponents are lining up against it, saying a ban on a religious rite considered sacred by Jews and Muslims is a blatant violation of constitutional rights.

If the measure passes, circumcision would be prohibited among males under the age of 18. The practice would become a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. There would be no religious exemptions.

The proposed ban appears to be the first in the country to make it this far, though a larger national debate over the health benefits of circumcision has …

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If a politician goes broke, who gets the campaign cash?

If your favorite politician goes bankrupt, can your campaign contribution — that $100 the U.S. Supreme Court has declared to be a form of free speech — be seized to satisfy his or her debt?

It is a question that has suddenly made elected officials in Georgia very nervous. Especially politicians behind on their bills.

State Rep. Jill Chambers in 2009. AJC file

State Rep. Jill Chambers in 2009. AJC file

Last September, at the height of campaign season, the roof fell in on state Rep. Jill Chambers, a Republican from Atlanta.

The art supplies business she owned with her husband in Buckhead had collapsed. The couple owed money. Lots of it.

Like far too many couples under economic pressure, they split. Still, their bills didn’t go away. As creditors often do, they quickly began scouting for pots of cash with Chambers’ name attached.

Such hunts are often a guessing game. And in a Wachovia bank, her business’ landlord chanced upon $60,000 — given by friends and the well-connected for Chambers’ re-election campaign. The …

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Your morning jolt: Is Fox News biased against certain Republicans?

During the state GOP convention in Macon last weekend, a number of Republicans complained of bias in the national media.

Which normally would be as newsworthy as declaring water to be wet. Except that the complainers were Herman Cain supporters, and the object of their discontent was Fox News.

Herman Cain speaks to Georgia Republicans in Macon. AP/The Macon Telegraph, Grant Blankenship

Herman Cain speaks to Georgia Republicans in Macon. AP/The Macon Telegraph, Grant Blankenship

The cable TV network was ignoring the Cain campaign in favor of old friends who served as professional commentators, they charged.

This spring, Fox News suspended, then terminated, its contracts with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum, both of whom were considering GOP presidential runs.

But how to measure pro-Gingrich or anti-Cain bias? Why, you call Media Matters, the liberal organization that closely monitors Fox News. Spokeswoman Jess Levin provided a tally of Fox News appearances by possible GOP candidates between Jan. 1 and May 13 – the day before …

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Video: A glittery end to Newt Gingrich’s very bad day

Tuesday was Newt Gingrich’s Very Bad Day.

The Republican presidential candidate had already been chastised by the Wall Street Journal editorial page. He’d been forced to apologize to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan for calling the congressman’s Medicare plans “radical.” And a news story wondering about his charge account at Tiffany’s had floated to the surface.

But no, Newt’s day wasn’t over yet:

From the Associated Press:

MINNEAPOLIS — GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista were hit with glittery confetti by a protester Tuesday during the couple’s appearance at a book-signing.

The man approached the Gingriches during the signing at a downtown Minneapolis hotel, dumped a cracker box full of colorful confetti on the pair and said, “Feel the rainbow, Newt! Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics!”

Two Associated Press reporters witnessed the event.

The man was quickly pushed out of the room by an event organizer as the Gingriches brushed confetti out of their hair and …

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Newt Gingrich apologizes to Paul Ryan for ‘radical’ comments

Just posted at Politico.com:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apologized in a telephone call to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday afternoon for his remarks on “Meet the Press,” where the presidential candidate referred to Ryan’s Medicare proposal as “radical change.”

“Newt apologized,” said Rick Tyler, his press secretary and longtime aide. “The call went very well.”

Gingrich, his nascent campaign in jeopardy, has shifted into fervent damage control following a furious conservative reaction to his comments — and is even expressing a rare bit of contrition.

From Iowa, Gingrich held two conference calls with tea party leaders scattered throughout the nation – one on short notice Monday night, and another Tuesday morning. Aides said Gingrich started each of the half-hour calls by explaining what he meant on “Meet the Press,” and acknowledging that he could have expressed it better. “We’ve tried to correct the record and admit it could …

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Nathan Deal vetoes effort to revive ban on anonymous campaign speech

Among the line item and bill vetoes issued by Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday was his rejection of SB 163, a bill that would have mandated that political literature contain the name of its author – as in federal campaign law.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia, was intended to undo legislation snuck through in 2008 by then-state Sen. John Wiles, R-Kennesaw, which deleted the state ban on anonymous campaign literature.

In his veto message, the governor cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision:

Senate Bill 163 attempts to address the issue of campaign communications in campaigns for state or local office that apparently have failed to provide sufficient clarity on who paid for the communication and whether a candidate authorized such communication. The issue of campaign finance reform has been a consistent theme in Washington, DC and federal court decisions have shown that any type of limitation on the First Amendment right to engage in …

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Atlanta Press Club protests barring of reporter

The Atlanta Press Club has written a formal letter of protest to Gov. Nathan Deal, declaring his Friday decision to bar a Fox5 Atlanta reporter from a bill-signing to be “unacceptable in a free and open society.”

See the background here. The shut-out was in retaliation for a Fox5 piece by Dale Russell a day earlier, pointing to $90,000 in payments to the governor’s daughter-in-law, who acted as a campaign fund-raiser.

Writes the Press Club:

We want to express our concern that your office used the Georgia State Troopers and police to keep a member of the media out of a news conference on Friday, May 13th.

We consider this action a disregard of the constitutional right of freedom of the press. Selective exclusion from a public press event, and enforcing that exclusion using taxpayer-funded state law enforcement, sets a dangerous precedent. It is unacceptable in a free and open society. And it is contrary to the rights granted by the First Amendment and the values endorsed …

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