Barack Obama, Kasim Reed, and the ‘Don’t Panic’ button

After President Barack Obama’s all-important jobs speech Thursday, drop in on CNN about 9 p.m.

You’re likely to see Kasim Reed in a conversation with Piers Morgan, driving home the points that Obama didn’t. Or couldn’t.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Oh, you’ll see the mayor of Atlanta chide Obama — or rather, the people around him — and offer some gentle counsel. “I think the most important thing for the president to remember is that folks elect you to win for them,” Reed said in an interview Wednesday.

The mayor offered these bullet points of advice to the White House:

– Don’t be afraid to brag. “I believe that the White House retreated a bit from the extraordinary things that they’ve done, and frankly got a little exhausted from explaining,” Reed said. Saving the auto industry, creating 2.4 million jobs, extending health care to millions and such.

– “Then you have to explain to people what you’re going to do for them in the future. You’ve got to talk about how you’re going to make sure unemployment benefits are extended, and you’re going to fight for them and get it done no matter what it takes,” Reed said.

– Don’t be too reasonable with unreasonable people, especially during “small-ball” exchanges like those that surrounded the debt-ceiling debate. But don’t refer to your opponents as Republicans. “He has to make this about people who are in the way of the success of the United States of America,” the mayor said. “There hasn’t been a consistent argument that [they’re] putting America’s international prestige at risk through this extraordinarily vicious infighting.”

– Those shovel-ready projects that were funded with stimulus money and still haven’t produced? Twist some arms and get them started. “I don’t believe it’s a smart approach for the White House to simply tell folks who got about $175 billion that it’s OK for you to take your time,” Reed said.

– And remember the Port of Savannah and the millions it needs for dredging. “He has to have a very plain message on why we can’t allow America’s infrastructure to fall apart,” Reed said.

But the mayor of Atlanta has become more than a cheerleader for the Obama campaign — especially given this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll, which showed two-thirds of Democrats dissatisfied with the direction of the country.

Reed has become the fellow with his finger on a big, red button embossed with the words “Don’t Panic.” And he’s pushing it in some very public places — wherever Democrats, particularly African-Americans, express frustration or worry.

Last week, in an interview on MSNBC, Reed took aim at African-American leaders who complained that blacks had not benefited from an Obama administration.

Déjà vu had to have kicked in. During a tight race for mayor of Atlanta that depended on racial coalitions, Reed struggled to make sure that he wasn’t perceived as the “black” candidate — at the same time he had to maintain his unquestioned strength among an African-American base.

Two years later, Reed is Obama’s emissary, helping America’s first black president over the same hurdle. “We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult for this president, because of the historical nature of his presidency, to have the kind of conversation that many in our community would like to have focused solely on African-American people,” the mayor told Chuck Todd.

Reed continued in much the same vein on Wednesday. First of all, to say that African-Americans are suffering more than others during this downturn is simply stating the obvious, he said. “We were always going to suffer disproportionately.”

“The more important argument is, who is your alternative? [African-American critics] are on a path where they’re going to weaken this president in a way that makes him vulnerable in a general election against Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney or Rick Perry,” he said.

But there are alternatives. Oddly enough, the search again involves a bit of déjà vu and Atlanta’s ’09 race for mayor. In the runoff, Reed defeated Mary Norwood, a white neighborhood activist.

A third candidate in the race was Lisa Borders, then president of the Atlanta City Council. Borders, an African-American, attempted to chart a middle course between black and white, between Democratic and Republican. She was squeezed out.

In addition to being president of the Grady Health Foundation, Borders has become a co-founder of No Labels, a group intended to give voice to those frustrated with Washington gridlock. She was at a New York event on Tuesday that featured Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his Lysistrata-like idea.

No campaign funds for any politician until they straighten up. Cut ’em off.

Borders says No Labels has been trying to prop up the Gang of Six effort on deficit reduction, pushed by U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

Yet she remains a supporter of Obama, despite his imperfections. “He needs a better PR machine. Kasim can help him there, for sure,” Borders said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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84 comments Add your comment

thewindwhistler

September 7th, 2011
6:28 pm

I see the President painting a glossy picture for illegal immigrants in the country. Now is the time with all the illegal immigrants, getting voting status is priority number one. There are 11 million and counting.

eatmotacos

September 7th, 2011
6:30 pm

Again, this conversation is irrelevant. In 2008 Obama received 47% of Georgia’s popular vote, but McCain received 100% of Georgia’s electoral votes. The popular vote doesn’t count. African-Americans will not turn out in 2012 in the same numbers as in 2008, and the popular vote margin will be even greater in favor of the Republicans.

gm

September 7th, 2011
6:33 pm

Black Caucus, Al Sharpton, VA, several Dem orgainizations have sponsored several jobs fair for people looking for work.
Could someone please tell me how many job fair has Rush, Hannity, Sara the idiot have sponsored? Oh I know, the money making machines can not do that because how will they continue to make their money off the bigots idiots of the tea party.

eatmotacos

September 7th, 2011
6:36 pm

@ windwhistler
Obama is pandering to the Hispanics to win heavily Hispanic states with big electoral votes, like Florida and California.

TruthBe

September 7th, 2011
6:43 pm

Kasim Reed is a RACIST LIAR. Remember towards the end of the Atlanta Mayor’s Election the sister company of the criminal organization ACORN came to Reed’s help because he was losing. Acorn said to Get Out the Vote and vote for Reed. Blacks telling other blacks to get out and vote (bused in on our dime) and vote for Reed and “Don’t let Whitey win” The Clark University Profressors held a Meeting on the campus and repeted the same thing “Get out the vote Atlanta and vote for Reed and don’t let Whitey Win”. Why don’t you ask Reed and Franklin about their involvement with Delta Airlines????? Under the table deals with Atlanta’s biggest Airline. Ex-Mayor Franklin gave away some consessions to Delta on her way out of office and now she works for Delta. No Reed is trying to lick the ass of Obama and get a bigger job in Washington period. Reed and other career Black politicans will ALL vote for Obama because he is BLACK period. Reverse racism.

gm

September 7th, 2011
6:50 pm

TruthBe
You sound like a sick loser, so when whites vote for whites is that racism, I did not hear hypocrites idiots like you say anything when Dick Cheney and his company was stealing tax payers money building up Irag?????

TruthBe

September 7th, 2011
6:53 pm

gm, All these job fairs “black Job Fairs” only. Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, SPLC, the democrat party, and the CBC are all race pimps. How would you like it if there was a Congressional White Caucas that only look after Caucasian’s affairs and well being just like the CBC does? How about Whites Only like the NAACP, Urban League, Southern poverty Law Center, Rainbow Coalition, Al’s Network, and the ACLU?? What about it gm?

TruthBe

September 7th, 2011
6:56 pm

gm, Alot of Whites voted for Reed and Obama dude. Your arguement is so limp. What about Acorn and the Clark Unversity’s words and actions. Do you have nothing to say about that. I guess in your racist head that’s ok?

td

September 7th, 2011
7:12 pm

The majority of African Americans in this country live in GA, SC, AL, Miss, AK, LA, FL and NC. The only ones whose vote counted was in FL and NC. The rest of them did not have a vote in elected Obama.

TruthBe

September 7th, 2011
7:21 pm

td, Have ever you been in Chicago, LA, NYC, Philly, Detroit, Denver, Columbus OH, and other large Norhtern and Western Cities. There is lots of Black Folks in those Cities that voted for Obama because he is Black period. Just ask Colin Powell. All votes count and sometimes they are counted twice isn’t that so Acorn.

RGB

September 7th, 2011
7:32 pm

“….so when whites vote for whites is that racism….”

I’ve never seen 92% of whites vote for a white candidate nationwide. Have you?

You can’t get 92% of any group to agree on anything–except blacks voting for Obama.

Racism? I’d say indeed it is. And if you’re honest with yourself you’ll acknowledge the same.

As a point of interest, the only 2 blacks newly elected to Congress last time are members of the Republican party.

TruthBeDamned

September 7th, 2011
7:50 pm

TB, the fact that you just lumped the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center in with the NAACP and Rainbow PUSH coalition exposes your ignorance. Is it willful or should I feel sorry for you? And give it up about ACORN, the facts have come out since that story broke and and multiple independent investigations have shown that ACORN employees DID NOT engagd in criminal activities and that the organization managed its federal funding appropriately. Furthermore, anyone who has followed the story knows that O’Keefe and his undercover videos were selectively edited ala propaganda to create a story where there was none. But don’t let the facts get in your way, god forbid.

Raquel Morris

September 7th, 2011
7:54 pm

Jim, put down the Kasim Reed Kool Aid. Reed spent $1.3 million making sure Atlantans knew that he was the Black/Democrat/progressive candidate and that Mary Norwood was going to put us to work in the fields in Buckhead. Remember Maynard’s wife saying that Blacks had been hoodwinked and bamboozled by Norwood?

smart dawg

September 7th, 2011
7:58 pm

My money says the NFL game gets more viewers than obama’s speech. The speech is a rerun: we’ve already heard it.

Ga Values

September 7th, 2011
8:05 pm

With Reed it is all about the money, how much He & the Jackson Family can skim off the airport, beltway, APS, & MARTA

Dawg'88

September 7th, 2011
8:10 pm

Ok…so Reid is saying Obama should lie about the extra ordinary things that he has done.
Only one extra (out of the) ordinary thing that he has done….He has advanced the Culture of Death, Mr. Reid.

He is the face of abortion and Planned Parenthood…yep..great accomplishments. He sold his soul to the devil to win an election. He will not protect the most vulnerable Americans…the unborn. He is for the right to dismember unborn children….verbal engineering calls it “choice” or “abortion”.

Its the taking apart limb by limb of a child. Dismemberment, Mr. Reid. How can anyone support someone who favors such a heinous crime of death to a baby. Unreal. Without a doubt this is the most immoral and irrational generation of our nation’s history.

Barack Obama……..The Abortion President….Now thats an acomplishment.

God is Pro-Life…BO is not!

James in Athens

September 7th, 2011
8:13 pm

Smart Dawg is correct- NFL game will draw more viewers
then OBAMA for sure. No one can be happy with this President
I don’t care what party you favor he will say nothing but
the same things he always says which is pretty much nothing.
The Economy stinks and I doubt it will be much better a year from
now. If we are all smart we vote out not only Obama but any
Congress person that has been in office more then 2 terms….
Get rid of the career do nothing politic slugs in Washington DC….

Dirty Harry

September 7th, 2011
8:51 pm

Maybe Kasim Reed needs to worry more about dump of a city that he is supposed to run………Atlanta is just a huge sewer!

Congressional Black Caucus

September 7th, 2011
9:01 pm

I not no dat Merry Norwood be the Repub tea par-t candidate

double

September 7th, 2011
9:18 pm

Kasim say don’t be afraid to brag.If that is what it takes to win, I could pick a winner if he was running.

Jack

September 7th, 2011
9:37 pm

I have no problem with the president’s skin color; I do have a problem with his Marxism. And I agree with a previous blogger that Reed needs to tend to Atlanta’s problems rather than be concerned about a future Washington job.

m

September 7th, 2011
9:37 pm

Nick

September 7th, 2011
9:39 pm

@Dawg ‘88

Check your facts. The number of abortions in the United States are actually decreasing and have been for the past 20 years.

patricia bloeser

September 7th, 2011
9:44 pm

I believe Mr. Reed was educated in the DC area and is obviously interested in heading back there. I just hope he takes care of Atlanta on his way out.

Congressional Black Caucus

September 7th, 2011
9:49 pm

P Bo better be takin care of da hood…….extend dem unemploy bennies…..I need it for mo votes

The Truth

September 7th, 2011
9:50 pm

Nick,

Since you like facts…..please enlighten us on exactly where you are getting yours?

Dirty Harry

September 7th, 2011
10:04 pm

Nick, the number one killer of African Americans…….yep, you guessed it–abortion. And Obama has voted FOR every form of abortion known to man in his career……….I guess he’s gotta keep those big donations coming in.

Smoke

September 7th, 2011
10:21 pm

RGB. More than 100% of Dixiecrats vote for white candidates every election.

Nick

September 7th, 2011
10:24 pm

And the problem with that is………………….

Smoke

September 7th, 2011
10:26 pm

Mr. Reed was born and raised in Southwest Atlanta, and attended Howard University. If he goes to DC again, it will be because he earned it. Does anyone think that the Mayor of Smyrna is making that city proud?

Smoke

September 7th, 2011
10:29 pm

Just think, if the Pro Choice crowd hadn’t been killing off all those African American and “liberal” babies, Dixiecrats would be a super minority by now. Be careful of what you wish for.

Smoke

September 7th, 2011
10:35 pm

When Pelosi was Speaker and Boehner was leading the Party of No. Congress had a 20% approval rating. Boehner is now the Speaker and still leads the Party of No, and Congress has an approval rating of 13%. Dixiecrats constitute the 13%. Kasim Reed is right to say don’t panic, because as bad as Obama may be, returning to the Texas swagger is not an option.

Smoke

September 7th, 2011
10:38 pm

Did we just hear another meth lab blow in a Dixiecrat district? So much for Atlanta being a dump, blown up trailer parks are bring new meaning to rural redevelopment.

Smoke

September 7th, 2011
10:41 pm

Nick…No problem if we both agree it was not a problem that 92% of African Americans voted for Obama.

Amazing

September 7th, 2011
10:49 pm

The lack of civility in this post is a prime example of why washington is so dsyfunctional. Too many people resort to labels and racist comments. Those tend to be people with little intelligence and who are afraid of different points of view. Facts are not relevant!

Burroughston Broch

September 7th, 2011
10:52 pm

Mayor Reed is laying another step in his path to DC. Look for him to make a move towards DC before his first term as Mayor of Atlanta is completed.

His predecessor wanted the same thing but she had used all of her political capital keeping her child out of jail. One doesn’t go to DC in a position of weakness.

Eric

September 7th, 2011
10:53 pm

Come on, td (and others). Get behind that abortion-hatin’ furor 100%. Don’t leave now. Rove and the other lock-steps will miss you!

gm

September 7th, 2011
11:01 pm

TruthBe

You had all white everything for 200 years, dont forget your history, those jobs fairs have whites there as well, have you ever seen 3 times college drop out Sean Hannity and high school drop out Rush Limbaugh, organize anything out side of their desk.
Al, Jessie are out on the front lines tell me when have you seen Rush L. outside of his mic standing up for anything?, the only thing he does is spew hate for low esteem whites toward the President.
How many homes of the tea party retards have Sean, Rush, Sara visit after the last two storms?

Nick

September 7th, 2011
11:05 pm

@ The truth

Check out the CDC website…

td

September 7th, 2011
11:10 pm

Eric

September 7th, 2011
10:53 pm

The libertarian in me does not care if a women wants to have an abortion or not. What I do care about is how unfair the system is to the father of the child. The father has no right to tell a mother he wants the baby but the father also has no recourse if he does not want the baby to have to financially support it (for 18 years). This is were abortion laws do not provide equal justice to both parties. It is highly unfair. Should not the father of the child have the right not to pay CS if he chooses he does not want the child in the first 6 months of the pregnancy?

My Two Cents

September 7th, 2011
11:27 pm

Yep, Reed is looking for ways to make it to Washington! Good riddance! Let’s have another election and see who wins this time!

aladawg

September 7th, 2011
11:43 pm

GM, the only bigot in this bunch is your ignorant black ass.

ODD OWL

September 8th, 2011
12:33 am

Hillary Clinton and Kasim Reed in 2016, after President Obama finish his second term…. A definite winner…

ODD OWL

September 8th, 2011
12:36 am

96% of the people who voted for McCain and Broom Palin were White… Just saying…

skyhawk

September 8th, 2011
1:10 am

Mayor Reed, where are the 2.4 million jobs Obama created? They are exactly where his 4 billion dollar debt ceiling savings were: in thin air BECAUSE THEY DO NOT EXIST. We now know why Obama failed economics at Columbia. Why didn’t the Democrats give the country a budget last year? They controlled the Presidency, Senate and House. An exceptionally POOR PERFORMANCE.

double

September 8th, 2011
1:25 am

@TD If the father is not obligated to support the baby.With your thinking who supports?The family,the church.Remember you are against any type welfare?I agree the law is unfair.Should be no abortions except for health.rape reasons.At time of abortion make law tubes tied.

jaypat

September 8th, 2011
2:27 am

Meanwhile, the godly smack the godly: You just can’t invent this stuff.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/high-school/high-school-player-beaten-1162210.html

Smoke

September 8th, 2011
6:10 am

Skyhawk. Let Rick Perry tell it, I guess those 2.4 million jobs Obama created are in Texas. The reason that the weak kneed Democrats didn’t pass a budget last year is because the Republicans used every procedure known and not known to man to block it. Now, if they didn’t pass a budget last year, spending cuts were enforced, Bush tax cuts were maintained, and Boehner got 98% of what he wanted in the debt ceiling debate…How come we are still in trouble?

DeborahinAthens

September 8th, 2011
6:36 am

Dawg’88, are you for real? It is none of your business what a woman does with her body. Your limited philosophy is just that–a philosophy. The majority of people in this country believe in a woman’s right to a safe abortion. I don’t believe a person is a person until it takes a breath. You can believe what you like. Just don’t shove your narrow minded view down our throats. You seem to have a lot of venom. To judge a President on that one issue is insane. There is no doubt in my mind that, had McCain been elected, we would be in a full blown depression right now, we would be in at least one more full blown war, and Bin Laden would still be slurping soft drinks in Pakistan. You irrational Repugs need to stop this insanity right now before you bring about the distruction of this country. You had almost ten years of overlapping power–many years when you controlled all branches of the government. And you brought about this mess. If you can’t lead, stop obstructing, and for God’s sake stop red baiting with the social issues of abortion, gay marriage, Sunday liquor sales, etc., etc., etc., etc.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

September 8th, 2011
7:08 am

Obama made it clear in “Audacity of Hope” he, too, knew Bush and Cheney committed 9/11.

We elected him to bring them to justice.

He has failed and become nothing but a “smiley face” extension of homosexual draft-dodger Bush’s Anti-Christ.

G-d’s grace is not upon Barack Obama. The DC Quake was a warning shot. Washington’s Monument could just as easily have been toppled.

Fascist plutocracy will put even worse clowns against him to ensure his reelection.

G-d is not mocked.

Death for Treason