Archive for January, 2012

The night the GOP elite said ‘enough’ to the tea party

Thoughts on tonight’s election in Florida:

– There’s no doubt but that Newt Gingrich will lose tonight. But the second biggest loser may be the tea party movement. It was in Florida that the GOP “establishment” – the definition will change according to the Republican at hand – said this far, but no further.

The crowd of old-hands that came out to endorse Mitt Romney and damn Newt Gingrich was extraordinary. John McCain, Bob Dole, Elliot Abrams – the list goes on. But perhaps even more significant is the diminution of the influence of the major voices of the tea party movement.

A snapshot of a deflated Newt Gingrich party in Orlando, by my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy

A snapshot of a deflated Newt Gingrich party in Orlando, by my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy

There is that late endorsement of favorite Herman Cain, of course. And Mark Levin. More important is the lack of punch carried by Sarah Palin, who 18 months ago could take credit for swaying gubernatorial elections, including here in Georgia. Here’s a portion of what the former governor of Alaska …

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Gov. Nathan Deal to address Newt Gingrich supporters

The Florida chapter won’t be over until 8 p.m. or so. But the contest for the GOP presidential nomination in Georgia has a 6 p.m. start time.

Gov. Nathan Deal, in his first address for Newt Gingrich of the campaign, will address leaders of the Georgia campaign in a conference call this evening.

The Gingrich campaign has declined to allow reporters to listen in, so we’ll have to depend on a few unpaid informants to give their accounts below.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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On Florida TV, Newt Gingrich was outgunned 65 to 1

Juiced by super PACs, this year’s presidential contest has seen a 1600 percent increase in interest-group sponsored ads over 2008, according to a study by the Wesleyan Media Project of Middletown, Conn.

At 8:00:01 EST, Fox News and CNN both will race to declare Florida for Mitt Romney, the re-annointed frontrunner. (This assumes some discretion on the part of the networks, given that some of the state’s Panhandle is on Central time.) While you wait, consider the following – also from the Wesleyan Media Project:

Even though Romney has not been on the airwaves as much as he was in 2008, his campaign and its allies have dominated the airwaves in Florida, airing almost 13,000 ads on broadcast television across the state, as of Wednesday, the 25th…[Newt] Gingrich and his interest-group allies have aired only about 200 spots, with [Ron]Paul and [Rick] Santorum out of the broadcast television game.

That’s a 65:1 ratio. Unless that disparity closed in the final six days, …

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Dear Queen: Please send $34 million. P.S. We’ve nukes now

Some of you might remember Charlie Smith, a Democrat and House member from St. Marys, who served as Gov. Roy Barnes’ floor leader a number of years back.

We miss him, and fear for his health.

Clearly infected by Mitt Romney, Smith has recently succumbed to venture capitalism. He has ventured to submit a $34 million bill to Queen Elizabeth II and David Cameron, the man in charge of her government, for a 197-year-old case of vandalism.

From the letter that Smith sent to the pair, via Federal Express:

You may be aware that preparations are underway in some corners of this country to celebrate the bicentennial of that encounter we Americans call the War of 1812. While it was seen here by some of the old timers as our second war of independence, we know that the gist of the dispute was actually our trading with the French during your war with them. Times have changed, and many in our community would be happy to support you in future disputes with that nation.

Others have noted …

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The goose-gander argument: An, um, invasive test for men in search of Viagra

Janet Howell of Fairfax, Va., may have just qualified for sainthood – among Democratic women, at least.

In a debate in Richmond over a bill to require that women submit to an ultrasound before having an abortion, the state senator proposed a medical hurdle for men in search of Viagra. From the Associated Press:

Howell, D-Fairfax, on Monday expressed her disdain for legislation requiring the ultrasound by proposing an amendment she described as a simple matter of fairness. Her amendment said that before being treated for erectile dysfunction, a man would have to undergo a digital rectal exam and a cardiac stress test.

“We should just have a little gender equity here,” Howell said.
She said if women are going to be subjected to an unnecessary medical procedure, men should be as well.
Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Fauquier and the chief sponsor of the ultrasound bill, countered that erectile dysfunction and pregnancy clearly are not the same.

The Senate rejected the amendment on a mostly …

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain says he could support Mitt Romney, too

He may be about to take a shellacking in Florida, but GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has already posted a schedule that, after tonight, has him in Nevada through the end of this week.

Late last night, CNN declared that it had picked up hints that Gingrich would skip that state’s Saturday caucuses, and the upcoming contest in Michigan.

Gingrich will still have some cash after tonight. This was just Tweeted out by campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond:

“…[J]ust crossed $5 million raised for January ‘12. FEC report will show about $10 million raised in the last quarter of ‘11.”

***
Herman Cain, once the Republican frontrunner in the presidential contest, watered down his endorsement of Newt Gingrich somewhat by saying – this morning, after campaigning with Gingrich on Monday – that he would also willing to support Mitt Romney if he wins the nomination.

From the Associated Press:

Cain told NBC’s “Today” show that he endorsed Gingrich and campaigned with him Monday …

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Jailing a deadbeat dad amounts to debtor’s prison?

This one’s likely to light up the blogosphere. From the Associated Press:

State attorneys are appealing a judge’s order that favored five fathers who are targeting Georgia’s practice of jailing parents who don’t pay child support.

The Georgia Attorney General’s office on Monday filed a motion that said there’s an “epidemic” of parents who fail to pay their child support. It said the men were jailed because of the “consequences of their own poor decision-making.”

The five fathers claim in the lawsuit that jailing parents who can’t afford to pay child support creates a modern day debtor’s prison. They want to force Georgia to provide poor defendants with attorneys at child support hearings.

The men recently won a court battle when a judge allowed thousands of other parents who were imprisoned for failing to pay the child support join their lawsuit.

My AJC colleague Bill Rankin has some excellent background on the situation, which includes this:

Emotions run extraordinarily high …

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A bill to reward informants — and sniff out government fraud in Georgia

The Most Intriguing Bill of the Day award goes to HB 822, a hand-crafted, bipartisan bill that would give informers a financial incentive to rat out government fraud, whether in the state Medicaid program or in your local city hall.

A quartet of names are on the bill: House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta; state Reps. Roger Lane, R-Darien; Alex Atwood, R-Brunswick; and Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur. The Office of Legislative Counsel indicates that its lawyers only did light editing, which means the bill is the personal handiwork of the four lawmakers.

The “Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act” would apply to any public board, municipality, county, school board, hospital authority or other political subdivision – including MARTA. Falsifying records would be included – so test-score cheating would apply.

Penalties would be “a civil penalty of not less than $5,500 and not more than $11,000 for each false statement or fraudulent claim, plus three times …

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Newt Gingrich: Mitt Romney nixed kosher food funding for Medicare recipients

Newt Gingrich this morning tossed the kitchen sink — no doubt properly cleaned and blessed — at Mitt Romney down in Florida. From Politico.com:

“He eliminated serving kosher food for elderly Jewish residents under Medicare,” Gingrich said. “I did not know this, it just came out yesterday. The more we dig in, I understand why George Soros in Europe yesterday said it makes no difference if it’s Romney or Obama, we can live with either one.

The source of Gingrich’s information was this Friday report in the New York Post:

Mitt Romney is getting heat for a 2003 veto he cast as governor of Massachusetts to reject $600,000 in additional funds for poor Jewish nursing-home residents to get kosher meals.

At the time, Romney said he nixed the funding of about $5 per day because it “unnecessarily” would lead to an “increased rate for nursing facilities” — even as kosher nursing homes were complaining that state-funding-formula changes could force them to close their …

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Your morning jolt: Four Florida polls put Mitt Romney in driver’s seat

If you haven’t been polled Florida, you don’t have a phone:

– According to a Quinnipiac University survey released this morning:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a 43 – 29 percent lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among Republican likely voters in Florida, the nation’s first big-state presidential primary…. This compares to a 38 – 29 percent Romney lead in a January 27 survey.

An NBC/Marist survey also shows Mitt Romney with a 15-percentage point lead over Newt Gingrich.

Public Policy Polling of North Carolina shows a somewhat closer contest:

PPP’s second day of tracking in Florida finds little change in the state of the race. Mitt Romney leads with 39% to 32% for Newt Gingrich with Rick Santorum at 14% and Ron Paul at 11%. Romney and Santorum are both down a single point from Saturday’s polling while Paul has gained 2 points and Gingrich has stayed in place.

— The survey showing the tightest race comes from Newsmax and InsiderAdvantage of …

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