Archive for February, 2012

Your morning jolt: Vegas billionaire ‘might’ give up to $100 million to Newt Gingrich

Forbes magazine today has the first interview with Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson since he has become the chief financier of the Newt Gingrich rescue effort.

According to a tease released today, Adelson has no patience for those who wring their hands over the impact of a handful of wealthy donors on the national political process:

“Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson [said] during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”

Adelson, 78, certainly can afford to: With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, that $11 million, which jolted Gingrich’s flatlining presidential bid back to life, equates to 0.044% of his fortune.

And $100 million would be only .44 …

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‘Southern’ Baptist no more?

One of the most iconic cultural brands in America may be on the verge of shedding half its name. Perhaps because of the regional stigma, and perhaps because of an identity with partisan politics. From the Associated Press:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The nation’s largest Protestant denomination will definitely remain “Baptist,” but leaders are thinking about whether it will be “Southern” for much longer.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright was expected to present the recommendation of a task force assigned to study a name change to the denomination’s executive committee at a meeting Monday night. Any name change would have to be approved at the SBC’s annual conventions the next two years.

Wright has said he is concerned the name is too regional and hinders efforts to plant new churches outside of the South. Others outside of church leadership say the name has become a liability because it is too often associated with divisive, partisan politics.

Either way, a recent …

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Newt Gingrich in 1992: Reagan’s ‘weakness’ was thinking government didn’t matter

Last week, Buzzfeed went through the Georgia State University papers of David Worley, a two-time Democratic opponent who very nearly knocked Newt Gingrich out of Congress in 1990.

Today, the Washington Post has finished going through decades of documents from Gingrich’s congressional office. They’re stored at West Georgia University. The result:

CARROLLTON, Ga. — In an unnoticed 1992 speech, Newt Gingrich in a single utterance took aim not only at a beloved conservative icon but also at a core tenet of the conservative movement: that government must be limited.

Ronald Reagan’s “weakness,” Gingrich told the National Academy of Public Administration in Atlanta, was that “he didn’t think government mattered. . . . The Reagan failure was to grossly undervalue the centrality of government as the organizing mechanism for reinforcing societal behavior.”

A review of thousands of documents detailing Gingrich’s career shows it wasn’t the first time he had criticized Reagan, whom he …

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Your late jolt: Rick Santorum’s wife targeted by smear sheet

Not everyone who attended Rick Santorum’s campaign event Sunday was a friendly.

In keeping with a long-standing tradition in Georgia politics, those who left First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Ga., were greeted at their vehicles with a yellow “smear” sheet under their wiper blades.

On one side reprinted a London Daily Mail account of a long-term romance that Karen Santorum, the candidate’s wife, once had with an abortion doctor. On the other side focused on a Daily Caller article focusing on a 2008 declaration by Santorum that “mainline Protestantism in this country…is a shambles. It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

For the easily appalled: Smear sheets in church parking lots go back at least to the late ’60s. We used to have a fellow in Cobb County who specialized in them.

As far as the latter allegation goes, the distributor of the anonymous tract clearly doesn’t know his/her theological politics. First Redeemer is a Southern Baptist church, and the …

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Rick Santorum and the pursuit of happiness

Rick Santorum addresses a overflow crowd of more than 2,300 during a rally at First Redeemer Church, Cumming on Sunday.  Curtis Compton, compton@ajc.com

Rick Santorum addresses a overflow crowd of more than 2,300 during a rally at First Redeemer Church, Cumming on Sunday. Curtis Compton, compton@ajc.com

Cumming, Ga. — The rise of Rick Santorum and the return of social conservatism to the Republican presidential primary is an economic indicator that bodes well for most of the country, though perhaps not for Mitt Romney.

We’ll get to that in a minute. But first a few details from First Redeemer Church, where on Sunday night, Santorum addressed, for 70 minutes, an overflow crowd of 3,300 or so. If Santorum makes a big move in Georgia on Super Tuesday, people will point to this church meeting as the place where it started.

The crowd was littered with Republican activists – always a sign of whether a campaign is poised to take off.

Among those who were there: Tim Echols, chairman of the Public Service Commission, who acted as MC; Chuck Eaton, member of the PSC; Ralph Hudgens, state insurance commissioner; state Sens. David Shafer, …

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Newt Gingrich on must-win primaries: ‘You first, Mitt Romney’

From the Associated Press:

Newt Gingrich says he and other GOP presidential candidates must win their home-turf contests or face serious questions about continuing in the race.

Gingrich tells “Fox News Sunday” that if Mitt Romney loses in Michigan, which is next to vote on Feb. 28, “I don’t see what he says the next morning to his donors to stay in the race.”

But Gingrich also acknowledges that he must win in Georgia, which votes on March 6 — and the same is true for Rick Santorum and the Pennsylvania primary in April.

He says lose and risk becoming “a very, very damaged candidate.”

But Gingrich stopped short of saying he would drop out if he lost Georgia “given the chaos of this race.”

***
A blow to the Mitt Romney presidential contest in Arizona. From the Los Angeles Times:

An Arizona sheriff running for Congress as a Republican denied accusations Saturday that he had threatened to deport an alleged ex-lover, a Mexican national. In the process, he also resigned from a …

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Suddenly, presidential debates are out of fashion

Imagine being the very last 14-year-old boy to commit to the Justin Bieber look, only to have the heartthrob declare the next day that sheepdog bangs were passé.

If you’re of another generation, think bell-bottoms. Or leg-warmers.

Koty Moore and Mitt Chicken greet Newt Gingrich supporters before the start of the Newt Gingrich rally in Hanger B4 at Peachtree City-Falcon Field in Peachtree City on Friday. Moore was representing presidential canidate, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Chicken was representing Mitt Romney. Those two pulled out of the March 1 debate in Atlanta. Johnny Crawford,  jcrawford@ajc.com

Koty Moore and Mitt Chicken greet Newt Gingrich supporters before the start of the Newt Gingrich rally in Hanger B4 at Peachtree City-Falcon Field in Peachtree City on Friday. Moore was representing presidential canidate, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Chicken was representing Mitt Romney. Those two pulled out of the March 1 debate in Atlanta. Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com

Then you’ll have some idea of the out-of-fashion disappointment that Sue Everhart, chairman of the Georgia Republican party, is living with this weekend.

For nearly a year, the GOP presidential contest had been driven by an unprecedented series of debates that allowed unknown, unfinanced candidates to thrive (Herman Cain), and sabotaged the best on-paper candidate in the contest …

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Some payback in the Cherokee County charter school fight

Last year, the Cherokee County school board rejected – for a third time – Cherokee Charter Academy. The county’s Republican party called on the four GOP school board members who threw down the no votes to turn in their party IDs. Figuratively, anyway.

The real payback arrived this week. From the Cherokee Tribune:

CANTON — The much anticipated legislation to redraw the Cherokee County Board of Education posts was dropped in the hopper Wednesday by local state representatives and appears to effectively remove the county’s elected school board chair and vice chair from their positions by January 2013.

Under the provisions of House Bill 978, Cherokee County voters will vote by post for six school board members and choose a chair elected county-wide.

At present, the school board has seven representatives elected county-wide and members elect their own chair and vice chair.

School Board Chair Mike Chapman and Vice Chair Janet Read appear to be drawn out of their posts and into …

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Vegas billionaire may come to Newt Gingrich’s rescue — again

One wonders if Newt Gingrich has become too big to fail. Just posted by CBS News:

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson plans to give another $10 million to the outside group backing the former Georgia lawmaker who is running behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a source close to Adelson [said].

…The latest $10 million cash injection would raise the Adelson family’s contribution to $21 million, and a different source close to Adelson said he is prepared to drop another $4 million for a total of $25 million.

That kind of money would allow Gingrich to play in Michigan (Feb. 28), which has turned into a crucial confrontation between Romney and Santorum.

We’ve got a call into Winning Our Future, the pro-Gingrich super PAC that would be the official recipient of Adelson’s largesse.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect …

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Your morning jolt: Newt Gingrich admits he could lose Georgia

After four fund-raising days in California, Newt Gingrich is returning to the state he represented in Congress for two decades.

He arrives this evening, conceding that he’s not sure he can win Georgia’s March 6 presidential primary. From CBS News:

“Look, given this kind of a year, who knows?” Gingrich told reporters outside of a Beverly Hills restaurant when asked if he could lose his home state in the “Super Tuesday” sweepstakes on March 6. “Romney could lose Michigan. Santorum could lose Pennsylvania. Who knows what’s going to happen?”

As they watch their candidate squeezed between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Gingrich supporters deny that losing his “home” state – the former U.S. House speaker is a resident of Virginia – will drive them from the field. From my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy:

Rick Tyler, a former Gingrich aide who now helps run the Winning Our Future Super PAC campaigning on his behalf, argued that Georgia is not necessarily a make-or-break vote.

“Of course …

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