Archive for April, 2012

Barack Obama on bin Laden anniversary: What would Mitt Romney have done?

In celebration of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama has launched this 90-second video in which former President Bill Clinton – now a full partner in the Obama re-elect – explains the gamble taken by the man who beat Hillary Clinton in ’08.

But what had everyone talking over the weekend is the suggestion — raised not by Bill Clinton personally, but in within the ad – that GOP rival Mitt Romney might not have been up to such a decision.

I’m trying to remember the last time a Democrat went after a Republican this hard, this early and this forcefully on national security. Jack Kennedy on Richard Nixon?

Here’s the ad:

From Bill Clinton:

”That’s one thing George Bush said that’s right. The president is the decider-in-chief. Nobody can make that decision for you. Look, he knew what would happen. Suppose the Navy Seals had gone in there and it hadn’t been Bin Laden? Suppose they had been captured or …

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Your morning jolt: Behind last year’s GOP debate over the debt ceiling

My AJC colleague Dan Malloy in Washington just finished the new book on the tea-party driven Class of 2010 of the U.S. House by Robert Draper.

“Do Not Ask What Good We Do” focuses on Republican freshmen Jeff Duncan of South Carolina and Allen West of Florida, Michigan Democrat octogenarian John Dingell. But Malloy notes that the book includes a closed-door vignette involving U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Tom Price of Roswell.

Less than a month before the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline, House Republican leaders had invited an economist named Jay Powell, a former Treasury Department official, to explain to the caucus the severe consequences of violating the deadline – beginning in that summer, when the government would only take in about a third of what it was obligated to spend. From Draper’s book:

“Gingrey…began by saying that until yesterday he had never heard of Powell’s Bipartisan Policy Center. ‘You did a nice job with your presentation,’ he said. ‘But we heard …

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Citing lack of rail spending, Sierra Club comes out against transportation sales tax

As reported last week, the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club will oppose the July 31 sales tax referendum on transportation, in metro Atlanta and elsewhere.


In a just-issued press release,
the environmental group cited a lack of spending on rail – and a sneaking suspicion that the tax would allow a return of the Northern Arc link between I-75 and I-85. To wit:

Today the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club announced that it will recommend a “no” vote on the July 31st transportation sales tax referendum (T-SPLOST). “This project list is primarily a business-as-usual sprawl-inducing road program,” said Georgia Chapter Director Colleen Kiernan. “We support Plan B — a fix-it-first road strategy and a project list that emphasizes transit expansion and improvement.”

The Georgia Chapter has a long history of opposing sprawl-inducing highways like the Northern Arc and supporting increased funding for sustainable transportation including MARTA, Beltline transit, and commuter …

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Religion and the race for president: A south Georgia pastor’s take

The Rev. Michael Ruffin, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald – that’s down between Warner Robins and Valdosta – has posted an excellent, delicate piece on religion and the coming presidential election.

Read the entire article here – this is only a taste:

In the mid-1970s I asked my late, great father, who would these days be considered something akin to a Blue Dog Democrat, for whom he had voted in the 1960 presidential election. He looked sheepish as he said, “I’m not ashamed that I voted for Nixon, but I am ashamed of why; I was afraid if Kennedy got elected the Pope would be running the country.”

I find it interesting, given the Cold War in which we were engaged at the time, that my father and others did not find Nixon’s Quaker religious affiliation equally or even more troubling, given that faith’s belief in pacifism.

Of course, President Nixon was not a pacifist, was he?

And President Kennedy was not, when it came to his policies, beholden to the Vatican, …

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Newt Gingrich withdrawal now delayed until Wednesday

Both CNN and Fox News are reporting this morning that Newt Gingrich will postpone by 24 hours his formal withdrawal from the GOP presidential contest.

He had been expected to make a Washington D.C. announcement on Tuesday. Now, the networks, say he’ll exit on Wednesday. Neither network offered an explanation for the delay. CNN has the following:

Gingrich is expected to express his support for likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney. The two spoke by phone last week, a Gingrich spokesman said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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The long-gone debate over public financing for a new Falcons stadium

Take this date and put it in your pocket: April 14, 2010.

A new study has raised the extreme possibility that the Atlanta Falcons, within a few years, will be scrimmaging in a new, $1 billion stadium with a retractable roof.

Roughly a third of the cost — $300 million is the figure in current usage — is likely to be borne by those who check into Fulton County hotels and motels, via a 7 percent surcharge on their room bills. The 20-year-old Georgia Dome, also built with a flow of taxpayer cash, would be demolished.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and a state agency, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, are negotiating $650 million or so in details.

The news threatens to spark a debate over the public financing of athletic venues. Let the private sector finance itself, cry the tea partyers. Democrats wonder out loud whether millions for a billionaire owner might be better spent on education.

Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, with its roof closed. Built in 2002, the retractable roof stadium was the first of its kind for an NFL team. AP/David J. Phillip

Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, with its roof closed. Built in 2002, the …

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Sierra Club to oppose transportation sales tax

I ran into Debbie Dooley of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots this morning, who told me that a major change in the dynamic of the transportation sales tax campaign is coming next week.

The Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club is preparing to join the opposition.

A quick query to Mark Woodall, the chapter’s chairman, produced this response, but nothing else: “I wouldn’t dispute what she says.”

A Sierra Club entry into the debate could add organization, experience and a network currently missing from the opposition’s playbook. Yet there’s likely to be some dissonance.

Grounds for the Sierra Club opposition haven’t been disclosed, but let’s suppose that they fault the initiative for too little emphasis on mass transit. Tea party opponents are on the opposite side of that canyon, saying it has too much.

Updated: One source has called to report that Sierra Club fears of a new Northern Arc will be its primary reason for opposing the sales tax in metro Atlanta.

- By Jim Galloway, Political …

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Baxter incentive package could exceed $210 million

My AJC colleague Chris Quinn reports that the price of luring Baxter International to Georgia could be more than double last week’s estimate:

Incentives for luring a new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and its 1,500 promised jobs to a location 40 miles east of Atlanta could exceed $210 million.

When Gov. Nathan Deal announced last week that Georgia had successfully landed the high-tech factory, the state Department of Economic Development estimated the state would give the company $80 million in incentives.

Alison Tyrer, the department’s spokeswoman, said she based the initial estimate on incentives that were specially crafted for Baxter. She did not include tax breaks and incentives every company can take advantage of, such as Baxter’s estimated $1.3 million in energy sales tax exemptions, or items such as $14 million training facility the state will build on Baxter’s site near Covington, which the state will own and potentially use for other training.

Tyrer also did not …

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Newt Gingrich’s allies in Congress switch to Mitt Romney

No surprise here, but U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, just sent out an email announcing that, with their man about the exit the race, House members who had backed former Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich are now lining up behind Mitt Romney.

In addition to Price, they include Jack Kingston of Savannah, Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Austin Scott of Tifton and Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County.

From their statement:

“After a hard fought primary season, Governor Romney has emerged as our nominee for president. We enthusiastically commit our support for Governor Romney. America cannot afford four more years of President Obama’s divisive and failed leadership that continues to punish entrepreneurship, pick winners and losers in our economy, and ignore our fiscal crisis.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: At Fort Stewart, President Obama targets the votes of military families

President Barack Obama and the first lady will mingle with soldiers at Fort Stewart on the Georgia coast today.

The official agenda, via Larry Peterson and the Savannah Morning News:

President Barack Obama is due to launch a national crackdown on scams used to bilk veterans out of their federal education benefits.

The White House on Thursday described an executive order Obama will sign when he and first lady Michelle Obama visit soldiers, veterans and military families.

White House aides have pointed to today’s excursion to a red state as proof that Obama isn’t just visiting electoral swing states on Air Force One. But a clearly jaded Washington Post posits that today’s trip is a case of niche marketing aimed at “a novel and potentially fruitful voter set: military families:”

The message from Obama and Biden is clear: They will campaign on the president’s foreign policy record and actions to bolster services for veterans while aggressively criticizing Romney on the same …

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