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 subjects — and issuing pointed examples of the Republican’s lack of proposals to assist returning veterans and their families….
The overall strategy gives Obama a chance to widen his audience on military matters at a time when war-weariness has grown — even among Republicans and in less Obama-friendly Southern states. The push also echoes a hallmark quality of the president’s 2008 campaign: its ability to identify supporters from unlikely regions and constituencies.
Not-quite-but-nearly-former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who is still making appearances in North Carolina, lost his Secret Service protection last night, according to NBC News.
Ninth District congressional candidate Doug Collins sent out a fund-raising email this morning that included this undated YouTube clip of his chief GOP rival, Gainesville radio talk show host Martha Zoller, explaining her position on abortion:
“I think I’m a different kind of pro-life person, in that I don’t think abortion should be illegal, but I think the way we change people’s minds on life issues are not with legislation.”
Collins, a lawmaker from Gainesville, has begun calling himself a “consistent conservative.” From the email:
”You’ll never have to worry about where I stand on the issue of abortion, and I vow to stand behind the same convictions I’ve had throughout my lifetime. You’ll never have to wonder if my campaign rhetoric matches with the beliefs of my past.”
The response from Zoller’s campaign strategist, Joel McElhannon:
This race is between a conservative firebrand in Martha Zoller and a wimp.
Martha Zoller was endorsed by Georgia Right to Life before Doug Collins. Why? Doug’s legislative endorsement was suspended by GRTL because he was killing their pro life legislation in committee over the last several sessions at the request of leadership.
Eleven second manufactured clips from years ago will not change the fact that when it’s time to take a stand, Doug Collins consistently waves the yellow flag of cowardice.
After seeing the above remarks, Collins strategist Chip Lake messaged to say that the video clip is from the 2011 CPAC gathering in Washington.
Better Georgia, a progressive group headed up by Bryan Long, has been engaged in a campaign to draw attention to the link between Republican state lawmakers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, a powerful private, non-profit group that generates conservative legislation for use in state capitols across the nation.
Six years ago, state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, headed up ALEC. From Jon Gillooly and the Marietta Daily Journal:
Ehrhart responded: “Mr. Long doesn’t like free speech, doesn’t like advocacy for anything other than what he wants. The majority of the citizens in this county and this state are going to agree with the principles of ALEC. Again, back to the founding principles of this country. I’ll stand them up against his tent principles all day long. I’m not afraid of some Occupy pansy sitting in a tent without a bath, I’m sorry.”
Replied Long this morning:
“Representative Ehrhart sees public scrutiny like a bad rash. If he has nothing to hide, he’ll tell us every ALEC backed bill so that voters can decide whether they agree or not. The secrecy of this group has lasted too long.
In a major break with the past, this year’s farm bill is moving through the halls of Washington without the support of Southern farmers. From Politico.com:
Cotton won concessions on its own revenue protection program, including a decision to lift the acreage cap on land enrolled. But the leadership resisted any return to a countercyclical program with target prices, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) bluntly warned that peanuts and rice will take a “huge hit” and are left “without any safety net whatsoever.”
Indeed, corn and soybeans appear the big winners in what would be an historic shift away from direct cash payments and price supports in favor of new forms of subsidized crop insurance.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at the claim that, because of traffic tie-ups, “The average Atlanta resident … spends an extra $924 each year in additional gasoline and wasted time.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider