Archive for June, 2012

John Barrow to support House contempt vote against U.S. attorney general

One day after announcing that he couldn’t spare time to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta has decided to draw an even brighter line between himself and President Barack Obama. He’ll vote today to Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failure to turn over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” program.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta. AP/John Bazemore

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta. AP/John Bazemore

He’s likely to be the only Georgia Democrat to support the GOP effort.

Barrow’s statement:

“For me, this investigation has been about justice for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and his family. While Republicans and Democrats argue over the scope of the people’s right to know what happened, the Attorney General has decided to withhold relevant documents. The only way to get to the bottom of what happened is for the Department of Justice to turn over the remaining documents, so that we can work together to ensure this tragedy never happens …

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Barack Obama endorses John Lewis in Democratic primary

President Barack Obama left something in Atlanta on Tuesday – an endorsement of U.S. Rep. John Lewis. From the congressman’s campaign press release:

“Whether it was improving educational opportunity for children, expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare, or helping Georgia families struggling to make ends meet, the 5th district has been able to count on John Lewis,” said President Barack Obama. “Congressman John Lewis is a true American hero, and he has been dedicated to fighting for equality throughout his life. That is why I need him back in Congress to continue the fight with me for the 5th congressional district and for our nation. I need you to cast your vote for Congressman John Lewis in the July primary and again in November.”

Lewis faces Michael Johnson, the former Fulton County superior court judge, in the July 31 Democratic primary.

By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: John Barrow’s hall pass to escape convention detention

One day later, it’s become clear that U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta won’t be penalized by fellow Democrats for skipping the national convention in Charlotte this September.

The Democrat in charge of congressional campaigns has given him a pass. From Reuters:

“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” New York congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, [said] Tuesday.

Israel emphasized that Democratic President Barack Obama’s poll ratings – which have hovered around 50 percent – have little to do with his stance.

“I don’t care if the president was at 122 percent favorability right now,” he said. “I think (candidates) should be in their districts,” rather than spend time at the convention, which will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3-6.

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A few miles south of Charlotte, Gov. Nikki Haley’s choice for Congress, Tom Rice, crushed Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in the South Carolina Republican …

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A case of ‘stalking’ in the 12th District GOP race

Brief sidebar: U.S. Rep. John Barrow has decided that, without a NASCAR event, there’s no reason to go to Charlotte in September. Now back to our original programming:

Things are getting tense in east Georgia.

Last week, Maria Sheffield spoke to the Greater Columbia County Republican Women. She and her staff noticed an extra video camera in the crowd. Her Republican rival in the 12th District congressional race, Wright McLeod, had hired a paid staffer to track Sheffield and keep track of her statements.

Sheffield, the only female candidate in the race to replace Democrat John Barrow, this afternoon accused McLeod of “stalking” her. She also seemed to think that only Democrats engage in the practice. Said Sheffield, via press release:

“I want to apologize, specifically to the wonderful ladies of the Greater Columbia County Republican Women’s Club, and to Republicans across GA 12, for the negative tactics of Wright McLeod. Wright has made the decision to stalk me by …

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Your morning jolt: As president visits, BBB warns against ‘Obama scam’

Consumer protection is certainly a worthy cause, but the Better Business Bureau of metro Atlanta may want to work on its timing.

Just in time for his fundraising visit to downtown Atlanta today, the BBB has issued a warning about a new scam “claiming President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program.”

From the BBB website:

Consumers have been contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.

To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumers’ social security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not.

However, campaign contributions of any amount can be walked over to the Westin Peachtree Plaza this afternoon.

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Politico.com reports …

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Jimmy Carter: Drone killings aid enemy, alienate friends

Jimmy Carter isn’t too thrilled with the idea of President Barack Obama – who comes to Atlanta today — picking individual winners and losers in the war on terror. From the Monday op-ed by the former president in the New York Times:

Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues….

Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight …

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Highlights from high court’s Arizona decision

Feel free to join me in a quick reading of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Arizona immigration law by clicking here.

My first impression is that, if you are a supporter of Georgia’s version, HB 87, your cheering may end up a little forced by the end of the document.

Yes, a five-member majority of the high court upheld the portion of the Arizona law (which has a parallel in the Georgia statute) that allows law enforcement to run citizenship checks on those arrested for other reasons, but the court declared that this approval was tentative and subject to future rulings.

Other sections of the Arizona law were overturned, including a provision making it a misdemeanor for an illegal immigrant to apply for a job. While acknowledging the state of Arizona’s legitimate concerns, the bulk of the language reasserts the federal government’s supremacy in immigration.

Walk with me through some excerpts of the majority decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy:

The Government of …

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A brief summary of a summer Romney retreat in Utah

A report from my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

Atlanta’s Eric Tanenblatt was among about 800 supporters and donors to attend this past week’s retreat for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in Park City, Utah.

Tanenblatt, who is on Romney’s national finance team, said the retreat was part rally and part strategic planning for November. News reports said it also featured a number of potential vice presidential picks. Among the big names in attendance: U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

“It was just a really impressive group of people,” Tanenblatt said. “Really, the mood was very optimistic. Given how the governor did in terms of fundraising in May, I think that sent a good signal.”

Tanenblatt also took part in a finance team …

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U.S. Supreme Court affirms metro Atlanta can use Lake Lanier for drinking water

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will not grant Alabama and Florida’s request for review of the decades-long legal dispute with Georgia over the intended use of water from Lake Lanier. That means metro Atlanta can use it to quench the thirst of its residents and businesses.

For Georgia, that’s bigger than the court’s decision upholding portions of HB 87.

The word from Attorney General Sam Olens:

“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari, and the excellent decision by the Eleventh Circuit is the law – making clear that Lake Lanier can indeed be used for water supply for Georgia. It is my hope that we can finally put this decades-long legal dispute to rest and work together with our sister states — in meeting rooms, not courtrooms — to develop a fair and equitable water sharing plan and promote a strong and vibrant Southeastern region.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: White voter registration in Georgia down to 60 percent

Demography, like a glacier, is slow but relentless.

If you wonder why there’s been so much discussion of the Latino vote lately, take a look at these figures that Alan Abramowitz, the Emory University political scientist, drew from the Georgia Secretary of State’s monthly data:

In May of 2008, African-Americans made up 28 percent of active registered voters in Georgia while whites made up 65 percent and “other” race (a category that’s hard to interpret but presumably includes a lot of Hispanics and Asians since very few of them identify themselves as Hispanic or Asian) made up 7 percent.

In May of 2012, African-Americans made up 29.4 percent of active registered voters, whites made up 60.2 percent, and “other” race made up 10.4 percent.

So the downward trend in the white share of voters in Georgia has continued. There is certainly no evidence here that nonwhites have been disappearing from the rolls of registered voters. In all likelihood, the nonwhite share …

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