Archive for October, 2012

Debate highlights: On bayonets, Afghanistan and the China-Detroit corridor

On points, President Barack Obama came away the winner in last night’s debate with Republican Mitt Romney on foreign policy – but only on points.

By definition, a businessman will be at a disadvantage to a commander-in-chief when overseas affairs are the topic – and Romney’s uneasiness on several topics was clear, though he finished strong.

But while Obama had to show mastery, Romney merely had to dispose of any talk that he might be another George W. Bush, eager to send U.S. troops into this fray or that – turning off both independents and the Rand Paul wing of his party.

Which is why Romney in many ways feinted to Obama’s left, with the most provocative example being his early, backhanded praise of the president on the death of the architect of 9/11. “I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership of al-Qaeda. But we can’t kill our way out of this mess,” the GOP candidate said.

If you want to pick out a loser from last night, it would be the …

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Georgia lawmaker’s can’t-miss offer: Machine guns and margaritas

Competition is fierce in the gun business.

You no doubt have heard about the Powder Springs City Council’s recent approval of an alcohol license for a couple developing an indoor shooting range in west Cobb County.

Apparently, this is an idea whose time has come. Just a little bit further up the Northwest Corridor, state Rep. Sean Jerguson, R-Woodstock, owns Hi-Caliber, a firearms retail outlet and shooting range.

The state lawmaker has paired with a Mexican restaurant in a can’t-miss Group On offer: $39 for a session with automatic weapons, an appetizer and margaritas for two. That’s an $87.68 value, people, including two 20-round boxes of ammunition.

For all you enemies of the Second Amendment, safety can be found in the fine print:

Limit 1 per person, may buy multiple as gifts. Must be 21 or older. Must redeem for gun rental before redeeming at Tacos & Beer Mexican Restaurant. Valid only for rental of M16 machine guns.

Remember: Shoot, then drink.

- By Jim Galloway, …

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The next big weapon? Campaign mail that talks to you

The tool already has a brief campaign history, but the U.S. Senate race in Missouri between Republican Todd Akin and Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill may boast the most prominent use so far of talking direct mail.

It’s like those singing birthday cards. But meaner:

From Campaigns & Elections magazine:

[Democratic Super PAC] American Bridge is putting at least $37,000 behind the mailer. It was produced by the Democratic direct mail firm Ourso Beychok and mailPOW, which creates the sound cells that go into the talking cards.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your daily jolt: Saxby Chambliss, former critic, writes Todd Akin a $5k check

Two months ago, shortly after Todd Akin had declared his belief that victims of “legitimate rape” had built-in, biological barriers to conception, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss didn’t mince his words.

Missouri’s Republican candidate for U.S. Senate needed to “go home,” he said.

“He needs to withdraw, period,” Chambliss said.”That’s a seat that should be our seat. Todd’s a nice guy. But in politics, you can say the wrong thing – and he said the wrong thing. I don’t care how hard he attempts to put the genie back in the bottle, you just can’t do it.”

Chambliss has apparently had a change of heart. From Politico.com:

Akin raised $1.6 million in the third quarter, including $5,000 in September from the Republican Majority Fund, Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s (R-Ga.) leadership PAC, according to campaign finance reports filed this week with the Senate Office of Public Records.

Many things might have changed Chambliss’ mind. One of them might have been the fact that U.S. Rep. Tom Price, a …

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Time for Saxby Chambliss to look over his shoulder

The time has come for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss to keep a close eye on the movements of certain people in Georgia. U.S. Rep. Tom Price, for instance.

A series of rubber-chicken speeches in venues such as Columbus or Macon or Ringgold, all far from the congressman’s home in Roswell, could mean that trouble’s afoot.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is up for re-election in 2014. AJC file

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is up for re-election in 2014. AJC file

We are now 16 days from the end of the presidential campaign. Which means we are only 17 days away from the 2014 campaign season and this all-important question: Which Republican will attempt to spoil Chambliss’ bid for a third term?

Georgia’s senior senator, who has been sailing close to the wind with his Gang-of-Six efforts to forge a bipartisan agreement and heal a $16 trillion federal deficit, has already conceded that he’ll have primary opposition. He most recently reported $1.4 million in campaign cash on hand, with two-years of fundraising ahead of him.

If Chambliss is lucky, his opponent will …

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Watch John Lewis cut a gangnam-style rug

His appearance is a brief one, but U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, obviously a flexible 72-year-old, dances gangnam style with the hip-hop group Innonim in this get-out-the-vote video posted by Kollaboration Atlanta:

As you can see, most of the video was shot outside the state Capitol.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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When an Obama adviser called Benghazi an al-Qaeda hotbed

If you are Mitt Romney and about to settle down for a weekend of study of U.S. foreign policy, in preparation for Monday’s debate in Florida, you will probably pay particular attention to a March 29, 2011 article in the Washington Post that included these paragraphs:

“It’s almost a certitude that at least part” of the Libyan opposition includes members of al-Qaeda, said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and adviser to President Obama. Riedel said that anti-Gaddafi elements in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi have had “very close associations with al-Qaeda” dating back years.

“I would hope that we now have a good sense of the opposition in Libya and can say that this is 2 percent, not 20 percent,” Riedel said. “If we don’t, then we are running the risk of helping to bring to power a regime that could be very dangerous.”

Here’s the latest on the topic from the Associated Press:

The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly …

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Your daily jolt: ‘Al-Qaeda isn’t on the run,’ says Saxby Chambliss

When Congress returns after the election, Saxby Chambliss said the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing to address the questions that remain unanswered about last month’s deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, from why it took the FBI three weeks to get to Benghazi to the links between the attackers and al-Qaeda.

According to my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington, Chambliss — the ranking Republican on the committee — was privy to much of the same information that President Barack Obama.

That makes the shifting administration account of what happened all the more disturbing, Chambliss said in a telephone interview this morning.

“He stood up in the Rose Garden [on Sept. 12], and he’d seen some of the same information some of the rest of us had seen that unquestionably called it a terrorist attack,” Chambliss said. The senator argued that Obama’s reference to “acts of terror” – a key point in Tuesday’s presidential debate, likely to surface again in a …

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Cash found to keep Georgia archives open ’til June 30

You librarians, historians, archivists and genealogists out there – put down those pitchforks.

Here’s the press release – but you’ll see that it doesn’t address the issue of seven archivists slated to lose their jobs at the end of this month. That still looks to be up in the air:

Gov. Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced today that the state will restore $125,000 to Kemp’s budget to keep the Georgia State Archives open to Georgians for the remainder of the budget year.

“Georgia’s Archives are a showcase of our state’s rich history and a source of great pride,” said Deal. “I worked quickly with my budget office and Secretary Kemp to ensure that Georgians can continue to come to Morrow to study and view the important artifacts kept there. I appreciate Secretary Kemp’s commitment to work with me to find a solution.”

The extra funding provides for Georgia State Archives to be open to the public through June 30 of next year. On July 1, the Georgia Archives will …

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Your daily jolt: Georgia Chamber leader says right, left ganging up on business

Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday that defeat of this summer’s transportation sales tax is proof that extremists on the left and right are ganging up against business, says Larry Peterson over at the Savannah Morning News:

His remarks were part of a wide-ranging overview of the programs, goals and concerns of the chamber, Georgia’s largest business group.

“It used to be,” Clark said in reference to state government, “ … we could stand in the background and whisper and nudge our friends and we could move the business agenda along.

“But the world’s changed. It’s not like that any more. We have folks on both ends of the political spectrum that are anti-business.”

Clark cited a recent group of regional referendums on proposed penny sales taxes for transportation projects. Voters in most of the state, including Chatham County, rejected them.

To be clear, business types have often accused those on the political left of being …

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