Archive for December, 2012

Your Daily Jolt: Kingston suggests short ‘cliff’ dive

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House Thursday with no apparent progress on the fiscal cliff, and things are getting so bad that NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Morning Joe” — what Washington watches on the treadmill — brought up 1990s literature. Todd said the negotiations are proceeding so poorly that it seems like Obama is from Mars and Boehner is from Venus.

With most everyone shut out of the mano-a-mano discussions, members of Congress are floating ideas. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., according to the Washington Post, is proposing to let the marginal tax rates rise for earnings above $250,000 for a family — but maintain current policy otherwise, including dividend, capital gains and estate taxes. The idea is to end up with a tactical victory for the GOP because this would create far less increased revenue than even Boehner has proposed.

Savannah Republican U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston told the AP’s Chuck Babington that he does …

Continue reading Your Daily Jolt: Kingston suggests short ‘cliff’ dive »

Hank Johnson’s mea culpa on the ‘m-word’

DeKalb County Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson sought to register his indignation on the new right-to-work law in Michigan, so he strode to the floor of the House on Wednesday to make a grand metaphor about labor unions in a half-hour speech.

“What happens when you put in a cage fight a giant in with a midget? Well, the midget will not win the fight, I’m going to tell you that. Why? It just doesn’t carry enough weight to do so. But if you put 30 midgets in with that giant, then the midgets have a chance.”

That’s why America needs organized labor, see? Because the midgets need to team up and collectively bargain, or fight the giant.

But Johnson realized today that he might have insulted some people, so he returned to the floor for an apology. The video is not embeddable yet but can be found here. Johnson compared the formally common use of the “n-word” to that of the “m-word:”

“Just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the use of the midget, excuse me, the use of …

Continue reading Hank Johnson’s mea culpa on the ‘m-word’ »

Video: Kasim Reed talks gay marriage on MSNBC

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed did his first national interview on his flip in support of same-sex marriage today on MSNBC and offered fodder for those parsing Reed’s statewide aspirations. When asked whether he would support an effort to overturn Georgia’s 2004 constitutional ban on gay marriage, Reed noted that he voted against that effort in the state Senate and added:

My evolvement, if you will, really occurred around moving from civil unions to being comfortable with marriage. And that’s where I ended up, and I intend to carry that message all over Georgia.

Reed also offered new detail on how his longtime friendship with Atlanta attorney Lee Schreter and her partner informed his switch:

They invited me to their wedding in New York and I was conflicted. I did not go because I would have felt like a hypocrite. But it did cause me to think more and more and then I talked to my dad, and he and I have been …

Continue reading Video: Kasim Reed talks gay marriage on MSNBC »

Your Daily Jolt: Barrow glad for “a few less crazy people” in House

Augusta’s Blue Dog Democratic Rep. John Barrow found himself among like-minded folks this morning at a seminar sponsored by Center Forward, a group that works to promote the few remaining moderates in Congress. The point was to examine the role moderates play in the fiscal cliff negotiations and Congress going forward.

Barrow swung between lamenting the receding number of Blue Dogs and pronouncing himself hopeful for the future. The outlook for the forthcoming Congress is positive, he said, because “we have a somewhat smaller number of crazies than there is currently. … A few less crazy people is a good start.”

He was referring mostly to the conservative House Republicans who “created a crisis” over the debt limit vote last year and who, he said, are hemming in Speaker John Boehner now. Barrow said the biggest problem as we near the fiscal cliff is “the tyranny of the minority within the majority, their ability to dismiss their leader and their predisposition to do so.”

He …

Continue reading Your Daily Jolt: Barrow glad for “a few less crazy people” in House »

Broun: ‘This is not about a race in 2014′

Until he gives a firm yes or no, this is what Athens Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s life is going to be like: The first question at a Capitol Hill news conference this afternoon — from National Review’s Robert Costa, who is basically on the Georgia beat these days — was to Broun, asking if he would run a primary against U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss if Chambliss votes to raise taxes in a fiscal cliff deal.

Rep. Paul Broun at a TeaParty.net press conference (AJC/Daniel Malloy)

Rep. Paul Broun at a TeaParty.net press conference (AJC/Daniel Malloy)

“This is not about a race in 2014. This is about the next two weeks. This is about the petitions that are signed here,” said Broun, gesturing toward 160,000 artfully stacked petitions asking lawmakers not to break the no-new-taxes pledge.  “I will not cave in. I am going to vote against raising taxes on anyone. Period. So not looking forward to any particular race. This is all about just what makes sense financially for your children and your grandchildren’s future.”

This of course is a more definitive …

Continue reading Broun: ‘This is not about a race in 2014′ »

Chambliss campaign manager’s thoughts on Deal: “Nothing”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., (right) with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in 2011. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., (right) with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in 2011. (Alex Brandon/AP)

By Daniel Malloy

The long-time campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said today that all the hullabaloo around a potential primary race has been “a real net positive” for Chambliss, dismissed the “rumors” and “rumblings” about a big-name primary challenger as nothing more and said the senator is focused on his day job.

I asked Tom Perdue over the phone what he thought of Gov. Nathan Deal’s comment last week that “it’s way too early to be picking winners and losers” in a Chambliss primary. Perdue replied: “Nothing.”

Frosty is an understatement to describe the relationship between Perdue and Team Deal since Perdue said Deal should drop out of the 2010 governor’s race following revelations about Deal’s financial troubles. Charlie Harper of Peach Pundit pointed out that Perdue’s public appearance with Chambliss at a politically fraught Cobb County GOP breakfast Dec. 1 likely …

Continue reading Chambliss campaign manager’s thoughts on Deal: “Nothing” »

Your Daily Jolt: Deal tells legislators money is tight

Closing out the biennial pre-session meeting of state lawmakers in Athens, Gov. Nathan Deal laid out the not-so-pretty picture for state finances. From Walter C. Jones at Morris News Service:

In years past, governors have used their luncheon speech to outline ambitious agendas.

Deal, though, used the occasion to dampen expectations.

“I must tell you it is a rather daunting budget this year. We have some challenges,” he said.

The looming federal budget cuts would offer another blow to Georgia’s budget-writers, and there is little sign of progress toward altering or averting them in any way. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner apparently traded offers Tuesday that did little to move the ball.

The Wall Street Journal reports that there is one new aspect to the closed-door negotiations: Corporate tax reform.

***

The key excerpt from the dead tree version of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s announcement that he backs gay marriage:

Reed is running for re-election next …

Continue reading Your Daily Jolt: Deal tells legislators money is tight »

Kasim Reed announces support for gay marriage

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has officially evolved. Through a press release this afternoon, Reed announced his support of gay marriage.

President Barack Obama in May said his views “evolved” in announcing his support, and Reed today says he has “gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone.”

When Obama made his announcement there was some pushback on the issue in the African-American church. At the time Reed said he was still “wrestling with my own personal beliefs.” There are signs that black public opinion quickly shifted on the matter, particularly in Maryland, where voters approved same-sex marriage last month. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider the issue next year.

From a political standpoint, Reed aligns himself with U.S. Rep. John Lewis — a proponent as far back as 2003 — and gets ahead of what is likely to …

Continue reading Kasim Reed announces support for gay marriage »

Poll debunks N.C. senator’s proclaimed peanut superiority

Then-Rep. Jim Marshall, Rep. Jack Kingston and Sen. Johnny Isakson, victorious in the Great American Peanut debate (Courtesy: Georgia Peanut Commission)

Then-Rep. Jim Marshall, Rep. Jack Kingston and Sen. Johnny Isakson, victorious in the Great American Peanut debate (Courtesy: Georgia Peanut Commission)

At the U.S. Senate Secret Santa swap on Monday, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., presented Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., with three jars of peanuts from Bertie County, North Carolina. The Allentown (PA) Morning Call’s ace Washington reporter Colby Itkowitz found this strange and followed up with Hagan’s office, noting Georgia was better known for peanuts.

“Clearly North Carolina has the best peanuts in the country,” Hagan press secretary Chris Moyer told Itkowitz.

Them’s fightin’ words.

Walk into any Georgia Congressional office and you’ll be offered a bag of Georgia Peanuts and a Coke. This is a state that takes its legumes seriously.

When asked for a rebuttal, Lauren Claffey, spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss — who’s from Moultrie, where they know peanuts — responded with data. A poll conducted by Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call

Continue reading Poll debunks N.C. senator’s proclaimed peanut superiority »

Your Daily Jolt: ‘Cool but not icy’ Falcons stadium reaction

After the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved the outline for a new $1 billion downtown stadium for the Falcons on Monday morning, word spread quickly to Athens, where state legislators are holding their biennial summit. The AJC’s Greg Bluestein was on the scene and he described the reaction as “cool but not icy” as he surveyed lawmakers, who would need to vote to approve raising the GWCCA’s debt limit. From Bluestein:

House Speaker David Ralston said the stadium’s supporters need to make a forceful argument about why the new facility is needed – and he doesn’t think they’ve made that argument quite yet.

“This is more than about the Falcons. And because of that, we have to proceed very carefully,” Ralston said. “It’s a tough economic climate and for the state to undertake any sort of investment, I think we have to move cautiously.”

State Rep. Ed Lindsey, an Atlanta Republican and one of the House’s leading lawmakers, said he has to be convinced the stadium meets …

Continue reading Your Daily Jolt: ‘Cool but not icy’ Falcons stadium reaction »