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The day T. Boone Pickens met the Georgia tea party

Billionaire oilman and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens met the Georgia tea party Thursday.

The two forces eyed each other with some admiration. But don’t expect the relationship to flourish. They don’t agree on the basics.

Billionaire entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens. Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

Billionaire entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens. Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

The occasion was the 2011 Manufacturing Summit in Dalton. For the better part of the day, Georgia’s political and economic center shifted from Atlanta to the mountains — a region that, despite hard times, still can claim more manufacturing jobs than any other area of the state.

In front of 900 or so job-hungry citizens, dozens of state officials, business executives and academics pondered an unemployment rate that remains only a whisper under 10 percent.

The first prominent speaker was U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger. More than any other House Republican from Georgia, Graves has embraced the tenets of the tea party movement. He reflects his constituency.

“I’m here to get out of your way,” …

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