Entries in Georgia (10)


Newt Gingrich-Bound Georgia Delegates Sit in Waiting

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich won 52 Georgia delegates in March. Even though he dropped from the race, those bound delegates must vote for Gingrich this summer at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., until he releases them to the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney. Gingrich has yet to do that.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News that the Gingrich campaign is working closely with the Romney campaign on the delegates and, under their advice, will release the delegates at a certain time. For now, they’re waiting.

“If you look at past campaigns, they’ve held on to their delegates until much later. Most wait until August,” Hammond said.

Waiting to release the delegates until the convention could prevent questions of where those newly unbound delegates will go. With Ron Paul in the race all the way to the convention, the Gingrich campaign holding on to the delegates actually could help Romney because there is no stigma or question of Romney not being able to line up unbound delegates.

Randy Evans, a Georgia Republican delegate and former senior adviser to the Gingrich campaign, told ABC News that he believes Gingrich will make the decision on releasing his bound delegates around the time Romney reaches 1,144 delegates. Romney is expected to hit that mark during the Texas Republican primary.

“Newt does have to release the delegates. Otherwise, we are bound to him for the first two ballots,” Evans said. “When we filled out our paperwork at the convention last week, we signed an oath saying we were committed to be a Gingrich or a Romney delegate.”

Romney received 21 delegates from the Georgia primary.

Elected Georgia delegate Stefan Passantino told ABC News he’s legally bound to vote for Gingrich at the convention and would gladly do so.

“Among the Georgia delegation, they remain very true and strong supporters to Newt to this day,” Passantino said. “There will not be much resistance to support him as long as he is seeking that support.”

Passantino said that although the delegates, once released, will be able to cast their vote for whomever, he suspects they will mostly go Romney’s direction.

“If Newt releases the delegates and tells us to get behind Romney, I suspect then there will be overwhelming willingness to get behind him,” Passantino said.

Though Passantino said there was a “very vocal Ron Paul minority” at the Georgia state convention, they were not able to overthrow the slate of delegates selected, most of which are likely Gingrich supporters and will go on to support Romney, not Paul.

“There was an effort made to have other nominations, but the delegates at the state convention voted to close the slate,” Passantino said. “This is unlike what you’ve seen in other conventions and people being selected from the floor. That did not happen in Georgia.”

Another Gingrich-bound delegate, Linda Herren, who serves as the Georgia national committeewoman, did not endorse a candidate in the Georgia race, but told ABC News that Gingrich’s bound delegates are essentially in waiting.

“That’s the rules, so my opinion doesn’t really count. I assume he will release at some point,” Herren said.

While the delegates bound to Gingrich have to wait for his OK to cast their vote for someone else at the convention, Herren said, “from a practical standpoint, I don’t see that happening.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Knows What It Takes to Be Southern

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(DOTHAN, Ala.) — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich accused Mitt Romney on Saturday of pandering to Southern voters, while adding a few “aint’s” and some colorful colloquial phrases to his normally grammatically correct stump speech.

Gingrich was a congressman from Georgia for 20 years, so talking the talk with voters isn’t something new.

Taking it a step further today while visiting the Gulf in Dothan, Gingrich shed his usual suit for a Bassmaster’s shirt. The audience cheered as Gingrich walked out wearing the fishing shirt, complete with Bassmaster logos, after being introduced and endorsed by the founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Ray Scott, the person responsible for creating the first pro-Bass fishing tournament.

“What a crowd. I am really impressed. There must be nobody left at Walmart this afternoon,” Gingrich said.

The crowd laughed and cheered at Gingrich’s expression — a phrase used by Southerners to say something big is happening in town. Gingrich told the crowd a story about his son-in-law fishing and then switched his stump speech on gas prices to fit the audience.

“I want to talk to you a little bit about gas prices and energy prices and if you’re a fisherman and you take your boat anywhere and you try to fill up your boat and you try to fill up your truck to be able to take your boat somewhere, you have a real interest in the price of gasoline,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich took the opportunity to suggest Mitt Romney was pandering to Southern voters when the former Massachusetts governor said Friday that he liked eating grits.

“He is now turning me into, I don’t know, an unofficial Southerner, and I’m learning to say y’all and I like grits. Things … strange things are happening to me,” Romney said on a campaign stop in Jackson, Miss.
Gingrich responded to Romney saying that he liked eating grits many different ways.

“Governor Romney yesterday tried grits and I just want you to understand that as someone who has represented Georgia for a long time, I like grits, I like cheese grits, I like it with gravy, and there are a number of ways you can have it,” Gingrich said. “I’m glad that the governor is beginning to learn about the South.”

Gingrich also added new words to his vocabulary: “ain’t” and “y’all,” words not heard in the former speaker’s rhetoric in states like New Hampshire and Nevada. Though every state carries an issue the candidates pander to voters while visiting: ethanol in Iowa, the Northern Pass in New Hampshire, the port of Charleston in South Carolina, the space program in Florida, the Mojave desert cross in Nevada, Gingrich stuck to talking about gas prices and foreign policy.

One issue Gingrich was told about today on the rope line in Orange Beach, Ala., was the frustration of a shortened snapper fishing season.

“I’ll be sure and check into that,” Gingrich said. A surrogate introducing Gingrich told the crowd that the endorsement from the creator of Bassmaster meant that every fisherman in the country would vote for Gingrich.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Swipes at Gingrich’s Gas Price Promise

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(SNELLVILLE, Ga.) -- Mitt Romney took an indirect swipe at GOP rival Newt Gingrich on Sunday during an appearance in the former speaker’s home state of Georgia, telling a crowd of hundreds that he won’t “pander” to voters and promise them a certain gas price if he’s elected.

“I’d like to get gas prices down, all right?  That’s number one.  And I don’t think we want to see them go up.  We have a president and his secretary of energy who like the idea of higher and higher gas prices.  Americans are really suffering because of the direction of gas prices and I’m afraid that what you’re going to see over the coming months and perhaps even years will reflect the fact that this president has cut back on licensing in federal lands, cut back on drilling,” Romney said, answering a question at a pancake brunch at Brookwood High School.

Gingrich, who is leading in the polls heading into Georgia’s primary on Tuesday, recently began promising that if he is elected, Americans will not have to pay more than $2.50 for a gallon of gas under his energy plan.

“I want to take advantage of our energy resources by opening up drilling, offshore, [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], create more licenses in federal lands, get people drilling for more energy in this country,” said Romney.  “It’s going to take a while for that to come into the system.  I want to get that pipeline coming in from Canada."

“I’m not going to come here and pander to you and say here’s what your gasoline price will be if I do all those things,” Romney continued.  “But I can tell you this: If we develop that energy here in the United States, we’ll help hold prices down, we’ll also keep the money here in the United States, creating jobs here instead of outside the United States.”

Romney seemed to be referring to Gingrich’s energy plan and his subsequent new campaign slogan and logos unveiled in February that tout his promise of a $2.50 per gallon gas price.

The new logo shows a gas pump with the price set at $2.50 with the “Newt 2012″ logo on the pump.  He also promised a new hash tag on Twitter: #250gas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum: We Have a ‘Guerrilla Campaign’

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Rick Santorum defined his campaign, which he says has none of the frills or trappings of Mitt Romney’s, as a “guerrilla campaign” Thursday.  He raised $9 million in February alone, but the candidate believes as the race approaches Super Tuesday, he will be outspent by his rival.

“Look, I don’t have billionaires giving me tens of billions of dollars to super PACS,” Santorum said.  “We raised $9 million in the last month.  We’re converting a lot of that into television ads, but also a lot of other things that we’re doing. … We’re not going to be able to go out and use a sledge hammer on television, but we’re connecting with voters, social media, all sorts of volunteer calls and activities that we’ve got going on in every state.”

Santorum says he has “a great organization” in Georgia, the state with the biggest delegate haul when 10 states vote this coming Tuesday.  He also, like the three other candidates in the GOP presidential race, has a superPAC, but it hasn’t invested in Georgia yet.  Romney’s superPAC, meanwhile, has already spent more than $1 million in the Peach State, but its ads are just attacking Newt Gingrich.

Santorum told reporters after a rally at an airplane hangar in Atlanta that his website had 130,000 donors last month and two thirds were low-dollar donors.  He added that he thought the Romney campaign and his superPAC’s negative ads in Michigan actually helped him in the state.

”When he started to run those ads, we won voters,” said Santorum.  “Gov. Romney’s M.O. of going out and trying to beat up another opponent is wearing thin among Republican voters.”

“Compared to Gov. Romney, nine percent of his donations were small dollar donations,” Santorum went on to say.  “We have the base of the Republican Party, we have the activists who are excited about our campaign who are contributing.  There’s only so many times, there’s only so many people you can go for maxed-out contributions, but you can go back to that $50 donor again and again throughout the course of this campaign.  And 130,000 people at a time, you can run a campaign based on that.”

Santorum said he’s done fewer than 30 fundraisers while campaigning -- a stunningly low number.  The campaign relies on frugality and takes a stripped-down approach to make the money last longer -- there’s no national headquarters and a small paid staff.

“We’re just not going around meeting with CEOs and in the big cities,” Santorum said.  “This campaign is living off the hard work of average ordinary people across this country who want to see a fundamental change, not on folks who have a -- well, let’s say a special interest in electing their candidate…. The folks who are giving $50 are the folks who want to see a free and prosperous America, and someone who is going to stand up for the values that made it that way.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Says Republican Party ‘Just Doesn’t Get It’

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke in front of a different kind of crowd Thursday — 600 people, many of whom have personally known Gingrich and his career for years. He told them he was “counting on his many friends” in Georgia.

During the question and answer session, issue questions were pushed to the wayside as voters in one of the most conservative areas in the state, Cobb County, pressed him on his strategy and how he could really win. “I have to win Georgia I think to be credible in the race,” Gingrich said.

He told the crowd his real challenge for the nomination is getting past the Republican Party establishment.

“My primary problem isn’t beating Obama. Beating Obama will be easy. Obama is a disaster,” Gingrich said. “He is an incompetent radical. You can’t be both. The country will tolerate an incompetent pleasant person or they will tolerate a radical but they aren’t going to tolerate someone who doesn’t get it. The Republican Party just doesn’t get it. That’s why I am running. ”

Gingrich quoted a Bible verse from Proverbs, “Without vision, the people parish,” as he insisted that the Republicans have failed to provide vision.

“For 14 years -- let’s be clear -- they tried managing big government. That’s not possible. And if Romney wins, he will discover it’s not possible. Because the fact is, big government is inherently antithetical to the entire Republican Party,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich took the opportunity at a chamber of commerce event to hit Rick Santorum, his threat in the southern states, and leveled attacks against Mitt Romney.

Gingrich singled out Romney over his fundraising and attack ads. Gingrich told the crowd that only six percent of his donors have given less than $200 and that most of his donors are “maxed out.”

There is a new attack ad against Gingrich running in Georgia that is funded by the super PAC supporting Romney, Restore Our Future. The super PAC has recently purchased more than $1 million in advertising opposing Gingrich. Gingrich claims the ad questions his ties to working with Ronald Reagan.

“The Reagan ad they’re running is totally dishonest,” Gingrich said. “And I think it is shameful that a candidate for the president of the United States would have an ad up that is totally false. I worked with Ronald Reagan for years; most of you know I worked with him for years.”

The super PAC supporting Gingrich, Winning Our Future, made a $700,000 ad buy in Ga., which features an ad with citizens questioning Romney’s qualification for the nomination. Gingrich will campaign in Savannah and across the state as he continues his bus tour Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney In Georgia and Tennessee Ahead of Super Tuesday?

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Though Mitt Romney is trailing in the polls in a series of Southern states holding contests on Super Tuesday, his campaign says it plans to make an in-person play for delegates in at least two of them.

Romney is hoping to peel away some delegates from opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in states that are not necessarily ripe for Romney wins: Georgia and Tennessee.

Tentatively, Romney plans to make stops in the Knoxville, Tennessee area and Atlanta this weekend, just days before next Tuesday’s primaries. Georgia and Tennessee are two of 10 states where voters will go to the polls on Super Tuesday — a day when there are a total of 437 delegates at stake.

“No states are monolithic,” a Romney aide told ABC News, “there are different of pockets of opportunity in these areas.”

Campaign strategists say they see opportunities to over-perform in the eastern part of Tennessee, which includes the tri-cities area — a region that borders Virginia and where John McCain and Mike Huckabee each ran strong four years ago.

The campaign also sees a chance to pick up delegates in the greater Atlanta area. Romney won the five counties surrounding Atlanta in Georgia’s 2008 primary.

Romney came in third in both states four years ago, behind Huckabee and McCain, and according to recent polling, the former Massachusetts governor faces an uphill battle again this year.

In Tennessee, a poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University shows Santorum with a 20 percentage point lead over Romney, 42 percent to 19 percent. And in Georgia, surveys give Gingrich the edge with Santorum and Romney trailing behind. Gingrich has been crisscrossing Georgia ahead of the primary there and Santorum has visited both states already this week.

Georgia congressional districts are winner take all, so if a candidate wins a district he receives three delegates out of a statewide total of 76. In Tennessee, three delegates are also awarded in each of the state’s nine congressional districts, but they are allocated proportionally based on the popular vote within each district. Fifty-eight delegates are at stake there.

On Super Tuesday, the Romney campaign is counting on victories in Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia with other states, like Ohio, which represents the second-largest delegate prize of the day, up for grabs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three Georgia Governors Join Newt Gingrich Campaign

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Newt Gingrich announced Tuesday that three governors from the Peach State are joining his presidential campaign.

Former Georgia Govs. Sonny Perdue and Zell Miller, who also served as a U.S. Senator, will serve as national chairmen of Gingrich’s campaign.  Miller, a Democrat, famously denounced John Kerry at the 2004 Republican National Convention and supported George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.

Current Gov. Nathan Deal will chair Gingrich's campaign in Georgia.

“I’m proud to have three very important Georgians helping lead our campaign,” Gingrich said in a statement.  “Sonny, Zell and Nathan are good friends and have always provided good counsel.  They will be there very important voices as we talk to the American people about the right policies we need to win the future."

At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Gingrich said he will play in all the early states and has asked his supporters in Georgia to split their time campaigning between the neighboring states of Florida and South Carolina.  Gingrich’s campaign is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.

Earlier this month, another Georgian, Rep. Jack Kingston, endorsed Gingrich.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Goes Back Home to Georgia as a Presidential Candidate

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(MACON, Ga.) -- Newt Gingrich returned home to Georgia Friday night to deliver his first major speech as an official presidential candidate.  Gingrich, who served as a representative from the Peach State for 20 years, headlined the Georgia GOP Convention in Macon, Ga., presenting his quest to extend American exceptionalism, revitalize the economy, and redirect the foreign policy interests of the United States.

“The United States of America is in trouble and it needs every possible citizen to come to its aid if we are to remain the great center of freedom, the great developer of prosperity and the provider of safety to our citizens and our friends around the world,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich stressed the importance of focusing the election on policies and initiatives instead of personalities by reinforcing his achievements as speaker of the House and laying out his plans for economic revival and foreign policy.

Gingrich’s plan to reinvigorate the economy rests largely in tax cuts, specifically the elimination of the capital gains tax and the "death tax," setting the corporate tax rate at 12.5 percent, and allowing industries to expense all new equipment.

Gingrich criticized President Obama’s foreign policy positions, saying he “doesn’t understand the real world.”

“We have to fundamentally reset our homeland security and our national security policies building around American interests, to protect American lives, working with those countries that are truly our allies.”

The former speaker of the House acknowledged he doesn’t possess the deep pockets of some potential 2012 contenders but remained determined to conduct his campaign through outreach and the mobilization opportunities available through the Internet.

Gingrich will address the 150th commencement at Eureka College, the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan, on Saturday before engaging in a 17-stop tour in Iowa next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Georgia Lawmaker Wants Discrimination Stopped Against Unemployed

HankJohnson [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The unemployed in the U.S. are still a minority and, consequently, they're being discriminated against, says Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson.

What disturbs the Democratic lawmaker are want ads from companies that specify that job applicants "must be currently employed."

Johnson says, "I just thought about how unfair that was, to discriminate against people who had lost their jobs due to no fault of their own, who were just victims of corporate downsizing during a tough economy."

To remedy this inequity, Johnson introduced a bill that would include the unemployed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Employers would be forbidden to deny a job applicant work or lower compensation because of the applicant's current employment status.

If there's an alleged case of unemployment discrimination, the plaintiff would have to prove his case, which might be difficult.  Yet, Johnson believes his Fair Employment Act of 2011 would dissuade employers from using language that shuts out jobless applicants.

The likelihood of Johnson's amendment passing is small, given Republicans in Georgia control the state's Legislature.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Shooting' Question Targets Obama at Rep. Paul Broun Event

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The first audience question at a town hall event for Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun this week highlights just how tenuous the spirit of political civility has been in the wake of the Tucson shootings last month.

"Who is going to shoot Obama?" an unidentified constituent reportedly asked Broun on Tuesday, drawing a big laugh from the crowd, according to a report in the Athens Banner-Herald.

"The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president," Broun replied, opting not to object to the question or its reference to violence.

"We're going to have an election next year," he said before taking the next question. "Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Responding to queries about Broun's response, his press secretary Jessica Morris later said, "Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on."

Broun, 64, a family doctor who was elected to a third term in office in November, is one of the House's most conservative members and a member of the Tea Party caucus.

He has been an outspoken critic of Democrats and the Obama administration, at times employing controversial and inflammatory rhetoric.

During President Obama's State of the Union address in January, Broun chose not to attend in the House chamber, where members of both parties were sitting together in a display of bipartisan unity. Instead, he watched the speech from his office and tweeted: "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."

Broun has said his views are not personal attacks but legitimate criticisms of a political philosophy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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