Posts Tagged ‘Republican Primary’

Newt, Elvis, and Me

November 28, 2011

Of all of  the candidates in the Republican presidential primary, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only one I have met.  I interviewed him a number of times when I was working as a broadcast journalist.   The fact that, even though I was rarely on the same page politically with him, I was fair when interviewing him was evidenced the last time I interviewed him.  When he was still Speaker of the U.S. House, before he got caught  in his marital hypocrisy which revealed he was conducting an adultrous affair at the same time he was working to impeach President Clinton for doing the same thing, and before he had to pay a $300,000 fine for alleged House ethics violations, and eventually was forced to resign from Congress, he came to Columbus for some event.

When WTVM News requested a live 6 p.m. news interview with him, I was told that he would do it if I conducted the interview.  Seems my good Republican friend – I even voted for  him – Mac Collins, who was Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District representative at the time, had suggested that to Newt.  Anyway, I did interview him live that evening.  I was on the news set at the studio and he was at  the Trade Center.  It was one of those split-screen set ups.

I don’t recall  any of  the content of the interview so he must have basically  behaved himself and wasn’t in his nasty mode.  He can turn that on and off.  I do remember a little of what he said when I went up to Washington to interview him not long after he had become Speaker of the House.  I threw some soft-ball  questions to him about what it was like to be Speaker of the House, but eventually got around to the meaty stuff, things like, Why were the Republicans trying to cut school lunch money for the needy?  He said that charge by Democrats was misleading, that they were not trying to cut the school lunch  budget, just an increase in it.

The reason I decided to ask WTVM to pony up the money for a flight to Washington for me and my photographer was that when a Georgian reaches a position of that national importance, we needed to interview him in that environment.  Not only did WTVM do that, it made a deal with CNN for me to use their facilities to feed back a live report from D.C. to Columbus on the 6 p.m. news.  I also taped interviews with Rep. Mack Collins and my Democratic Party friend Rep. Sanford Bishop of the 2nd Congressional District, which includes South Columbus.  (Mack liked Sanford, and said his only problem was he was a Democrat and he should switch parties, and later, according to Sanford, even asked him to do it, but Sanford said he couldn’t do that.) After the taped interviews, both of them had said they would try to show up for the live shot that night, but neither did. Seems they had to stick around the House for a vote.  That  meant that, at the last minute, I realized I had to, as we said in the business, tap dance by myself.  I was glad I managed to get through the ad-libbing without hyperventilating.  We ran the taped interviews with all three of them over the  next few days when I got back to Columbus.

I also remember the time I interviewed Newt at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans in 1988.  That was the one when President George H. W. Bush made the ‘No new taxes!” pledge.  The fact that turned out to be an empty promise helped Bill Clinton beat him in Bush’s reelection bid.   My crew and I stayed at  the same hotel as the Georgia delegation, which included Newt.  I remember that he spotted me in the lobby the first night we were there and yelled hello.  The next day as we were walking to the  Superdome where the convention was being held,  I spotted him walking very fast behind  us. As he caught up with us, I told him I wanted an interview, and he said, as best as I can recall, “All right, but it’ll have to be later. I’m in a hurry right now because ABC wants to interview me.” That was understandable.  The WTVM audience was certainly no match in size for ABC’s.  He did, as he said he would, give me an interview later.

Now, he’s back in the  national spotlight big time.  Can he possibly get the nomination  and be elected with all  of  the political and personal baggage he is carrying?  At first blush,  my answer is certainly not.  But, in politics you just never really know.  As one famous movie producer, whose name I can’t remember, said, You should never overestimate the American public.  That is so true. Just think of some of the people who have been elected President.  Which reminds me, I just saw a really entertaining movie called Elvis Meets Nixon. It was so funny, and, as Dick Cavvitt said, “for the most part, true,” that I watched it twice.  By all means, rent it the first chance you get.

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A Very Important Election that You Probably Know Nothing About

July 19, 2010

Bobby Baker, departing member of the Georgia Public Service Commisssion (Photo: courtesy, GPSC)

There is a very important election in the Georgia Primary tomorrow that most people don’t know about because it has received scant media attention.  It’s the race to fill the seat of Georgia Public Service  Commissioner Bobby Baker. Baker, who has the reputation of being the lone true consumer advocate on the commission, decided to hang it up after 18 years of fighting for the consumer, and often losing to the four other members of the Commission. 

A Public Service Commission member directly affects you and your pocketbook. The Commission sets rates for public utilities.  For instance, it decides whether or not Georgia Power gets to go up on what you pay. So it really matters who gets elected to the Commission. 

If you are voting in the Democratic Primary, you don’t have to feel guilty about knowing nothing about the candidates for the GPSC, because only one person, Keith Moffett, is running. But, in case you plan to vote tomorrow, I’ll tell you a little about him.  He is the Director for Internal Affairs for the City of Macon, as well as an adjunct professor in business administration at Macon College. He is for clean energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy options, and keeping rates low. 

It’s a little harder if you are voting in the Republican Primary since four folks are running.  Two of the candidates, Joey Brush, John Douglas, are state senators, one, Jeff May, is a state representative, and one, Tim Echols,  is a former campaign manager for Insurance Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine.  You can click their names to read about what they say about themselves on their websites.  Not unexpectedly, all claim to be conservative, and they say they realize that public utilities have to make a reasonable profit.  Some are  “drill baby drill” advocates and support drilling off Georgia’s coast.  You can read more about that by clicking this link to Creative Loafing

All right, I have done my duty. You now at least have the names of those running for a very important job because what the PSC does directly affects your pocketbook.

“Creative Loafing” Comes Out for Oxendine

July 12, 2010

With the Georgia primary elections only 8 days away,  I’ll be doing some more blogs to help you make up your mind on who to vote for.  Let’s start with why you should vote for John Oxendine in the Republican Primary for governor.  Just click on this link to get all of the reasons that Scott Henry wants Oxendine to win.

WILL THIS BE THE YEAR OF THE WOMAN IN GEORGIA POLITICS?

July 9, 2010

FOR REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR, HANDEL IS GAINING ON OXENDINE AND, FOR DEMOCRATIC LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR,  PORTER HAS A 2 TO 1 LEAD OVER McCRACKEN, ACCORDING TO THE LATEST STATEWIDE POLL 

Karen Handel, Republican Primary Candidate for Governor

If the latest poll I just read is right, we could have women running for Georgia governor and lieutenant governor in the November General Election. The poll, which was taken Wednesday and Thursday of this week by SurveyUSA for 13WMAZ in Macon, and WXIA and V-103 in Atlanta, shows former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel gaining on front- runner Georgia Insurance Commissioner  John Oxendine.  If Handel gets into a runoff with Oxendine, and that appears likely, because, with the election only 11 days away, Oxendine is way short of winning without a runoff, and if she wins the runoff, she will be the Republican candidate for governor. 

Carol and DuBose Porter with their 4 sons

  And if Carol Porter wins the Democratic nomination – she is the front-runner and is running far ahead of Tricia Carpenter McCracken – she will be the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.  (Full disclosure: Carol is my first cousin once removed.)  Carol is the wife of DuBose Porter, minority leader of the Georgia House and candidate for governor.  If the poll results are accurate and they stay that way for the next 11 days, Carol could be the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor and DuBose will not be the Democratic nominee for governor. The Poll shows former governor Roy Barnes winning the Democratic primary without a runoff. DuBose comes in third, after Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who is shown gaining on Barnes. Asked about the possibility that his wife could win and he could lose, he said he has been asked about that a lot, and he always answers that she will get his full support no matter how it turns out.  I don’t think we’ve ever had women running for governor and lieutenant governor in the same election in Georgia  before.  If both of them just get the female vote, they’ll win.  That’s right, according to the latest figures from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, slightly more women than men are registered to vote in Georgia.

Josh Qualifies, as Expected

April 26, 2010

Josh Mckoon, Columbus attorney and former chair of the Muscogee County Republican Party, was the first to qualify this morning in Atlanta as a Republican primary candidate for the Senate District 29 seat being vacated by Seth Harp. His news release contained this statement:

“Today represents the start of a new phase in our campaign to bring conservative reform to Atlanta. Over the last 10 months, I’ve been traveling the District and listening to you. Over the next 10 weeks between now and the Republican primary, my campaign will be offering solutions to our problems and outlining in detail my vision for conservative reform at the Capitol.  I am excited to continue to work hard to earn your support to become the next State Senator for District 29.”

I’ll have more on this. Stay tuned.