Posted: 3:03 pm Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein
Given that it’s an election year, Gov. Nathan Deal surely expected criticism from Democrats and his GOP challengers over the state’s response to the epic traffic jam that ground Atlanta to an icy halt last week.
But Deal might not have expected a fellow Republican governor to pile on.
In a Tuesday speech, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley told a Charleston civic club that her brother was stuck on an interstate in Atlanta for 27 hours during the gridlock that stranded tens of thousands on roads and thousands of students in classrooms. From the Charleston Regional Business Journal:
“While I was trying to fix South Carolina, I was furious at Georgia for not taking care of that,” she said.
She complimented South Carolina’s Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies, as well as the state’s National Guard, for their work during the storm.
“When you go through a storm, whether it’s a hurricane or winter storm, our team stands ready,” Haley said. “I am very proud of team South Carolina and the way they handled the storm.”
Now, some might be suspicious that, by pointing to Georgia, Haley was trying to persuade her audience that the closing of Charleston’s all-important Ravenel Bridge, which froze over and was closed, was small potatoes by comparison.
In any case, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson offered this when confronted with Haley’s jab:
“To say South Carolina did a better job responding to the storm than Georgia is like saying Tennessee did a better job than Louisiana responding to Hurricane Katrina. We experienced completely different weather events.”
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press. He also contributes to the AJC's Political Insider blog. Bluestein has traveled to Haiti with President Jimmy Carter, journeyed to Panama with Gov. Nathan Deal and tracked down a suspected Ponzi schemer in suburban Kansas. He spent weeks in Louisiana covering the Gulf Oil Spill, became an unwitting expert on capital punishment after witnessing almost a dozen executions in Georgia's death chamber and was part of award-winning teams that descended upon the biggest breaking news events in the Southeast. Bluestein has covered a range of beats, including environment, legal affairs and economic development. He's now the AJC's political writer, charged with covering the intricacies of Georgia's lively government on the newspaper's front pages and in the Political Insider blog. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.