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Daniel Malloy
Greg Bluestein

The local push to hold the Democratic National Convention next door

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Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young still plays an

Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young still plays an outsized role in Democratic politics. AJC file photo.

Now that Republicans have picked Cleveland as the site for their 2016 national convention, the sweepstakes is on for the Democratic bash. And one prominent Georgia Democrat wants the event to be held next door.

From AL.com comes word that former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young endorses Birmingham’s bid to host the Democratic National Convention in two years. The former Atlanta mayor said the South’s changing demographics make it a prime spot for the party gala.

From the story:

The former mayor has experience with the Democratic National Convention. Atlanta hosted the 1988 convention at the end of Young’s tenure.

The convention was a turning point for the city, Young said. Hosting the Democratic National Convention also led to other opportunities for Atlanta, most notably the 1996 Olympic Games, Young said.

The national attention on and mass of visitors in Birmingham the week of the 2016 Democratic National Convention could draw massive investments to the city, Young said. Following Atlanta’s 1988 convention, Atlanta received similar financial benefits, he added.

“After the convention, the money just began to flow in, and jobs, investment and we’re still struggling to contain it,” Young said. “Our schools got better.”

Young remembered that 50 years ago, when Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Johnson had commented that, “We probably lost the South for 50 years.”

“Well 50 years are up. It’s time we come back and reclaim the South,” Young said.

The Alabama city, and its struggles with the civil rights movement, holds symbolic significance for the party. But if faces stiff competition from New York; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia and Phoenix.

***

Former President Jimmy Carter this week referred to those who deny global warming as “nutcases.” Gov. Nathan Deal, who is tying everything the ex-president says to his gubernatorial challenger, had an interesting response. Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political Insider BlogHere’s what he told WABE:

“It is a dangerous policy and if people are subscribing to a cap and trade policy that President Carter is advocating than they should think very hard about having a governor who supports that,” said Deal.

He added no one should be referred to as nutcases.

“If he wants to use that classification than I guess I fit,” said Deal.

When asked to clarify, Deal said he believes in global warming but doesn’t know whether or not it’s man-made.

“It is an argument and a debate that will continue in this country and I have no reason to become engaged in it other than to say I’m the governor of this state. I’ll try to protect the ratepayers on their utility bills and I’ll try to make sure we remain competitive,” said Deal.

Jason Carter’s campaign manager, Matt McGrath, quickly poked fun at the governor’s response:

***

Republicans have unleashed another brutal attack ad targeting Rep. John Barrow of Augusta, the perpetually threatened Democrat. It features a local resident, Amy Parris, connecting Barrow’s votes to President Barack Obama’s administration.

See for yourself above. Katie Prill of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is boosting GOP businessman Rick Allen, sent us over this addendum:

“John Barrow has spent his political career in Washington voting with Barack Obama for more government spending and that has left the taxpayers footing the bill. Georgia families deserve a representative who is looking out for their bottom line and not someone like John Barrow who has only furthered the spending addiction of Congress.”

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State Rep. Ed Rynders, an Albany Republican who sits on the House’s budget-writing committee, sent us a snappy response to Democrat Jason Carter’s education funding plan. The gubernatorial candidate said he can start reversing billions of dollars in austerity cuts to Georgia’s education funding formula by finding a “giant amount of waste” to cut in the state budget.

Said Rynders:

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, we made the tough decisions over the last few years to cut spending instead of raising taxes, despite cries from Georgia Democrats. Now the Democratic nominee for governor has taken a new approach. What he lacks in specifics, he makes up for in rhetoric. Since he has pledged new revenue to transportation and education spending, one can only assume he has already identified his ‘giant amount of waste’ by cutting spending or even eliminating entire programs in healthcare, public safety and rural economic development. I look forward to seeing his detailed spending proposal.”

***

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, snagged some attention Thursday for promoting his Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act as the nation’s eyes turned to Ferguson, Mo., and the police actions there. But Johnson was not simply riding a news wave. He wrote an op-ed on the issue in March.

You can read his full bill here, which a spokesman said Johnson will introduce in September. Here’s what your local P.D. would no longer be able to get from the Pentagon:

(A) Automatic weapons not generally recognized as particularly suitable for law enforcement purposes, including those that are .50 caliber or greater.
(B) Tactical vehicles, including highly mobile multi-wheeled vehicles, armored vehicles, and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles.

(C) Armored drones.

(D) Aircraft.
(E) Flash-bang or stun grenades.
(F) Silencers.

But Ferguson would have to change a lot of minds in order for this to have a shot.

When the House passed a Pentagon funding bill in June, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., introduced an amendment that would ban transfers of “aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons.” The vote failed, 62-355.

It did attract an interesting mix of Georgians in favor, though: Johnson; John Lewis, D-Atlanta; John Barrow, D-Augusta; Paul Broun, R-Athens; and Jack Kingston, R-Savannah all voted yes.

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