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Johnny Isakson to Michelle Nunn: ‘You can’t have it both ways’

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U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., left, and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., at a press conference earlier this month outside the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta. AP/Augusta Chronicle, Michael Holahan.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., left, and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., at a press conference earlier this month outside the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta. AP/Augusta Chronicle, Michael Holahan.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has a message for Democrat Michelle Nunn, who would like to become his colleague – and has hinted that she wouldn’t be a sure vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. From Walter Jones of Morris News Service:

“The oldest rule in politics … is you can’t have it both ways,” [Isakson] said. “You can’t say, ‘I might,’ and say, ‘I might not,’ and expect the people of Georgia to believe it one way or another. You’ve got to ultimately declare what you’re going to do.”

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog***

In yesterday’s post on citizen-journalist Nydia Tisdale, Attorney General Sam Olens and that weekend GOP rally in Dawsonville, we wrote this:

A county deputy was summoned. As we said, Tisdale is driven. She did not go quietly. Her screams punctuated the event.

“I’ve had a lot of things happen as a speaker…” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler gamely told the crowd over the noise, to nervous laughter.

Last night, we received an email from Butler, who made this point:

I take exception to your “gamely” description of my remarks at the Dawsonville rally. My remarks were not aimed at her but to a person in the crowd who was apologizing for the incident and I was not trying to be funny. I told Mrs. Tisdale that I had no problem with her recording me and I told the organizers the same thing right before [I] went up to speak.

***

U.S. Senate hopefuls David Perdue and Michelle Nunn are meeting separately with the Georgia Farm Bureau today in Macon, as the agriculture community takes measure of who will succeed U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss — an unquestioned friend to the industry.

Chambliss, a former ag lawyer from Moultrie, spent his entire congressional career on agriculture committees and was chairman of the Senate one for a time. He left his mark on a series of Farm Bills and was a consistent voice to protect subsidy programs for cotton and peanut farmers.

Perdue and Nunn are both working to arouse suspicion in the farm crowd that the other is not a worthy heir.

Nunn plans a news conference after the meeting to point out Perdue’s “hypocrisy” because he would have opposed this year’s Farm Bill. Perdue took the stand during the primary, siding with conservatives who blasted the bill — which was the subject of two years of contentious negotiation — for not cutting food stamps enough, among other reasons.

But both Chambliss and Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson voted for the bill, and farm communities lobbied hard for it to avoid a crisis if farm policy were allowed to lapse. Chambliss bent Perdue’s ear on farm issues during Perdue’s recent Washington visit, and he has said he wants to join the Agriculture Committee if elected.

Nunn, meanwhile, talks often of her family farm in Perry — and does interviews there — but Republicans are fond of pointing out she grew up mostly in Bethesda, Md., rather than Middle Georgia like Perdue. And her leaked internal campaign memos ranked farm issues low on the totem pole, while detailing plans to pose with “her family in rural settings with rural-oriented imagery” for campaign materials.

So both can expect to have some explaining to do this morning.

***

In April the U.S. Supreme Court broke down the cumulative maximum for donors to give to candidates and party committees per election cycle in the McCutcheon v. FEC case. Democrats denounced the decision, but now have joined the fray — just as they did for Super PACs.

From the Center for Public Integrity:

Paperwork recently filed with the Federal Election Commission indicates 26 Democratic candidates and party committees stand to benefit from money raised collectively through the Grassroots Victory Project 2014.

This means that thanks to the McCutcheon ruling, donors this year may give more than $178,000 a piece to the new Grassroots Victory Project 2014, which would distribute the funds among its 26 members.

The Georgia Democratic Party and Michelle Nunn are among those who will benefit. The piece helpfully reminds readers that Nunn said the McCutcheon decision is “bad news for anyone who believes that democracy should be about the voices of the many — not a few billionaires.”

***

The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s $2.5 million investment in bashing Michelle Nunn through Sept. 15 includes more than just the first TV ad we showed you.

This alternative spot is similar in invoking Nunn’s words from the Democratic primary debate on working with Obama and vowing that she will be “Obama’s senator, not yours.”

But the digital ad below goes in a different direction, perhaps inspired by the animal-themed 12th Congressional District ads.

***

California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill mandating kill switches in smart phones, a popular measure seen as a way to reduce theft.

But in the wake of events in Ferguson, Mo., some libertarians are rethinking their support. From an article by Jake Laperruque of the Center for Democracy and Technology:

[T]he California bill is especially troubling on the issue of police using the feature to shut down phones. The legislation states that government agents may use the kill switch so long as their activities comply with Section 7908 of the Public Utilities Code. This law allows governments to disrupt communications under certain guidelines with judicial authorization, but also includes an “emergency” exception that requires no independent approval.

This means that police could use the kill switch to shut down all phones in a situation they unilaterally perceive as presenting an imminent risk of danger….

This week’s events in Ferguson, Missouri highlight the risks of abuse all too clearly. Police have repeatedly attempted to disrupt protests and ordered both demonstrators and press to turn off recording devices. If the California bill were in place in Missouri, these officers might deploy the government kill switch alongside tear gas and rubber bullets, using the mandated technology to stop coordination between protesters, cut off access to outside information, and shut down video recordings that can deter police misconduct.

***

On Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz has a piece on why libertarians aren’t a solution for a Republican party in search of younger voters. A taste:

One of the most important reasons why the libertarian philosophy holds little appeal for most younger voters is that a disproportionate share of voters under the age of 30 are nonwhite. According to the 2012 ANES, nonwhites made up 40% of voters under the age of 30 compared with 25% of voters age 30 and older. Moreover, the nonwhite share of younger voters is almost certain to increase over the next several election cycles based on the racial composition of the age cohorts that will be entering the electorate in the future.

The libertarian philosophy of limited government holds very little appeal to nonwhite voters in general, and it holds even less appeal to younger nonwhite voters. Only 4% of nonwhite voters under the age of 30 were classified as libertarians compared with 23% of white voters under the age of 30.

***

Jason Carter wasn’t the only Democrat to earn the Georgia Association of Educators endorsement yesterday.

In another not-so-shocking move, the teachers group also backed Valarie Wilson, the Democratic candidate for superintendent. Sid Chapman, the group’s president, said he looked forward to a Carter-Wilson education tag-team in January, and confirmed after the event that she, too, would earn the group’s backing.

***

Gov. Nathan Deal’s camp is pushing back against Democratic criticism of his run-in with immigration activists.  The video portrays members of a group called the Undocumented Student Alliance in a back-and-forth with the governor over a policy banning undocumented students from attending UGA.

When Deal said, “I presume you probably fit the category,” a student named Lizbeth Miranda got upset.

“I don’t. I’m not an illegal immigrant. I’m not undocumented. And I don’t know why you thought that I was undocumented. Is it because I looked Hispanic?” she asked.

The governor apologized, and his spokesman said he was aiming his remarks at a white male who asked the initial question. But last night, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson offered that the student’s outrage setting was far too sensitive:

Nonetheless, Democrats see an opening. The Democratic Party of Georgia’s Latino Caucus chair said he’s shocked that the governor would “profile young students based on their appearance and presume that they are undocumented. Such a presumption is at the very heart of racial profiling.”

The chair, Antonio Molina, added:

“In order for Georgia to thrive, our leaders must ensure that we live in an inclusive Georgia—a Georgia that welcomes diversity, rewards hard work, and provides opportunity for all. It is apparent that Nathan Deal cannot provide this kind of leadership.”

***

State lawmakers were told Wednesday that House Clerk Bill Reilly, who is in charge of day-to-day chamber operations at the state Capitol, has undergone successful heart surgery at Emory University and will be out for the next several weeks.

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