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Greg BluesteinTamar Hallerman

Can Donald Trump win? ‘Anything is possible,’ says Barack Obama

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About six months ago, President Barack Obama said the closest he can imagine Donald Trump will be to making a State of the Union address would be delivering the speech in a “Saturday Night (Live)” skit. In an interview aired Wednesday ahead of Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech, the president said “anything is possible” and warned Democrats not to be complacent.

Here’s what he told the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Yes or no, is it possible that Donald Trump wins the presidency?

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit on Tuesday in downtown Atlanta. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

President Barack Obama in Atlanta. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Anything is possible. It is– the– the nature of democracy that until those votes are cast and the American people– you know, have their say– we don’t know.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Are you worried?

 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You know, as somebody who has now been in elected office– at various levels– for about 20 years– I’ve seen all kinds of crazy stuff happen. And– I think anybody who– goes into campaigns not running scared can end up losing.

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Last night’s defeat of state Sen. Mike Crane in the race for an open U.S. House seat was an enormous win for Georgia’s Republican establishment.

The Newnan Republican had all the trappings of an anti-establishment insurgent campaign. He was backed by tea party groups, boosted by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and championed by state Sen. Josh McKoon, the sponsor of the “religious liberty” bill and a thorn in the establishment’s side. At every turn, Crane attacked establishment forces, criticizing them for a “politics as usual” mindset.

And the campaign’s victor, former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson, indeed had the support of traditional Republican powerhouses. Many elected officials jumped on his camp’s side, as did the Georgia Chamber and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Several aides to outgoing Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, whose retirement left the seat vacant, helped Ferguson’s bid.

There was no love lost between most of Georgia’s ranking GOP forces and Crane. Recall that GOP activists at the Third District’s April meeting voted to “censure” Gov. Nathan Deal over his veto of the religious liberty legislation, and Crane led a brief charge calling for a special session to reverse the veto.  Business forces also took particular delight in defeating a lawmaker who vigorously fought a 2015 transportation tax hike they championed.

“That sound you heard last night was a harpoon letting the air out,” texted one jubilant Republican operative.

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In case you missed it during yesterday’s DNC madness, the chairman of the Georgia GOP is calling on U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, to resign after the five-term lawmaker was quoted likening Jewish settlements in the disputed West Bank to “termites.”

Johnson’s remarks have continued to draw criticism from prominent Jewish groups and their allies, and it raises questions about whether it will hurt the lawmaker in the deeply-blue 4th congressional District, which does have a sizable Jewish population.

Los Angeles Rabbi David Wolpe yesterday took particular umbrage with Johnson’s initial response to the backlash, below:

And Wolpe penned this response in Time calling out Johnson:

Everyone in the public eye, used to speaking rivers of words, will choose badly at times. While it is true that not everyone will make a racist, sexist or anti-Semitic remark, we can try to be generous and allow some leeway. But a good person will be horrified when they realize what they have said. They will not apologize for someone else’s taking offense, but for their own insensitivity and cruelty.

That is what the congressman should have done. That is what he, pointedly, did not do.

Draw your own conclusion.

So Johnson’s about-face continued:

He also apologized to Wolpe:

We have more context here. By the way, video has finally surfaced of Johnson’s remarks, which you can view here.

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Ouch. Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff had this to say about former state Sen. Jason Carter’s vow that Georgia is a “battleground state.”

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The Georgia GOP is stepping up attacks against Democratic Jim Barksdale, who is seeking to oust Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson from office.

“When will Jim Barksdale voice his opposition to the ‘most progressive platform’ in Democratic Party history?” the party asked Tuesday. “And if he won’t speak up and rebuff his party’s platform, is there really any doubt that Jim Barksdale is the Bernie-loving, radical, left wing, limousine-liberal that we say he is?”

Limousine liberal? There’s a phrase we hadn’t heard in a while.

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Well that was fast. 

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Not everyone can be Newt Gingrich.

Tom Price, R-Roswell, who holds the U.S. House seat once occupied by the former speaker, held a Facebook Q&A yesterday. He even posted this photo to remind folks to log on and ask him a question:

But it quickly became clear the event lacked the same participation that Gingrich’s Facebook Live events have attracted in recent weeks. It took him nearly 20 minutes to get his first question and he ultimately got only two lobbed his way.

May we humbly suggest cat GIFs for next time?

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