Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Chris Christie headed for Georgia -- about the time delegates gather in Athens


 A Wall Street Journal reporter who got a peek at Chris Christie's travel calendar reports the New Jersey governor will be in Georgia in mid-May for a luncheon to raise money for his Leadership Matters for America PAC.

The presidential possibility's host will be House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, who has become Christie's chief contact here. No precise date or time was attached to the news, but the Georgia GOP convention starts its business at 2 p.m. Friday, May 15, in Athens.

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We know not whether the two events will coincide.

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U.S. Supreme Court arguments over the constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage begin at 10 a.m. this morning, and will last until 12:30 p.m. The court has promised to post the audio here by no later than 2 p.m.

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Monday's rioting in Baltimore coincided with new Attorney General Loretta Lynch's first day on the job. She put out a statement condemning the "senseless acts of violence" and noting the Department of Justice's ongoing investigation into Freddie Gray's death.

President Barack Obama met with Lynch but did not speak to the press about Baltimore. He has a 12 p.m. White House joint news conference today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We suspect the events happening 50 miles to the north will come up.

Also, for fans of The Wire, here are David Simon's thoughts.

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A sign that those multi-nation nuclear proliferation talks with Iran aren't absolutely doomed, from Bloomberg:

The top ranking Republican in Congress privately acknowledged this weekend that his party doesn't have enough votes to overcome a veto of any resolution disapproving the nuclear-weapons deal President Barack Obama hopes to reach with Iran.

Speaking at an off-the-record event Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition's meeting in Las Vegas, House Speaker John Boehner told the audience that he didn't expect that more than two-thirds of Congress would vote to overturn a veto from Obama if Congress voted against a nuclear deal, according to four people who were inside the room for the private talk.

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Georgia Democrats see a fundraising opportunity in the GOP's embrace of the "religious liberty" movement.

The Democratic Party of Georgia sent an email to its members seeking to raise money off the news that grassroots Republican organizers in 11 of the 14 districts adopted resolutions embracing the stalled legislation.

The legislation, Senate Bill 129, was the topic of a constant undercurrent of debate during the legislative session. Supporters describe it as a way to protect people of any religion from government interference. Opponents worry it could lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians and inspire frivolous lawsuits.

"These resolutions confirm what we've always known about the Georgia GOP — freedom and opportunity are afforded to those who look and sound like them," the Democratic fundraising note contended.

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The Democratic Party of Georgia has issued a 55-page plan outlining how it will select delegates for the party's national convention next year. The Dems will be taking public comment over the next 30 days before its officially submitted. You can find the nitty-gritty here.

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Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader is headed to Atlanta today to headline the National Floor Safety Institute's Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Symposium. If it sounds like a trial lawyer's dream, keep reading.

"The media often portrays slips, trips and falls as acts of fraud," said Mark Fagiano, the Emory University philosophy professor who helped set up the conference. "While this is true of certain contextualized situations, the actual causes of these incidents paint a more complex picture, which this symposium will highlight."

Nader, a consumer rights advocate, plans to remind the audience that accidental falls are the leading cause of accidental death for the elderly. "We as a society largely ignore this," he said. He'll speak at 7 p.m. on the Emory campus.

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The New York Times today weighs in on the latest effort to salvage Underground Atlanta:

Today, after languishing for years as a tacky, costly hole in the center of the city, Underground is due for its next major makeover, one based on a radical concept for this sprawl-loving metropolis: People might actually want to live downtown.

By September, a South Carolina development company is expected to complete its $25.8 million purchase of Underground. Plans discussed by the company, WRS, call for adding roughly 900 apartments and a supermarket, and renovating the cavernous below-street-level mall, home to a row of shuttered nightclubs and vendors hawking hip-hop CDs, $10 jeans and rhinestone cellphone cases.

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The Associated Press reports that forthcoming House-Senate budget deal -- led by U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, on his side of the Capitol -- ditches Medicare reforms and hikes military spending, while paving the way for Congress to send the president a full repeal of Obamacare:

The emerging plan relies on deep cuts to domestic agency budgets and safety net programs for the poor to promise a balanced budget by 2024. But it drops a controversial House proposal to radically overhaul the Medicare program. It also eliminates the option of using a fast-track budget bill to target food stamps and Pell Grants.

The measure is not yet finalized, but congressional aides familiar with its outlines say it'll likely be made official Monday or Tuesday and be ratified by House and Senate votes this week. ...

At issue is the annual congressional budget resolution for the 2016 fiscal year. The plan sets broad budget goals but by itself has little teeth; instead, painful follow-up legislation would be required to actually balance the budget. It also permits the GOP majority to suspend the Senate's filibuster rule and deliver a special measure known as a reconciliation bill to Obama without the threat of Democratic opposition.

Republicans plan to use the special filibuster-proof bill to wage an assault on Obama's Affordable Care Act rather than try to impose a variety of painful cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, student loans, and other so-called mandatory programs over Obama's opposition. Obama is sure to veto any attempt to repeal the health law, too, but Republicans want to deliver such a measure to Obama anyway.

But Politico reports that Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is refusing to sign on, likely because of the accounting trick of using off-budget war funding to boost the Pentagon.

 


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.