Political Insider

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Sean Hannity flips, demands Roy Moore ‘remove any doubt’ or leave Alabama race


“For me, the judge has 24 hours. You must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies,” said Hannity. “You must remove any doubt…If he can’t do this, he needs to get out of this race.”

The development is leading most Alabama news sites this morning – given that Fox News is close to holy writ in this red state. Hannity’s earlier defense of Moore had prompted sponsors of his program to drop their advertising.

Late last week, on Hannity’s radio program, Moore denied the accusations, but sent shock waves through GOP gatherings in Washington with phrases like this: “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”

On Monday, a fifth woman stepped up, claiming that when she was 16, Moore had attempted to force himself on her in a parked car.

“I don’t even know the woman. I don’t know anything about her,” Moore said in front of cameras. The woman produced a high school yearbook with Moore’s florid signature. Hannity identified that contradiction as his tipping point. Watch last night's clip here:

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called on Moore to leave the race on Monday. House Speaker Paul Ryan did the same on Tuesday – as did the Republican National Committee.

But Hannity’s departure from Moore’s side, which presumably will come this evening, carries additional weight -- given the symbiotic relationship between President Donald Trump and Fox News.

What happened last night could be a prelude to a move from Trump. His Twitter account is silent on the topic this morning.

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One of your Insiders has tapped out a piece in today’s AJC on the shift to the right by Republican candidates in next year’s race for governor. A taste:

“Everyone is putting on a rhetorical fashion show for the base right now — trying to model the most conservative hat and bloomers, so to speak,” said Dan McLagan, a former aide to ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue.

One of the more riveting rhetorical flourishes comes from state Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming, who has posted a Facebook video of a recent speech he gave to the Cobb County GOP.

It amounts to an autobiography, and begins with Williams’ suicidal father attempting to murder his entire family.

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State Rep. Amy Carter, a Valdosta Republican, said Wednesday she's resigning her conservative-leaning south Georgia seat to serve as executive director of advancement at the Technical College System of Georgia. Carter was first elected to the Georgia House in 2006. A special election will likely be held in early 2018.

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Things are getting rough out there. A mailer that hit homes across Atlanta this week didn't mention Councilwomen Keisha Lance Bottoms, one of two candidates in the runoff for mayor. But the piece did make an effort to remind voters of her ties to incumbent Mayor Kasim Reed, who has endorsed her run:

Funded by an opaque group calling itself  "Concerned Atlantans," the flyer warns "corruption in Atlanta is out of control" and ticked off the arrests of indictments of four Atlanta officials and contractors.  (Greg Bluestein)

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Around 5:25 on Monday afternoon, Nikema Williams got a call urging her to be at the Fox Theatre within a half hour to meet with Hillary Clinton, who was about to make a book tour appearance. Williams, a runoff candidate for the open Atlanta-based Senate seat vacated by Vincent Fort, described the impromptu meeting. "She took the time to ask details and questions about my race and told me to keep working and talking directly to voters," she said. "I told her I was doing just that, which is why I was very under-dressed and wearing leggings." (GB)

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An interesting data point, given the current tax cut effort by Republicans in Congress, comes from the Gallup organization this morning:

Americans' concerns about the U.S. economy are, by one measure, the lowest in 18 years. Fifteen percent of Americans mention an economic issue when asked to name the most important problem facing the country. The percentage mentioning the economy has been lower only once in Gallup's 25-year trend -- 13% in 1999 during the dot-com boom. It was similar, at 16%, in late 2006 and early 2007, before the recession and during the Iraq War…

As Americans continue to shift their attention away from economic matters, their opinions about the most important problem facing the U.S. increasingly center on non-economic issues, chiefly what they perceive as poor government. Twenty-three percent now mention dissatisfaction with government, significantly more than mention any other issue.

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The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is pointing to an Atlanta radio host as an example of Islamaphobia. On his Tuesday spot on 106.7FM, Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson attempted a send-up of Mattel’s hijab-wearing Barbie – a first for the toy company. The doll is modeled after an Olympic fencer.  Said Peterson:

“The little girls don’t have to wear the hijab. They can choose to wear a head scarf or, of course, daddy’s going to beat you with a stick…Beat the crap out of you because you’re a girl. Muslims don’t really appreciate girls.”

And then it got worse. Listen here.

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Cindy Zeldin, a Democratic health advocate running for state insurance commissioner, nabbed the endorsement of former top Obama administration official Kathleen Sebelius. The former Health and Human Services secretary, who is known for helping implement Obamacare, said Zeldin can deliver “common-sense solutions” to Georgians when it comes to insurance. "A good insurance commissioner can make a huge difference—but so can a bad insurance commissioner," she wrote. (TH)


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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.