Hillary Clinton announced her first run for the presidency by e-mail and then by video, seated on a couch in the sunroom of her home and surrounded by overstuffed floral pillows. “While I can’t visit everyone’s living room,” she said, “I can try.” As an American teenager might say: awkward. Clinton’s second presidential announcement came on Twitter, then in another video that departed from the 2008 version in that it barely featured her. It went over a lot better.
On Saturday, Clinton re-launched her campaign with a speech, a move that underscores both the importance of speeches in American political life and one of Clinton’s greatest vulnerabilities. Great speeches require something Clinton has refused to give: exposure, access, the illusion of intimacy. Standing up in front of a crowd makes you feel a little bit naked. But speeches are supposed to give us a sense of who our politicians are, what they believe, whether they can perform under pressure — and, on a fundamental level, they are supposed to give us a sense of whether we like them or not. That’s why speeches have the potential to put politicians in the history books or write them out entirely. ...
Warren, and Obama before her, had the advantage of being able to introduce themselves to the country. Clinton doesn’t. “In order to make a great, groundbreaking speech it helps if one has something important, or new, to say,” says Kerwin Swint, a professor of politics at Kennesaw State University. “She doesn’t.” Swint says that, given Clinton’s voluminous public statements over the past three decades, “It’s hard to imagine her making a major policy address that would contain anything she hasn’t already laid bare. It would also be hard to see her making a major ‘personal’ address where she lays bare her soul.” ...
“Most of the tweets, emails and petitions are not from people I represent, not from people from Atlanta. And the overwhelming are not from Georgia,” Reed told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston.
Reed is known for speaking his mind. In one tweet, he silenced a man who criticized his decision tweeting, “And you should keep your ignorance, range and intolerance in Houston, where it appears that you live.”
To Clink M. Kelly, the mayor tweeted, “And you are living proof that people offer uninformed opinions on matters they know nothing about. Enjoy Charleston.”
Reed told Huddleston he is not about to change his mind about his decision to fire Cochran.
“I think in Atlanta, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we welcome robust debate and differences of opinion,” said Reed.
Political experts say Reed may have gone too far in his tweets.
“Sometimes the mayor’s tone has gotten in the way of his message. He does have a temper,” said Professor Kerwin Swint with the Kennesaw State University Political Science Department.
He said Twitter could come back to haunt Reed politically.
“Twitter is a very dangerous medium, and you have to be very careful about what you say and how you say it,” said Swint.
The day after voting to re-elect Speaker John Boehner, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R–Cassville, said he did not expect the “intensity” of the backlash against his vote.
Loudermilk denied flip-flopping on a campaign promise to elect new leadership, saying he voted against Boehner last November during a vote to determine the Republican nominee for speaker.
“Nobody stood up to challenge John Boehner [in November],” Loudermilk said. “Even without a challenge I cast a ‘no’ vote because I thought we needed something different. There’s no cameras there, so I had nothing to gain. It was not a grandstand. It was truly a principled vote that I thought we needed new leadership. [Tuesday] was not the time to have that fight — that was back in November.”
Loudermilk was one of the 216 votes that saw Boehner re-elected speaker Jan. 6. Twenty-five Republicans voted for other candidates or voted present. Runner-up Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received 164 votes.
During his campaign, Loudermilk said he signed a pledge that he “would vote against the speaker at the earliest opportunity or the first opportunity to do so” — and he said he did. ...
That pledge wasn’t a “core principle” of his campaign, but it was mentioned, and many of his constituents have misconceptions about his Jan. 6 vote for Boehner, Loudermilk said Jan. 7.
Loudermilk said he had no other choice but to vote for Boehner. ...
Loudermilk said his staff has been reading comments from Facebook and answering phones about the vote all day and he understands why some are blasting him for allegedly going back on his word.
“I truly understand why they’re upset. I’m upset that that’s the choice that I had to make yesterday,” Loudermilk said.
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said the Loudermilk camp should not worry about the negative comments swarming this week; it will blow over soon.
“I think they did the only thing they could do under the circumstances, so I don’t think it will hurt him or any Republican at all down the line,” Swint said. ...
There was one thing most polls seemed to agree on in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election — the two top races in Georgia were so excruciatingly close that both might have to be decided by runoffs.
But then the voters stepped in. Republicans won in a rout. It wasn’t a horse race — it was a political blowout.
MARIETTA — Cobb officials and politicos are mixed on the impact Attorney General Eric Holder has had on the country. Holder announced his resignation this week.
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said Holder has been more political in his responses to issues while in office than his predecessors, which has resulted in some criticism.
“I think he’s going to be looked at as a very partisan attorney general, someone who tried to help his president, Barack Obama, move forward on issues like gay rights, civil rights (and) voting rights. … But (he) encountered significant opposition and a fair amount of controversy,” Swint said.
Swint said he’s not implying Holder has done anything inappropriate, just that he was more willing than most attorneys general to engage in politics.
“He’s been one of our more controversial attorneys general,” he said. “He’s had some successes; he’s had his share of politicized fights over issues, over process with Congress. I’m sure Republicans won’t miss him, but Democrats will, I’m sure.”
As Swint predicted, Cobb residents had very different opinions on Holder, depending on their party. ...
By WALTER C. JONESMORRIS NEWS SERVICE – updated Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 9:58pm
ATLANTA | Beyond the headlines and campaign rhetoric, the state’s investigation into possible irregularities by a Democratic-leaning group’s efforts to register blacks, Asians and Hispanics to vote has many facets, and not all are yet known.
The investigation into the New Georgia Project began in early May, when local registrars started reporting to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division that voters had complained of intimidation and that documents turned in by the group appeared suspicious. In all, officials in 13 counties so far — from Effingham and Toombs in the southeast to Coweta and Gwinnett in the northwest — have submitted suspicious documents to state investigators.
Since Secretary of State Brian Kemp is a Republican, Democrats and officials of the New Georgia Project have alleged in the media that the investigation is a GOP attempt at minority voter suppression. But many of the complaints that triggered the probe originated in Democrat-controlled counties like Muscogee, DeKalb and Fulton. ...
Because one of New Georgia’s leaders is state Rep. Stacey Abrams, an advisor to Michelle Nunn’s campaign for the U.S. Senate and the state House Democratic leader, at least one GOP operative has said repeatedly that Nunn is tied to the scandal.
“Michelle Nunn’s direct ties to the state voter registration fraud investigation run deep,” said Leslie Shedd, spokeswoman for the Georgia Republican Party’s Georgia Victory initiative.
But no direct evidence of Nunn’s involvement has surfaced other than her association with Abrams. Nunn’s campaign has its own voter-registration effort in conjunction with the Democratic Party of Georgia and Jason Carter’s campaign for governor.
Neither side is not above political gamesmanship, according to Kerwin Swint, a former political operative who is now a political science professor at Kennesaw State University.
“Both parties are trying to position themselves to win the turnout game,” he said.
Kemp, like other Republicans, is trying to counter registration gains Democrats have made in recent years, Swint said.
“Stacey Abrams claims her efforts are nonpartisan, though they are clearly partisan. They are trying to register as many Democrats as possible,” he said. “Brian Kemp claims he is simply trying to uphold the law, yet there is no doubt his efforts also have a partisan intent.” ...
Michelle Nunn can come across as a “lightweight,” “too liberal,” not a “real Georgian.” While she served as CEO for the Points of Light Foundation, the organization gave grants to “inmates” and “terrorists.” And her Senate campaign must feature images of her and her family “in rural settings with rural-oriented imagery” because the Atlanta-based candidate will struggle to connect with rural voters.
These may sound like attacks from the Senate candidate’s Republican rival, but in fact, those are a few of the concerns expressed in her own campaign plan, which sources say was posted online briefly in December and appears to have been drafted earlier that month. Drawing on the insights of Democratic pollsters, strategists, fundraisers, and consultants, the document contains a series of memos addressed to Nunn and her senior advisers.
From all appearances, the document was intended to remain confidential. It outlines the challenges inherent in getting Nunn, who grew up mostly in Bethesda, Md., elected to the Senate in a state with a large rural population. Her father, Sam Nunn, was elected to the Senate when she was six, and Michelle Nunn attended Washington’s prestigious National Cathedral School and then the University of Virginia and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before returning to Georgia to do nonprofit work and, now, to seek higher office.
The documents reveal the campaign’s most sensitive calculations. Much of the strategizing in the Georgia contest, as is typical in southern politics, revolves around race. ...
To compensate for her difficulties with rural white voters, Nunn’s strategists emphasize the need to turn out blacks and Hispanics. “They know that in order to have a chance of winning, they’ve got to change the turnout from what it would ordinarily be in a midterm election,” Kerwin Swint, a professor of politics at Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University, said, when asked about the document’s conclusions. ...