Democrats Scatter Monday as Obama Comes to Town

5:52 PM, Aug 2, 2010   |    comments
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  • President Barack Obama

ATLANTA -- President Obama made his first Atlanta appearance since his inauguration.

The President flew into town Monday morning.

If you think it was a time for Democrats running for office to rally around the chief executive- -you probably haven't been following the campaigns this summer.

Former Governor Roy Barnes was not available to meet Mr. Obama. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate was in south Georgia- - far from Atlanta.

In Houston County, Mr. Barnes had breakfast with peach and pecan farmers

In Monroe County standing before the Sheriffs of middle Georgia, the former governor said

"I'd rather be with these folks, if you want to know the truth, I'm not running for governor of Washington D.C. I'm running for governor of Georgia."

Candidate Barnes also visited Thomasville and Bainbridge before ending his day in Donalsonville.

Mr. Barnes also told reporters President Obama was okay with his abscence from Atlanta. The President called after the July 20th vote.

Campaign manager Chris Carpenter released a statement before the Presidents visit:

"Roy has a busy campaign schedule in Middle and South Georgia on Monday where he'll be talking to farmers and local law enforcement. Roy's priority is to continue traveling across the state, talking to voters about jobs, education, and transportation- his plan to make Georgia work."

Meanwhile, Governor Sonny Perdue greeted the President planeside when the Democrat arrived in Georgia. Mr. Perdue's spokesperson Bert Brantley told 11Alive reporter Jeff Hullinger the governor had to juggle his schedule to be able to greet the president.

Also greeting the President at the tarmac, Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Rep. Johnson Lewis and Rep. Sanford Bishop

Avoiding a sitting president is not new in Georgia politics.

In 1996 Democrat Michael Coles was running against Republican Newt Gingrich for the 6th congressional district seat. Mr. Coles avoided President Clinton at rallies in Atlanta and Macon.

Mr. Coles is a legendary Atlanta entrepeneur who entertained political aspirations a decade ago- - spoke to Jeff Hullinger from his home in Montana.

"In 96, I stepped out of the private arena and ran against Newt Gingrich for the house. I ran as a Democrat. I think the difficult thing for anyone in Georgia - if you run as a Democrat- is to separate yourself from not being a national Democrat, because Georgia Democrats like Zell Miller and Sam Nunn are cut out of a different cloth and that's how I wanted to be seen. I wanted to be sure, if I was going to lose that race- -I wasn't going to be indentified as a national Democrat."

One Democratic operative told Hullinger, Governor Zell Miller wanted to be with President Clinton during an Atlanta campaign rally. Sadly for the Governor, Mr. Clinton was unpopular in Georgia at the time.

Instead of Governor Miller appearing on stage with the President, the state's chief executive appeared as a face in the crowd. 

The Governor was there but you had to look for him in the audience.


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