House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner, quoted by Jeff Woods from a speech at a state party executive committee meeting: “We’ve got a president up here whose color is not the right shade according to a lot of people, and they just hate him for that reason,” Turner said. “I was talking to a guy this morning at a filling station and it didn’t matter what Obama did, he’s not going to like it because Obama’s an African American. I told him, I said, ‘Look, he’s half-white. You ought to like half of him anyway.’ These people are dead set against him for that reason, and that’s unfortunate. That’s very unfortunate.”
Woodsie says Turner “managed to hand Republicans some new ammo for election campaign attacks” and suggested a yard sign for Democrats: ”Vote Obama. He’s Half-White.”
In a separate post, there are further Turner comments: Turner slapped political reporters for failing to cover the Republican-run state government the way Democrats would prefer, and he cited the media–along with all those mean Republicans, of course–as a major obstacle to his party’s return to power.
“We’re facing a press that has not really talked about what the Haslam administration has done,” Turner said, mentioning tax breaks for the wealthy, among other media omissions. “Some of the press would rather beat us up than attack Stacey Campfield and that bunch. So that’s discouraging.”
President Obama has nominated Mike McWherter, the 2010 Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor, to fill one of five current vacancies on the TVA Board of Directors.
Obama also nominated V. Lynn Evans, a Memphis accountant, and Joe H. Ritch, a Huntsville, Ala., attorney, as new members of the board while proposing to give Marilyn A. Brown, a current board member whose term has expired, a new term on the nine-member panel.
The president in February had nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., to a TVA board seat, but Mahurin’s nomination has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The four nominations announced Friday in a White House news release are also subject to Senate confirmation.
The nominations come with the Senate planning to recess until after the November election and with Tennessee’s U.S. Sen. Bob Corker declaring the “entire TVA governance structure” should be re-examined with an eye toward reform.
They also come with the TVA board facing the task of selecting a new CEO to replace Tom Kilgore, whose announced retirement takes effect at the end of the year..
Poking Fun at Clint Eastwood
Tennessee Democrats got their party’s national political convention rolling on Monday by poking fun at Clint Eastwood and asserting that, yes, Americans are better off than they were four years ago, reports Michael Collins. Taking a page from Eastwood’s skit at the Republican National Convention, delegate Bill Freeman of Nashville brought an empty chair to the stage of a Tennessee Democratic delegation breakfast and pretended to hold a conversation with the missing actor.
In his much-ridiculed performance before GOP delegates in Tampa, Fla., last week, Eastwood critiqued President Barack Obama’s first three years in office while speaking to an empty chair that he said represented Obama.
Freeman, a real-estate executive and prolific Obama fundraiser, said he wanted to remind Eastwood of a few highlights from Obama’s presidency that Eastwood forgot to mention.
“After over a century of working on health-care reforms, the president — my president — got it done,” Freeman said, eliciting hoots and cheers from the other Democrats. Maryland’s O’Mally Drops By
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley made a surprise appearance as the Tennessee delegation to the Democratic National Convention, reports Michael Cass. O’Malley is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, so there may have been an ulterior motive for his appearance. But the former Baltimore mayor used his few minutes at the podium to promote President Barack Obama, not himself.
O’Malley said Republican nominee Mitt Romney, “armed with his trusty Etch A Sketch, had three days to try to do his reinvention” during his party’s convention last week. O’Malley was referring to a Romney aide’s comparison of moving back to the political middle following the primary season to a children’s toy known for completely erasing a picture.
“Now we have three days to bring us back to the true reality, which is that our economy is getting better, not worse; our country is getting stronger, not weaker; we’re moving forward, not backward; and we’re doing so because of Barack Obama,” he said, proceeding to lead the delegates in a chant of “forward, not backward!” A Security Swing to Obama?
Seeing an opening in an area they’ve long ceded to Republicans, Tennessee Democrats talked Monday about how to win over voters in the national security arena., according to The Tennessean. Michael Breen, vice president of the Truman National Security Project, said Democrats in down-ballot races need to find a way to take advantage of the 20-point polling advantage President Barack Obama has opened up over Republican nominee Mitt Romney on matters of national security.
Obama, who gave the orders to capture and kill Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders, has dominated so thoroughly that Romney didn’t mention war in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention last week. According to The Associated Press, he was the first GOP nominee to stay away from the topic in 60 years.
But the president’s lead hasn’t “filtered down” to other campaigns, Breen said. In fact, most Democrats start out trailing by 20 points on national security.
Republicans can thank President Barack Obama for the party’s solid control of the Tennessee Legislature, starting with his appearance at the top of the national Democratic ticket in 2008 — after losing the state’s presidential primary even among Democratic voters — and continuing in more dramatic fashion in 2010.
The GOP has used advertising that linked many Democratic state legislators, even some who were staunch fiscal and social conservatives, to the evil national Democrats.
“You’d think Nancy Pelosi was my high school sweetheart and I played golf with Barack Obama every weekend,” grumbled state House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner recently.
The ads pictured Obama side by side with the designated target Democratic legislator. And it seems they were very effective, though you have to wonder if they were really even necessary, given the animosity most voting Tennesseans seemed to have toward Obama.
By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — First lady Michelle Obama brought an audience of 10,000 African Methodist Episcopal Church members to their feet Thursday as she exhorted them to get involved in the issues that affect their lives.
Speaking at the AME Church’s 49th General Conference in Nashville, Obama praised the church for its role in fighting slavery, segregation and disenfranchisement of blacks, but she told them the struggle is not over.
It can be difficult to address challenges like childhood obesity, poor schools and unsafe neighborhoods, she said.
“The path forward for the next generation can be far from clear,” she said.
But she told the crowd that laws still matter and still shape our lives.
From the White House Communications Office:
Remarks by the First Lady at the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference at Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, June 27, 2012:
11:05 A.M. CDT
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, my, my, my. (Applause.) Please, you all rest yourselves. Thank you so much. Let me tell you, it is such a pleasure and an honor to join you today in Nashville for your 2012 General Conference.
I want to start by thanking Bishop McKenzie for her introduction. And I want to honor her for the history she’s made —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Amen!
MRS. OBAMA: Absolutely. (Applause.) For the example she has set and for her inspired leadership in this church.
I also want to thank Mayor Dean for his service to this city and for taking the time to join us here today.
And finally, I want to thank all of the bishops, pastors, and lay leaders in AME churches here in America and around the world. (Applause.)
You all are part of a proud tradition, one that dates back to the founding of that first AME Church and the founding of this nation and has shaped its history every day since. You all know the story — how back in the late 1700s, a man named Richard Allen bought his freedom from slavery — (applause) — became a minister, and eventually founded a Methodist church called Bethel Church – or “Mother Bethel” as we know it today. That first AME church was located in a blacksmith’s shop, and that first congregation had just a few dozen members.
But there’s a reason why one pastor called Bethel’s founding “a Liberty bell for black folks.” (Applause.) There’s a reason why W.E.B. Dubois said that Bethel Church “belongs to the history of the nation rather than to any one city.”
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release February 9, 2012
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND FLEXIBILITY
1:57 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Please have a seat, have a seat. Thank you so much. Well, hello, everybody, and welcome to the White House.
I want to start by thanking all the chief state school officers who have made the trip from all over the country. Why don’t you all stand up just so we can see you all, right here. (Applause.) It’s a great group, right here. Thank you. And I want to recognize someone who is doing a pretty good job right here in Washington, D.C., and that is my Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Love Arne. (Applause.)
From Matt Lakin:
Outrage over state Sen. Stacey Campfield’s remarks on AIDS could be leading to a recall movement — even though state law won’t recognize any such effort.
About 680 people liked the Recall TN State Senator Campfield page on Facebook by Monday night, about a day after its creation. The page doesn’t list its creator, and even some fans acknowledged in posts they’re organizing in vain.
Tennessee law allows recall votes only for officials at the city and county level. State legislators can be removed only by impeachment.
The page’s fans said they don’t see any harm in spreading the word or in showing their support for the Bistro at the Bijou, whose owner, Martha Boggs, banned Campfield when he showed up for Sunday brunch.
“I’ve been posting nonstop since I heard about the Bistro,” said Gary Elgin, a former director of the Knoxville Pride and Rainbow Community Awareness Project. “He really does need to be recalled if not at least censured. He’s made us a national punchline.”
Meanwhile, others have started an online petition asking Gov. Bill Haslam, President Barack Obama and members of Congress and the Tennessee Legislature to fire Campfield. The petition boasted nearly 1,000 signatures Monday night.
The senator’s detractors said they hope to keep the spirit alive until Campfield faces re-election in 2014.
At a news conference in Nashville this afternoon, Gov. Bill Haslam said he thought there were at least three reasons President Obama invited him to attend an announcement on the president’s plans for No Child Left Behind waivers.
“Number one, I think it’s a recognition of what Tennessee is doing. Number two, I think they do want some states they can give waivers to – hopefully quickly – and say, ‘This is a state that’s on the right path’.”
“And I think obviously, politically, it doesn’t hurt anything to have a Republican governor up there with him, to be truthful about it,” Haslam said.
Asked whether he received any indication whether Tennessee’s request for a waiver would be approved, The governor said that, when invited to attend the event, “I said up at the front end, ‘Please don’t ask us up there if you’re going to embarrass us down the road.”
Haslam said he has had already had “several” conversations with Duncan about Tennessee’s waiver and is optimistic about approval because “all the key things the president talked about are the the things that we’re doing in Tennessee.”
“They obviously can’t guarantee that, but I think they feel really good about what we’ve submitted to them and what we’re doing in Tennessee,” he said. “So I don’t have any final word, but I feel real good about our position.”
Text from the White House press office:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House, everybody. I see a whole bunch of people who are interested in education, and we are grateful for all the work that you do each and every day.
I want to recognize the person to my right, somebody who I think will end up being considered one of the finest Secretaries of Education we’ve ever had — Arne Duncan. (Applause.) In addition to his passion, probably the finest basketball player ever in the Cabinet. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee for taking the time to be here today, and the great work that he’s doing in Tennessee. I’m especially appreciative because I found that his daughter is getting married, and he is doing the ceremony tomorrow, so we’ve got to get him back on time. (Laughter and applause.) But we really appreciate his presence. Thank you.