August 11th, 2010
03:59 PM ET
4 years ago

White House, Deal trade barbs over Georgia race

On Wednesday, the White House responded to Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal's ties to birther questions.
On Wednesday, the White House responded to Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal's ties to birther questions.

Washington (CNN) - Only hours after former Congressman Nathan Deal won a nail biter of a runoff election for Georgia's Republican gubernatorial nomination, the White House said the candidate will have to explain ethics questions raised during the campaign.

At the White House briefing Wednesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the party nominating a candidate who had been linked to birther questions. Deal in January sent the White House a letter asking President Obama to answer more questions about this birthplace, after saying in an interview the documentation publicly available "leaves many things to be desired".

Gibbs from the podium responded, "I think if you look at what Nathan Deal is probably going to have to explain over the course of this (election), that may be some of the least of his concerns, in terms of some ethics investigations currently ongoing."


The Office of Congressional Ethics in a report in March said "Representative Deal's conduct may have violated House Rules and House Standards of Conduct". The report alleged Dean exceeded limits on outside income, and helped "preserve a purely state program..that had generated financial benefit for Representative Deal and his business partner". Questions centered on a state vehicle inspection program .

Deal in a statement after the report called it "a politically motivated witch hunt. I have done nothing wrong and am not going to let this tarnish my 30-year record of public service."

Campaign spokesman Brian Robinson told CNN after Gibbs' comments, "The White House knows as little about politics as it does about creating jobs. I would like to remind him that the Democratic nominee went into hiding when Obama came into town. (Roy) Barnes has to hide from his own toxic record, now he has to run from Mr. Obama's."

Barnes did not appear with President Obama during an August 2nd fundraiser and speech in Atlanta, choosing instead to campagn in another part of the state.

Gibbs said Deal's narrow margin of victory of less than 2500 votes shows "a very splintered party" for Republicans, saying "even as you're hoping to find a nominee, who have a very divided party with someone like Roy Barnes who has a track record Georgians can be proud of."

Robinson responded, "'Nathan Deal is going to be the next governor of Georgia because he is the most qualified. We are going to win with the wind at our back because Georgians are so angry about the Democrats' job-destroying policies."

– CNN's Frances Sanchez contributed to this report.

(Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET on Thursday)


Filed under: Georgia • Nathan Deal • White House
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Muffet

    This guy will run Georgia further into the ground. He is the candidate of the "can't get over losing the civil war" diehard confederate morons.

    August 11, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. jim

    Good grief !!! Obama has alreadty started to show how they are going to enter the fray in this Nov.'s election .They are going on the offensive and start slinging mud on the opposition from the get-go.

    August 11, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Independent One

    Who is this loser?

    August 11, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. vwrtb

    Republicans have lost the jobs idiots! Obama has slowed and stopped it... Period!

    August 11, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Please

    It must be great to be a republican – you have no policies or ideas so you can always say the other guys is wrong. Give me a republican policy besides cutting taxes for the rich, starting wars on lies, blaming problems on illegals (when the problems have nothing to do with illegals) lying out of both sides of your mouth, or being a closet homosexual but fighting against equality for all.

    August 11, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Rickster

    Oh, now Gibbs is concerned about ethics investigations? Gibbs and his boss, The Failure-In-Chief, should clean up their own filthy house before they start criticizing others.

    August 11, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. BlueDem1

    Being from Georgia (heck, Deal was my Congressman!), I would hope that this election will be about the issues facing our state, most importantly bringing jobs here, protecting our environment, and bringing the state's budget back into balance. If Nathan Deal wants to stay in La-La Land believing that President Obama is not a citizen of the U.S. (which has clearly been proven that he is an American citizen by birth), that's his problem.

    I want Barnes and Deal to start talking about the issues.

    August 11, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. BeverlyNC

    Just show how racist, corrupt, and useless Republicans are when it comes to leadership. The level of stupidity should disqualify him from the race.
    It just makes the Democrats look like the only common sense candidate – which is the case in most races this fall. Democrats have worked hard all year solving problems and passing legislation to help the PEOPLE. Republicans have done NOTHING but criticize, whine, lie, spread hate and fear, and offer not a single workable idea to restore our nation they destroyed.
    They have no idea what is going on in real America and we need to get them out of office and they can go home and do nothing while Democrats get more work done for us.

    August 11, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Eric in Denver

    @TTBALA you are a complete bufoon and it is people like you that don't work that depend on people like me to cover your bills every month. You refuse to look at the horrible numbers and the ridiculous debt and deficit that we have. (Since you are such a genius I am sure you understand these are 2 different things). I understand numbers very well unlike yourself who only understands the numbers on your unemployment check as well as your food stamps each month. Liberals are going to learn a big lesson this November and you socialists are going to learn the hard way that you need to work or try to find work in order to survive these days. After all this is the summer of recovery according to your president so I am sure jobs are plentiful!!!!

    August 11, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. the real ib

    We have tax cheaters in Obama's cabinet; they are covering for Rangel; Dodd and Frank and then they say Deal has to explain; what a joke and the sad part is that people are on here taking up for Obama.

    August 11, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Rachael

    Under Bush the jobs started disappearing and with the two Wars Bush and Cheney got us into started our country to go under financially......now the Republicans won't do anything to help get our job market back up......instead they fillabuster and stonewall everything this President is trying to do to turn this country around......so don't blame the lost of jobs on Obama......take responsibility for once in your lives and admit to yourselves what the rest of us Americans already know...... that you Republicans are nothing but a bunch of SHOW DOGS up there in DC and we're tired of all of you.....

    August 11, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Buck Ofama

    Why would Deal have to explain ethics questions? Obama hasn't had any problem dodging ethics questions since he's been in office!

    August 11, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Jeff from Chicago

    If people would look at the facts they would see the truth.

    Truth is, the country started an accelerated decline in 2006, the year the democrats took control of congress. yes there were things that contributed such as the Iraq war, the mishandling of Fannie Mae by Clinton, (probably the biggest contributor), among other things but 2 things were common.

    clinton screwed it up and the demorats accelerated it.

    August 11, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Fred Pittenger

    Anyone can say whatever they want, for instance I can say "Dan Quail was a raging !! ...^&*() vice president. " Just words. Mr Obama has become the scapegoat for everything that the Right deems wrong, even if he did not create it. The Right has no real resolutions, so they are slinging mud in all directions, hoping nobody will notice.

    August 11, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    As much as I don't want Roy Barnes as the governor, I doubly don't want someone like Deal in the governor's mansion. The last thing we need is another elected official with no common sense, and these birthers and tea partiers and GOPers are firmly entrenched in that category.

    August 11, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Shawn-Ga

    This is NOT Bush's economy, the Democrats have been in power for 6 years.... The president can not do anything without congress and the senate approving it. Democrats are responsible for the housing crash, they were warned and ignored it... Thanks Barny...

    This $26 billion to the teachers' union is terrible once you peak under the hood (i.e. 12 billion comes from food stamps) Please for the love of your country stop the hatred and learn what is being done right under your noses.

    Just because he says it in a charming way does not make it the truth. Was Bush the greatest president ever? NO, does that fact mean you should let this new administration do whatever they want as long as they claim it is better?? HELL NO

    You are all so filled with hate that you are allowing them to tell you only partial information and you cheer them for it as they take away your money and your liberties.... WAKE UP!!! I am begging you.

    August 11, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. MW

    What's the deal with Deal? I am glad that the White House has found their cojones. It's about time they took on these ambassadors of "NO".

    August 11, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Dennis

    Gibbs needs to clean his own house first.

    August 11, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. a little sad

    Jeff from Chicago August 11th, 2010 4:45 pm ET

    If people would look at the facts they would see the truth.

    Truth is, the country started an accelerated decline in 2006, the year the democrats took control of congress. yes there were things that contributed such as the Iraq war, the mishandling of Fannie Mae by Clinton, (probably the biggest contributor), among other things but 2 things were common.

    clinton screwed it up and the demorats accelerated it.

    *****************************

    And all Bush's borrow and spend, failed oversight of the military budget, and "what me worry?" attitude on deficits (because they don't matter) had no effect, huh?

    August 11, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. Bob Little

    President Obama is one of the best presidents we have had in recent times, he brought us back from the brink. If this guy wants to see the worst al he has to do just look at his mronic father Dan Quayle, or our last president George Bush.

    August 11, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Shawn-Ga

    CORRECTION: I meant 4 years not 6 when I said "This is NOT Bush's economy, the Democrats have been in power for 6 years.... "

    August 11, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. David

    The first ethics related question this white house has to deal with is "Obama's house" in Chicago sold partially for peanuts by a developer (Tony Razko). When this is only explained as a "bone headed" decision, the white house should not ask others for more explanations regarding ethics.
    It is sickening, how they politicizing everything and do not govern!

    August 11, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Ronald Schwartz

    I stated There was more then meets the eye and Bingo here it is
    This will make the race very biased in ga, and could cause the state to go Democratic if the heat gets turned on and the ethics problems continue, He Should have never Ran,He did Georgia a big disfavor
    if this covers the campaign, ti November

    August 11, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Peter s

    Well the bither won thats the best news because he doesn't have anything to run on in November!

    August 11, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Here is an idea for Deal. Just pretend he is a democrat and blame it on racism and someone out to get him, deny everything. Apparently that works in dealing with the White House. I mean lets face it a president and administration that sold out this country to the corrupt unions is in no position to talk about ethics. Just talk about the "summer of prosperity" and all of those billions that went to his union bosses to create "jobs" or save "jobs." And all of those billions that went to the crooked, corrupt NEA "for the children" and to make sure the NEA members could buy their Viagara.

    August 11, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |