November 21st, 2008
10:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama weighs in on Georgia Senate race

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Martin is seeking to unseat Sen. Chambliss."](CNN) - He may not be going there in person, but Barack Obama is lending his voice to the Democrats' efforts to win back a Republican-held senate seat in Georgia.

The President-elect speaks out in a new 60-second radio ad for Jim Martin, the Democratic challenger to freshman Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Martin and Chambliss face off in a runoff election on Tuesday, December 2.

Chambliss won a plurality of the vote 17 days ago on Election Day, but Georgia state law calls for the winner to grab 50 percent plus one vote. Due to the inclusion of a third party candidate, Chambliss fell just shy of that threshold, forcing a runoff contest.

In the radio ad, Obama says Martin, a former state lawmaker, will “do everything he can to help me change Washington and get America moving again.” Obama ends the ad with a plea to voters, saying “please join me in supporting Jim Martin for the United States Senate on Tuesday, Dec. 2, and head to the polls just one more time this year.”

Obama's turned more than two dozen field offices over to Martin’s campaign. A number of former Obama campaign workers and volunteers are also now in Georgia working for Martin.

Obama lost Georgia to John McCain, 52 percent to 47 percent. But that five point deficit was much closer than the 17 point defeat in Georgia Senator John Kerry suffered to President George W. Bush in 2004.

A number of big name surrogates have traveled to Georgia to campaign for the candidates. Former President Bill Clinton joined with Jim Martin at a rally in Atlanta Wednesday and former President Al Gore campaigns with Martin this weekend

The former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate teams up today with Saxby Chambliss at campaign events in Atlanta and Savannah.

Romney is the latest former GOP presidential candidate to stump with Chambliss. Last week Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss, just 9 days after losing the presidential election to Obama. On Sunday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain, campaigned with Chambliss. Like Huckabee, Romney also ran for the GOP presidential nomination before ending his bid in February and backing McCain.

Both men could make another stab at presidential politics in 2012.

Romney's doing more than just campaigning for Chambliss. A spokesman for Romney earlier this week announced that Romney is contributing $5,000, through his Free and Strong American PAC, to Chambliss to help with the runoff election. Romney's PAC donated $2,300 to Chambliss earlier this fall.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Jim Martin
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. facts are facts

    The GOP old boys club is intent on denying progress with their backwards thinking ideology. It's time for some of these southern states to look towards the 21st century.

    People like Romney, Huckabee and McCain are losers in the process of being relegated to ash heap of society.

    November 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Anonymous

    For my money, Obama picking those running the country when our economy was thriving is wise. Meaby they can start "righting the ship". Once the Republicans had full control of the Congress and Presidency in 2000, they threw their platform out the window and just lined up at the trough like a bunch of hogs. Thrift and ethics became "dirty words". Now the whole country is suffering because of it. I am a Republican, but not like those in office now. I was forced to vote Democrat.

    November 21, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Barbara in NC

    The core ideology of conservatism has been hijacked. The definition of true conservatism is that the sole focus is on ending the practice of abortion, prohibiting gay marriage and appointing conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

    Above all else, social issues and judges are the most pressing issues facing this country, according to Republicans. Not the size of the federal government, not the economic crisis and certainly not the multiple wars we are carrying on in foreign countries; but preventing two people of the same gender from getting married. That is the most dire issue of our time?

    November 21, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Matt

    @ mitch

    You might want to try being a little more subtle about selling your republican talking points in an attempt to encourage "buyer's remorse." I know you guys are all over CNN's blogs trying to encourage people to feel that way with all this "this isn't change" nonsense, but seriously, if you want anyone at all to buy that line of malarky, you'r egoing to have to be a little more clever than just coming out and saying it.

    November 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. GA for Obama

    Lisa, Saugus MA

    there aren't any lobbyists or insiders or Clintonistas

    just the MOST experienced and qualified ppl for the job

    November 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. DavidYouareanIdiot

    Good people of Georgia America needs change, American people elected Obama for president, now it is time for Geogrians to elect Jim Martin, so that he can help Obama change Washington and get America moving again.

    November 21, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Marconi

    More people listen to the radio than watch TV. Many more.

    November 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. PL

    The President Elect need to go to Georgia on behalf of the Dem and go soon that seat is real important.

    November 21, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. wanda a.



    November 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Bubba

    The tv ads Chambliss is running right now are lying and unchristian. We've seen Democratic Rep. Barrow take over a GOP seat and work like a dog for America's veterans, while Chambliss can't point to anything he's done except vote with his party. Martin is calm and non-toxic and just wants to get to work; how could he be worse than Chambliss for his constituents? And how can these former candidates endorse him, even after McCain said he was out of line?
    I'm voting Chambliss out.

    November 21, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Cynthia

    Give the man a chance. Even if you voted for Bush one time there's your buyer's remorse!!!!!!

    November 21, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Zelda

    Obama knows exactly what he's doing! So many times people second-guessed him and had all kinds of advice during the primaries and the general election.

    He knows what time it is! You'll see.

    November 21, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. No fear

    This race is important for Georgians mostly.

    I don't think the number 60 is very magical as even then, the power goes to the 60th Senator to stop a filibuster. ("I'll vote to stop if you... ")

    So no matter the count, the President will need to be persuasive.

    November 21, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. blessed

    Give a person a chance to make change before you open your mounth speak!
    time for a change. The red States, blues states who cares we all live in the United States and need to get behind our new president and stop having buys remorse without testing the product and see if the product is good. Just becuase he is picking people under the Clinton Adm. why not you can still make change with a new leader, when you arre new President do you really want new people...... who knowa less then you. Not in this world!

    November 21, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. ks

    hey mitch and lisa –
    give the guy a chance! just b/c you see some old faces doesn't mean that new plans and direction won't take place.
    typical american reaction – same old fast food mentality. I want my change and I want it now.
    and who gives a darn about georgia? all of us who live in the state, that's who.
    try being positive. it's good for your health.

    November 21, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |

    @ Mitch

    Hang in there, don't judge a book by its cover but by the content of the message in the book. Obama may be chossing famaliar faces for his administration from the Clinton area, however he say during his campaign that he would listen to others and may not even agree, but he would may his own decisions.

    November 21, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Georgia for Martin

    Saxby is disgrace for Georgian's look at the unemployment rate in Georgia, I am going to vote for Martin

    November 21, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. Paul C.

    People like Noah who are uninformed and living in a state of denial need to, as usual with ignorant folk like him, read facts before you open your mouth and look like a fool. You righties were always crying and acting like children in a sandbox over the fact that Bill Clinton didn't serve in Vietnam. Now asides from the fact that most righties are cowards when it comes to actual service and not playing soldier on the movie screen, most of you like Dick Cheney (5 deferments out of Vietnam Service) are total wannabes. Running ads morphing Max Cleland into the fact of Osama Bin Laden. Good going there Georgians, you elected a draft dodger, Chambliss, over a man who served his country by losing both legs and an arm. Again right wing cowards, your day is over.

    November 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Helen, GA

    Barack, do not mess up with GA. We know what we want. Jim Martin is a far left liberal. We do not want this person to be in the senate for us. Sorry.

    November 21, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Simmy

    Mitch The Republican and your other cheerleader:

    Please get a life!

    What buyer's remorse can cause you to want a McCain administration? His administration would have represented only the kinds of people who showed up at his rallies – no diversity!

    I am still thrilled with my choice, and strong enough, and confident enough to trust my judgment!

    You who are having second thoughts have no faith in yourselves! If you leave, where will you go -back to Bush? Romney? Please!!!

    November 21, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Kelly, NH

    If Georgia wants to move forward and not stay stuck in the mud, they'll vote for Martin. It's time to get the country out of the trenches.

    Vote for the Dems.

    November 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    I hope Chambliss loses if for no other reason than his dishonorable tactic of tieing Max Cleland to Bin Laden.
    Yes, that Max Cleland. The same guy who left THREE LIMBS on the battlefield for America.

    By the way, In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, Chambliss received five student deferments while attending the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee College of Law and was also given a medical deferment (1-Y) for bad knees due to a football injury.

    But, Chambliss had the gall to tie a man who lost three limbs on the battlefield to a terrorist. I guess Chambliss is like many Reps I know – it's great to start wars, as long as he and his don't have to go fight them. Georgia, send this guy Chambliss away just like Alaska has sent Ted Stevens away.

    November 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Mr. Martin, stand strong in the face of villiany. Do not be swayed by the corrupt and disdainful Senator Chambliss. Show the world what he is for the truth about him is worse than any fictional yarn that could be spun. He thrives on the fires of division, he lives on the politics of deception.

    November 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    Saxby Chambliss rode a wave of conservativism ripe with negativity into office 6 years ago with absolutely nothing to offer. Every e-mail I have sent this man over the last 6 years has been responded to with a list of George Bush talking points. I'm not sure he has an original thought of his own. He is no more qualified to represent GA than I am.

    November 21, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Melvin, NC

    Dear Fellow Southerners,

    Stay red if you want to, but remember your money is green and its vanishing. Vote blue this year and get our country back on track. If it doesn't work out, go red again.

    Let's give common sense a chance. I know it sounds strange because we haven't seen common sense in 8 years.

    Obama/Biden/Martin 08

    November 21, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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