U.S. Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta briefly addressed the standing-room-only Cobb GOP Breakfast audience of 120 people Saturday before making way for the scheduled speaker, State Sen. Judson Hill of east Cobb.
Broun, who last month announced his intention to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss in 2014, said he had sponsored more legislation to reduce spending than any other Georgia Congress member, more than $155 billion over the past two years.
“This irresponsible spending is crushing our economy, it’s saddling generations to come with crippling debt and it’s killing jobs,” said Broun, adding that Americans have an average $52,000 share of the federal debt. “When I was sworn into the Marine Corps and I was sworn into the House of Representatives, I swore to uphold the Constitution against any enemy, both foreign and domestic. Out of control spending is our nation’s enemy and it’s not constitutional.”
Broun wrapped up his speech by repeatedly, emphatically saying, “Will you help me?” to the audience, generating warm, but not thunderous applause.
Gingrey in Braveheart?
While Broun said he would be the only candidate in the Senate race to make reducing out-of-control spending his first priority, Gingrey made it a centerpiece of his remarks. Wearing a sling on his right arm because of recent rotator cuff surgery, Gingrey said sequestration cuts made this week were “absolutely” President Barack Obama’s idea.
“It’s irrefutable, he has done that to us, this president, and now trying to blame it on Republicans,” Gingrey said.
But Gingrey, who didn’t announce a Senate run, then said the $85 billion sequester might not be so bad.
“By the way, did the sky fall yesterday?” he said. “I think the stock market actually went up 35 points. Let’s hold our ground; we only control one half of one third (of government). But, look, how many did William Wallace have at his side in ‘Braveheart’ when he took on (King) Longshanks? And he said to those troops, ‘Look, you can stand here and fight and die, maybe, defending liberty. Would it be better than being at home in your bed in a social welfare state run by Longshanks?’ The answer’s no. Let’s fight like heck and keep going.”
Where is Price?
While he enjoyed hearing the messages from Broun and Gingrey, Jerry Kotyuk of east Cobb said he is concerned about what could happen if too many people don’t run again in order to get in the race for Chambliss’s seat.
“I would hate to see so many of our U.S. Congressmen get into the race and kind of eliminate each other that we have to find new people for the U.S. Congress,” he said. “It makes us kind of vulnerable to a Democratic candidate.”
Several other Congressmen have been mentioned as Senate candidates, including Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), who didn’t attend the breakfast despite representing east Cobb.
“This is his district, part of his district. I’m Sixth District,” Kotyuk said. “I’d like to see him. … I don’t think I’ve seen him here recently.”
Will Hill run?
Sounding like a man interested in running for federal office himself, Hill, chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee as well as the Cobb Legislative Delegation, also began his remarks by questioning Obama.
“He promised to give us what we want, he promised to solve all of our problems and he promised to run our lives,” Hill said. “That is not what America needs. And tragically, this is all done at the expense of freedom, of capitalism and of our United States Constitution.”
Hill said that in order to regain control of the White House, Republicans need to keep their core principles.
“I would suggest that winning the next election would not be our No. 1 goal, if to do that we sacrifice our freedoms, our liberties and our United States Constitution,” he said.
After the meeting, Hill kept open the option of running for Price’s seat should the Congressman not seek re-election in 2014.
“We have a great U.S. Congressman that I support, and I’m thankful that he’s currently leading us,” Hill said. “If he should ever choose to seek another office, I and many others may seek those opportunities.”