Saxby Chambliss on Principles & Values
Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (GA-8)
Cleland personally blamed me for the ad, saying I was guilty of "character assassination" and responsible for "the biggest lie in America." I did not conceive, create, or have anything to do with the Chambliss ad. But I thought it was effective because it was factual.
Cleland had run a spot associating himself with Pres. Bush by suggesting Cleland had supported creating the Homeland Security department. It was a clever tactic, since Bush was very popular in Georgia. The problem was that it was false. Cleland had worked against Bush on creation of the new department.
[Chambliss' ad] didn't morph Osama bin Laden and Saddam into Cleland or say he supported them. Only later in the ad did images of Cleland appear, followed by a scrolling list of the times he had voted against the homeland security bill.
Chambliss's campaign, then, used this as evidence that Cleland was unpatriotic, and way too soft on national defense. In a campaign commercial, Osama bin Laden's photo was shown followed by a portrait of Cleland--implying that the two were somehow in cahoots, or at least of like minds. Cleland went down to defeat.
It was an early and brutal example of playing the patriotism card, and set a new standard for low. But the tactic worked, and the GOP picked up a Senate seat. But in the end it was very much a pyrrhic victory. The accusation that we were playing politics was something we dealt with often, and the Georgia campaign gave those accusations a basis in fact.
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
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OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 AU scores as follows:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.
Americans United is a national organization with members in all 50 states. We are headquartered in Washington, D.C., and led by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director. AU has more than 75,000 members from all over the country. They include people from all walks of life and from various faith communities, as well as those who profess no particular faith. We are funded by donations from our members and others who support church-state separation. We do not seek, nor would we accept, government funding.
As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body, we propose not just to change its policies, but to restore the bounds of trust between the people and their elected representatives. That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.
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