‘Rookie’ versus ‘Insider’ — Loudermilk, Barr trade blows at forum at KSU Saturday Night
by Haisten Willis
June 15, 2014 04:00 AM | 8887 views | 4 4 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Barry Loudermilk, left, and Bob Barr debate at Kennesaw State University’s Bailey Center on Saturday.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Barry Loudermilk, left, and Bob Barr debate at Kennesaw State University’s Bailey Center on Saturday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
The two remaining hopefuls in the race for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District traded blows during a Saturday night forum at Kennesaw State University’s Bailey Center.

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr of Smyrna and former State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) each took a round of questions in front of about 300 people during the forum, which was sponsored by the 11th District Republican Party.

While each took plenty of shots at President Barack Obama and his policies, they also took shots at each other.

Questions were asked of the candidates by Randy Evans, Republican Party national committeeman, and Marietta Daily Journal columnist Joe Kirby.

Kirby’s first question mentioned the stunning loss by U.S. Rep Eric Cantor (R-Va.) earlier in the week to professor Dave Brat. He asked if the shake-up in the U.S. House of Representatives meant a freshman or a veteran was better prepared to lead in the future.

Loudermilk began by alluding to Barr’s years in Congress from 1995 to 2003.

“My worthy opponent doesn’t hesitate to let everyone know that he’s been to Congress and I haven’t. And that’s true. I’m not a Washington insider,” Loudermilk said. “There is an adage in the House of Representatives — and in the State Senate — that if you want to get anything done, give it to a freshman.”

Loudermilk continued by saying freshmen in Congress have not been taught what they can’t do and haven’t been “corrupted by the system.”

Barr responded in kind.

“I’ve been called a lot of things, but I’ve never been called a Washington insider,” said the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. “Maybe I misheard what Barry just said. If you face a very serious problem in Washington, one that goes to the heart of our nation’s defense, which involves a very complex process ... that the adage in Washington is ‘Give it to somebody that doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing and has just gotten here,’ that’s a new one on me. I hate to tell y’all, but that ain’t going to work.”

Barr said the Obama administration “hides” unwanted cuts deep in legislation and it takes experience to know where to look. He said as an eight-year veteran of Congress he is running on his track record.

In another exchange, Loudermilk said only one candidate hasn’t wavered on his conservative principles, possibly alluding to Barr’s time in the Libertarian Party. Barr later said, “This isn’t about who’s the most conservative, who can talk the talk ... I’ve been there. I’ve done it.”

Evans asked the candidates what they thought the single biggest issue facing the 11th District is.

Barr answered, saying the biggest issue is saving Lockheed-Martin’s Marietta plant and preventing the closure of Dobbins Air Reserve Base through the base realignment and closure program. He said his experience is crucial toward doing so.

“We cannot afford a rookie in that seat in the next two years,” Barr said.

Loudermilk agreed about Lockheed’s importance, touting his experience in the Air Force and in the Georgia General Assembly.

“Lockheed is of extreme importance,” Loudermilk said. “We must keep Dobbins operating and open.”

Mentioning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kirby said Obama could be on the verge of becoming the first president to ever lose two wars. He asked the candidates how they would advise Obama about the wars.

Loudermilk said his son is in the military right now, so the conflicts are close to his heart.

“This is a tough call,” Loudermilk said. “I feel like what we’ve done is for naught (in Iraq).”

He said he’d be in favor of the U.S. intervening in Iraq “if there is a clear and present danger.”

Loudermilk’s answer on Afghanistan was different.

“We should have learned our lesson from the Soviets,” he said.

Barr had a different form of advice for Obama.

“What I’d tell Obama is, ‘Resign now,’” he said, to laughter from the crowd.

He said Obama’s decision to pull troops out of Iraq was “setting the example of cutting and running” and encouraged him to “use the air strike capability that we have.”

The two also differed slightly when asked if they would seek impeachment of Obama.

Barr gave an unequivocal yes and referenced his role in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

Loudermilk agreed Obama deserved impeachment, but felt it might not be worth trying, if it wouldn’t succeed.

“If we can’t finish the job, we probably shouldn’t start the drill,” Loudermilk said.

Barr later reiterated the need to impeach Obama “despite Barry worrying about whether the Senate would go along with an impeachment.”

The final question of the debate came from Kirby and was about the legalization of gay marriage.

Loudermilk made clear he is against gay marriage, and said he feels an “overwhelming majority” of people agree.

Barr did not carve out a hard stance on the issue, saying it’s not something on most people’s minds.

Loudermilk came in first during the May 20 primary, beating five other candidates and winning three of the district’s four counties. He took Cobb, Bartow and Cherokee counties, losing only in Fulton. Barr took 26 percent of the vote, while Loudermilk took 37 percent.

Because no Democrat is running, the winner of the July 22 runoff will win the seat for the next two years.

The seat came open when U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) launched an unsuccessful run at the U.S. Senate.

Those knocked out of the race May 20 were Marietta resident Tricia Pridemore, Georgia State Rep. Ed Lindsay, IT businessman Allan Levene and retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Mrozinski. Levene and Mrozinski received less than 5 percent of the vote each.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Cobb Cynic
June 16, 2014
Barr is by far the most experienced and tenacious, he has the best chance of making a case for impeachment. Hell, Clinton was impeached for doing nasty things with Monica and lying about it, Obama and his ilk are doing far worse, he's guilty of doing nasty things to our entire republic, lying about it and on top of that committing treason!!
I remember
June 17, 2014
I was a huge Barr supporter when he ran and won back in 1993/94 and unseated incumbent Democrat, Buddy Darden. Barr was one of the 70 incoming freshmen in that year's congressional election, now known as the "Republican Revolution."

Barr ran on an outspoken platform of 2nd amendment rights, and other individual rights. He was about the constitution and what rights in granted the federal government, and nothing more. But with time in Washington, he changed.

The Clinton administration and the then-Democratic-led house and senate had passed the Brady Bill, which was a gun control measure. There was a huge outlash from the grass roots public (sound familiar? Like what is going on right now, again?). This helped to unseat people like Buddy Darden who was more supportive of their political party than they were their constituency.

Barr won re-election, serving four consecutive terms. His biggest downfall, though, was his ultimate support for a gun control measure, the Lautenberg Amendment, which would make anyone who had ever been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor unable to ever again own a firearm. Not only that, anyone who lived in the same house with a person who had been convicted of domestic violence also could not own a firearm, never again.

This was a clear turn from protecting 2nd amendment rights. A person convicted of domestic violence could be as much as a wife throwing a lamp at her husband during a heated argument.

While domestic violence is certainly a negative issue, prohibiting someone from ever again owning a firearm FOR LIFE because of something like that is just plain wrong. Voting for and arguing for such legislation is also inexcusable.

After Barr had voted in support of the measure and came under fire for doing so, he openly defended his vote. Not very 2nd amendment protective, in my opinion.

Eventually, Barr promoted issues like bills to wage the "war on drugs." It was interesting when he was a guess on WSB radio one afternoon and a caller asked about constitutional authority for such measures. The caller pointed out that during prohibition the federal government had to amend the constitution to legislate the sale of alcohol, and that they had later reversed the amendment. The caller wanted to know why the constitution didn't need to be amended for the federal government to legislate or control drugs. It was a question which Barr could not/did not answer, because it was obvious what is the answer. The federal government has never been given such authority. That authority belongs to the states. So much for defending the constitution.

I also just read that Barr has reversed his position on the subject of homosexual marriage and now supports it (which does concern me). While the institution of marriage is a church issue, regulated (concerning legal aspects) by each state, I don't see the federal government having any role in it, nor any need for such discussion. It is a state matter to be left to each state.

While there are many things about Barr which are positive, Loudermilk is more so positive. In fact, Loudermilk's voting record stands the test of consistency better than has Barr's. Loudermilk hasn't capitulated on issues as did Barr when he served as our representative in Washington. Loudermilk's track record indicates that he won't when he gets to Washington, either.
Just Wait
June 15, 2014
This race will be a prime example of if the public's desire to replace the old with the new in DC is real or just talk.
June 17, 2014
While I appreciate the play by play recount of the evening, I don't think that Haistin Willis was able to fully capture the feeling of the event. Loudermilk was totally unprepared for this debate as was evidenced by his shaky responses and constant sweating. Loudermilk has nothing much to say apart from platitudes of reducing government and scare tactics of high federal debt. He has NO REAL solutions.

To quote Loudermilk from the night, "If you want to get something done, give it to a freshman."
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