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18 August 2008

McCain Gets A Not-So-Friendly Welcome To Atlanta

On one side of Peachtree Center Avenue, members of Georgia's organized labor community held up "Teamsters for Obama" signs and picketed in front of the Mariott Marquis hotel chanting, "Bush, McCain, Same Thing." On the other side of the street, anti-war protestors, armed with bullhorns, led several cadences of "McCain says warfare, we say healthcare."

There's no word if John McCain saw or heard any of the demonstrations against his Atlanta visit today but nevertheless, the several dozen protestors gathered downtown this afternoon intended to express their dissent at a John McCain presidency.

Among those in attendance at the protest were state Democratic Party Chair Jane Kidd and state Sen. David Adelman (D - Atlanta) who used John McCain's visit to highlight his ties to controversial Republican Ralph Reed.

"We are here today on the streets of Atlanta with real Georgians who are struggling and need our support. Later today, inside this fancy hotel, John McCain will be meeting with Jack Abramoff's colleague Ralph Reed and other lobbyists to hear about their clients," Kidd said at a press conference directly across the street from most of the protestors.

"Instead of meeting with Georgians and hearing from us about what we need from our country, John McCain has chosen to talk only with people who are giving him thousands of dollars."

In recent days, Ralph Reed and his connections to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff have been the target of criticisms from Democrats after the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that he had agreed to serve on McCain's "Victory 2008" fundraising team. Associated Press reports say that "Reed's public relations firm...received $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters to fight the opening of casinos that could compete with Abramoff's Indian tribe clients." [Source: Associated Press, "McCain nets $1.75 million at Reed-linked event", August 18, 2008]

Also, according to the AP, John McCain raised over a million dollars at the "Ralph Reed-linked" event.