TRENDING | Impact of Chambliss-Norquist Quarrel

11:17 PM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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Last Wednesday, 13WMAZ's Kenny Burgamy interviewed Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss about his efforts to prevent sequestration and avoid the 'fiscal cliff.' 

RELATED | Chambliss Edges Away from Norquist Anti-Tax Pledge

But what received the most attention were comments Chambliss made about his openness to increasing federal revenue, an act that would violate the anti-tax pledge he signed 20 years earlier. 

Specifically, Chambliss said he'd be willing to do that because cares more for America than for Grover Norquist, the architect of the anti-tax pledge. 

VIDEO | The Full Interview with Senator Saxby Chambliss

Norquist shot back two days later in a written statement: "If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government, he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them."

Despite the holiday weekend--or, as AJC blogger Jim Galloway says, because of it--the spat quickly became news around the country.

Fox News says Chambliss "broke ranks with other conservatives" in the interview and notes that the tax issue itself "is especially thorny because it doesn't lend itself to Washington's favorite tactics of postponing hard decisions."

Writing for the Huffington Post, Nick Wing said Norquist's "coalition appears to be weakening in the wake of the recent elections" but also notes that Chambliss has spoken out about the Norquist and his pledge before.

In fact, in June 2011, Chambliss told POLITICO: "Grover Norquist has no credibility, so I don't respond to him." 

For a New York Times article about Norquist's waning influence, Chambliss was equally blunt with his comments, which were published three days before speaking with 13WMAZ. The Times article notes that the country's dire financial situation has reduced Norquist's sway and even drawn fire from the likes of Senators John McCain, Tom Coburn and Lindsey Graham.

RELATED | Chambliss Ready for Reelection Bid in 2014

Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor says Chambliss's comments and the other defections could be "decisive as GOP leaders negotiate with Democrats and the White House over how to resolve the 'fiscal cliff'..."

On Sunday, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat, said on NBC's Meet the Press that the key to resolving the 'fiscal cliff' issue "is whether or not the Republicans will move away from the ideologically rigid position, which has been the Grover Norquist pledge..."

Moments later, they played a clip from the Chambliss interview and then invited Republican Rep. Peter King to the show. He said, "I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss."

RELATED | Anti-Tax Activist Fires Back at Chambliss

Graham, also on Sunday, reiterated his willingness to "violate" Norquist's pledge, saying on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, "...Republicans should put revenue on the table."

However, if you ask Norquist, this seeming exodus from his pledge may be a misunderstanding. He told CNN he believes Sen. Chambliss was "caught" in his interview with 13WMAZ and that "he said some things perhaps that didn't make sense."

Fox News confirmed the accuracy of the senator's comments with one of his senior aides.

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