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Political notebook: Brockway's question chosen for GOP debate

Buzz Brockway didn't even get to watch his presidential debate debut.

Brockway, the former chairman of the Gwinnett Republican Party, was working late Tuesday, when CNN hosted a YouTube debate for the GOP contenders.

But when he got home, he found a bevy of messages about his video question, which was chosen from among thousands of entries.

"That was quite a surprise," said Brockway, who maintains a blog on political issues.

During his video, which was submitted about three months ago, Brockway asked candidates whether they supported a continued fight for U.S. troops in Iraq. He held up a white board stating his own reasons for endorsing keeping troops in the war-torn country.

Brockway said he liked the responses from Sen. John McCain, former Sen. Fred Thompson and U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, but he disagreed with U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who wants to pull the troops out now.

"I don't know how much these debates really change people's opinions," the Lawrenceville man said. "It was really nice. I'm really happy they picked me."

But along with the honor comes a few thorns. Brockway noted that he's "getting pounded" for his opinion on the YouTube Web site.

"It's funny," he said. "I like the interaction and people getting so upset over me asking a simple question."

By the way, Brockway said he hasn't picked a favorite candidate, but he's leaning toward Thompson or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Chambliss spends holiday in Iraq

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he returned from his sixth trip to Iraq impressed with the progress American soldiers have been making since the troop surge President Bush launched earlier this year.

Chambliss was part of a Senate delegation that spent Thanksgiving breaking bread with U.S. military personnel and meeting with the Iraqi government leadership

"The surge is working," he said this week. "Virtually every part of Iraq has returned to some sense of normalcy."

Even the war's staunchest critics have conceded in recent weeks that beefing up U.S. forces in Iraq has improved safety for soldiers and civilians alike.

But congressional Democrats continue to argue that the military progress isn't translating into political progress.

Chambliss said he isn't satisfied with Iraq's leaders, either, and told them so.

"I have not been impressed with the leadership," he said. "It is time for the Iraqi government to step forward and take control."

Chambliss said the military progress isn't "irreversible" and could be halted in its tracks unless the government moves forward with provincial elections.

"We're not going to have success until that government is stabilized," he said. "If we don't see positive results by the end of the year, I think you'll probably see a strong message coming out of Congress calling for a change in administration."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Staff Writer Dave Williams contributed to this report.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@ gwinnettdailypost.com.