Political Notebook: McCain to tout Chambliss years after ripping campaign

As promised, the tight runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin for U.S. Senate is drawing national attention.

In fact, workers from Barack Obama's presidential campaign have been dispatched to Georgia, and the GOP's top politician is on his way.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who won the state but lost the election earlier this month, is expected to headline a rally for Chambliss today.

The event, which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, will also feature the Georgia GOP congressional delegation, including U.S. Rep. John Linder, of Duluth, as well as U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Gov. Sonny Perdue, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Karen Handel, School Superintendent Kathy Cox and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who also lives in Duluth.

But the Dems have found fodder in the McCain appearance, creating a Web ad using footage from 2002, when Chambliss won the Senate seat over incumbent Max Cleland, a triple amputee from the Vietnam War. During the campaign, Chambliss ran a negative ad about Cleland's Iraq War stance.

"I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield - it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible," McCain said at the time.

"John McCain had it right the first time - Saxby Chambliss' outrageous personal attacks are beyond the pale," said Matthew Miller, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which released the ad on YouTube. "John McCain may be participating in Saxby Chambliss' political theater tomorrow, but at the end of the day he knows Chambliss' real record."

Rally Sunday

in Gwinnett

If you can't get to Cobb today, you have another chance to meet Chambliss at a rally in Gwinnett on Sunday.

At 2:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Center Grand Ballroom, Chambliss will be joined by Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican who ran for the party's presidential nomination earlier this year, winning the county, Linder and radio personality Neil Boortz.

The event is tagged as the "FairTax Truth Rally," based on the popularity of Linder's plan to do away with the federal income tax in favor of a national sales tax. The tax plan has become central to the campaign, after Martin attacked Chambliss in television ads for his support of the idea.

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

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