Politicians sound off on president's speech

Republican Congressman John Linder found something he could agree with during President Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday.

Linder, who lives in Duluth, said he agrees with the president that the answers to the nation's problems lie in laboratories, factories and the minds of entrepreneurs.

But Linder said the two disagree on how to unleash that potential.

"His plan is to smother these saviors with over-taxation and over-regulation and discourage the very answers he counts on," Linder said in a statement. "We should use this opportunity to debate and enact long-term solutions that will ensure prosperity for our children and our grandchildren."

Linder said he wanted to encourage the president against stop-gap solutions that the lengthen the recovery process and instead to look for long-term solutions, such as his FairTax proposal to switch from income tax to a national sales tax or the Economic Recovery and Middle Class Tax Relief Act, which increases the child tax credit tax and reduces income taxes paid by American families by 5 percent across the board.

Rep. Hank Johnson, whose district includes part of Gwinnett, said he found hope in the speech.

"The president laid out an honest, sober account of the many challenges we face as a nation," Johnson, a Democrat, said. "He outlined a plan that makes tough choices, but provided the necessary steps to get us out of the economic morass and head in a new direction. This country has always faced its challenges - better days are ahead for America. We can no longer ignore the long-term challenges we face."

Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican, agreed.

"I thought it was a good speech overall. I thought the optimism on the economy was needed and the reassurance on the banking system was important," Isakson said. "I appreciate the spirit and the tone on health care and education and I look forward to seeing the details of both of those proposals."

Pundits to visit

Political pundits Mary Matalin and James Carville will be in Gwinnett this weekend.

The "Crossfire" couple will headline the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's Cornerstone Society Donor Appreciation Gala, a black-tie event to be held in Lawrenceville.

The event is bound to satisfy any political party.

Carville, known as the Ragin' Cajun, is considered one of the masterminds of Bill Clinton's election. He met his wife Matalin on the campaign trail, as she worked for George H.W. Bush.

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