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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Johnson defends Guam capsizing comment

Camie Young

Camie Young

The island of Guam may not capsize, but a hyperbolic comment from a local legislator has caused many radio commentators to roll over in laughter.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson is defending his strange questioning during a U.S. Armed Services Committee hearing, where he expressed concerns that a troop deployment could cause the island to capsize.

"I wasn't suggesting that the island of Guam would literally tip over," said Johnson, whose 4th District includes parts of Lilburn and Norcross. "I was using a metaphor to say that with the addition of 8,000 Marines and their dependents -- an additional 80,000 people during peak construction on the tiny island with a population of 180,000 -- could be a tipping point which could adversely affect the island's fragile ecosystem and could overburden its stressed infrastructure."

The congressman's comments have become a viral video on the Internet.

"Having traveled to Guam last year, I saw firsthand how this beautiful, but vulnerable island could easily become overburdened, and I was simply voicing my concerns -- albeit with a dry sense of humor -- that the addition of that many people could tip the delicate balance and do permanent harm to Guam."

'There's a rep for that'

One of Johnson's opponents in the upcoming election has a big presence on the Internet, too.

Liz Carter, a Republican running for the job, launched an iPhone application for her campaign.

"There's a rep for that," said a press release, playing on Apple's famous tagline.

The application, available at Apple's App Store, allows supporters to volunteer, contribute and share information with their friends and followers using Twitter and Facebook, as well as showcasing campaign news and videos.

The application, she said, will help with her campaign to add transparency to Congress and allow an "unprecedented level" of feedback.

"Everyone needs real transparency from Congress and this is the first step in delivering a solid plan to provide that transparency to the people," Carter said. "Too many Congressional sites are all about the individual in office, not about the people they serve or the issues being discussed on the floor. Our site will serve as a vehicle to connect with the people of District 4, getting their feedback with the same polls and offering the same information available on the iPhone app. It's time for this district to have a representation who truly listens to their constituents."

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.