Jimmy Carter: Barack Obama's foreign policy accomplishments 'minimal'

Former President Jimmy Carter said America's "influence and prestige and respect in the world" has diminished during President Barack Obama's two terms in office -- though Obama is not to blame for the circumstances.

Georgia's only president spoke with Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson last week, but the video clip below started making the rounds in conservative media Tuesday.

When asked about Obama's "success or failures on the world stage," Carter replied:

"On the world stage, I think they've been minimal. I think he's done some good things domestically like the health program and so forth, but on the world stage, just to be as objective about it as I can, I can't think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over.

"If you look at Russia, if you look at England, if you look at China, if you look at Egypt and so forth -- I'm not saying it's his fault -- but we have not improved our relationship with individual countries and I would say that the United States influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago.

"And let me add again, let me repeat, I don't blame him for it, because there's been circumstances that have been involved. But I think John Kerry has been a very courageous and innovative and dynamic Secretary of State."

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Obama's close friend and top White House aide Valerie Jarrett will be in Atlanta on Tuesday, joining Mayor Kasim Reed at City Hall to talk about "Empowering Working Families Across America." From the White House:

This event builds on the President’s State of the Union announcements supporting greater workplace flexibility for families, and the City of Atlanta’s recent decision to offer paid maternity and paternity leave. White House Senior Advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Women & Girls Valerie Jarrett and Mayor Kasim Reed will discuss how flexible workplace policies can benefit families, businesses, and the economy as a whole. 

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An attorney who specializes in aviation law finds fault in the state's new ban on drones within a five-mile radius of the Georgia Capitol. Namely, that the Georgia Building Authority cannot enforce it.

Writes Elizabeth Wharton for Insider Advantage:

No matter how strongly the Building Authority may want to push for safety restrictions in the national airspace, it cannot give itself the authority merely by declaring it to be the case. The FAA continues to assert itself and its authority over air safety regulations.

The Capitol heliport 5-mile radius ban would have far-reaching impact into areas of Georgia’s technology and research industries. In particular, this restriction would ground any Atlanta-area flights by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and CNN joint-partnership with the FAA’s “Pathfinder” research project.

She goes on to suggest, tongue firmly in cheek, that a University of Georgia student may be behind the ban.

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State Sen. Vincent Fort is not happy with the owner of OK Cafe's stance on whether she will bring back a carving of Georgia's Confederate flag when the famed diner reopens in a few months.

Susan DeRose, the store's owner, said she considers the wood-carving a work of art, and said that it's a part of personal history "that has absolutely nothing to do with prejudice against anyone." Fort, an Atlanta Democrat, said the "insensitivity of the position is shocking."

"It's insensitive to Atlanta and the diverse clientele that eats at their restaurants," he said. "And I'm looking forward to the opportunity to educate their patrons on their point of view."

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The Sons of Confederate Veterans chimed on the flag controversies by pointing to a resolution the group passed in 2010 at its convention in Anderson, S.C., which includes these words:

"[T]he Sons of Confederate Veterans in General Convention assembled, does hereby condemn in the strongest  terms possible the inappropriate use of the Confederate Battle Flag or any other flag, seal, title or name bearing any relationship whatsoever to the Confederate States of America or the armed forces of that Government of the Confederate States of America by individuals or groups of individuals, organized or unorganized, who espouse political extremism or racial superiority."

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Gov. Nathan Deal gave a shout-out to the people of Georgia who made the legalization of gay marriage a relatively smooth affair.

He and Attorney General Sam Olens had for months said the state would comply with the Supreme Court decision, whatever it may be, and top court officials reported no acts of defiance or major hiccups as dozens of same-sex couples tied the knot.

Said Deal:

"I am pleased that the position we took and the Attorney General took is one the people of this state have likewise adopted. We don't want anything negative or bad to come out of that decision as it reflects on the state of Georgia, and I'm proud the people of Georgia haven't allowed that to happen."

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Today brings a host of new laws in Georgia, including a higher gas tax to help raise $1 billion in new revenue for the state's road network.

Critics of the plan were sure to get in their last licks.

You can read about other new laws here.

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Former Gov. Roy Barnes took his tale of changing Georgia's Confederate flag nationally with a long piece in CNN.

Here's a snippet:

Now it is heartening to see some Southern Republicans shifting to address the issue of Confederate emblems being used by state governments in our region.

As I stated in my speech to legislators in 2001 calling on them to pass the bill taking down the 1956 flag, my great-grandfather was captured at Vicksburg while fighting for the Confederacy, and I am proud that he bravely did his duty to his community as he understood it. As I said, however, in a speech at the John F. Kennedy Library in 2003, while I honor his bravery, I recognize that the cause he fought for -- slavery -- was wrong. The symbols of that cause have no place on government emblems or grounds, and should be removed.

He also gives a shout-out to his erstwhile rival, Gov. Nathan Deal, who defeated him in 2010:

The Republican Party can speak to its supporters about the need for change in the South, and push forward into areas and topics that my fellow Democrats and I cannot gain the standing to enter.

One example here in Georgia is Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's push to reform draconian sentencing laws that we have enacted over the last several decades. A Democratic governor would no doubt be attacked as "soft on crime" and be hard-pressed to garner significant GOP support for such an effort. A Republican governor, however, can make the case as an ally to his party's legislators and supporters about the need for such reform.

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The field to replace retiring state Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta, is growing. Attorney Wright McLeod threw his hat into the ring Tuesday with a Facebook post.

McLeod lost a primary for U.S. House in 2012. In the four-way race, things got ugly between McLeod and Rick Allen, who won the seat two years later, and we suspect Allen could start pulling levers against McLeod. From Malloy's July 2012 dispatch from Augusta calling Allen and McLeod "the race's major pugilists" who accused each other of supporting Democrats:

Allen said he now regrets donating money to Charles "Champ" Walker for his 2002 race against GOP then-Rep. Max Burns, a contribution Allen said he made out of kindness to a friend. McLeod stands behind his support of longtime friend Rob Teilhet in his 2010 run for attorney general.

But McLeod said he does regret voting in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008. He claims he voted for former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson because Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were "scaring the bejesus out of me."

But there is no record of any votes in McLeod's precinct for Richardson --- who had dropped out of the race weeks earlier.

"I don't know how to explain that, " McLeod said. "But that's what I did."

Allen also has been dogging McLeod with a legal complaint about his Federal Election Commission filings. McLeod admitted not itemizing his payroll expenditures, while rejecting several other charges. He filed a response to the FEC that he will not release, but the case likely will not be resolved for months.

The Savannah Morning News this month delved into possible illegal "straw donations" from donors with limited means or scant political giving history giving the maximum $2,500 to McLeod, raising questions as to whether they were reimbursed by someone else to get around the donation limits. McLeod said he has no knowledge of such a scheme and does not believe one exists.

The negative headlines irk McLeod, but he adds: "Hell, I've been shot at before." His signs tout the fact that he is the only candidate in the race with military experience. The Naval Academy graduate flew a F-14 Tomcat during Operation Desert Storm and retired as a commander.

Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young is also in.

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Today is the day McKenna Long & Aldridge is no more, as it is officially subsumed by mega-lawfirm Dentons.

From a company press release:

Dentons' expanded US team comprises 1,100 lawyers and professionals and brings together the exceptional talent of the two firms into one US powerhouse offering clients even greater expertise in more locations throughout the world's largest legal services market.

***

There's always a Georgia angle.

The game-sealing goal for the U.S. women's national soccer team against Germany last night was pounded in by Peachtree City native Kelley O'Hara. Her congressman chimed in about it on Twitter, though with a disturbing lack of American flag emojis.

Update: Ask and ye shall receive.

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