Whirlwind tour of D.C. for dynamic duo of Deal and Reed

Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will jet to Washington on Wednesday for a one-day, three-stop blitz of meetings on Capitol Hill.

The political dynamic is intriguing: Reed, a Democrat, will likely drive the conversation with Obama appointees Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, and Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation. But LaHood is also a former Republican congressman -- just like Deal.

Finally, in a late-afternoon meeting with members of Georgia's congressional delegation, a majority of whom are Republicans, Deal could be the Batman to Reed's Robin.

The agenda for the day is heavy with transportation issues, especially the state's wish for $500 million from Washington to deepen the Port of Savannah. Members of the Georgia Ports Authority will join Deal and Reed when they meet with the state congressional delegation.

Reed has been a vocal advocate for the port project, saying it’s a major economic engine for the city as well as the state. Reed and Deal also will likely work to convince LaHood that, despite the secretary’s earlier criticisms, Georgia is ready to act on transportation projects, including mass transit.

But first, Deal and Reed will give Duncan an update on the state's Race to the Top programs. Georgia last year won $400 million from the Department of Education to spur innovation in teaching; eight other states and the District of Columbia also were awarded grants in that round. Deal's education adviser, Erin Hames, also will attend.

"We are a great example of what the program can be," Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said. "There's also a new Race to the Top program, and I'm sure the governor and secretary will discuss that. We are a success story."

Reed's effort to get the pair a meeting with President Barack Obama was unsuccessful. But Reed remains optimistic about the trip, his spokeswoman Sonji Jacobs Dade said.

"Mayor Reed has distinguished himself as a leader who understands the importance of working across party lines to further the interests of both the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia," she said. "That’s why he’s made working in a bipartisan fashion on funding for the Port of Savannah an important priority."