Rick Goddard, Republican candidate for Georgia's 8th Congressional District, was in town Friday morning for a small breakfast fundraiser along with U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip Roy Blunt.
Goddard, a retired U.S. Air Force Major General and the former commander of Warner Robbins Air Force Base, announced his candidacy for the 8th Congressional District in June.
Viewed by many as the only Republican to have a chance at beating U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon) in 2008, Goddard's campaign announced in October that he had raised more campaign contributions than Marshall for the past three months ($120,830 to $106,458.)
Held at the Covington Women's Club the event was attended by a small number of Newton County Republican Party supporters. Friday was Goddard's fifth campaign trip to Covington.
Blunt - who lately has been sullied by his close association with former House Majority Leader Tom Delay and imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff as well as his own inclusion in the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics' 2006 list of "The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress" - was optimistic about his party's chances of reclaiming a majority in the House in 2008 as well as winning the 8th District.
"I'm excited that Rick Goddard is running for Congress. I think he brings a certain amount of critical information to Congress," Blunt said adding, "This is a great Republican district."
Goddard was equally sanguine about his chances of defeating Marshall - a Blue Dog Democrat known for his socially conservative views.
"He really truly is not a conservative," Goddard said of Marshall.
On the issues
Since 9/11 the United States has seen its international public approval ratings fall drastically. According to a March study by World Public Opinion, 51 percent of those polled in 26 countries feel the United States has a mostly negative effect on the world.
Asked how he would restore international goodwill towards the U.S., Goddard responded, "My main concern is a strong, prosperous America. I'm concerned about what Americans feel about America."
According to an October poll released by Gallup, 72 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in America.
Addressing the dissatisfaction many Americans feel about the way things are going in Iraq Goddard said, "America is engaged in a war which always generally causes discomfort."
Goddard said he is against pulling American troops out of Iraq.
"We now have a country that if we left would be isolated and vulnerable to Iranian control and intrigue," he said.
Goddard said the United States should give the Iraqi government more time to take advantage of the lull in violence created by the recent troop surge around Baghdad
"This is a very complex problem," Goddard said. "Our own country didn't become a country overnight.
Goddard said he would restore American confidence in the United States. by "always keeping taxes as low as possible."
If elected Goddard said he would cut down on government spending by making sure the president is armed with a line-item veto. Whether he will still feel the same way if the next president of the United States is a Democrat is not known.
"You can't tax your way out of a deficit," said Goddard of the U.S.' deficit which now stands at $9.14 trillion according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt.
Goddard, who is against proposals for a government-sponsored universal health care system, said the key to reducing the cost of healthcare for Americans is to create a market-based healthcare system which he says will drive down costs and improve quality. Goddard also said the cost of healthcare would be less if Americans would pursue healthier lifestyles through regular exercise and a balanced diet.
Also in attendance at Friday morning's fundraiser were Georgia State Sen. John Douglas, Georgia State Rep. Doug Holt, Georgia State Rep. John Lunsford, Newton County Chairman Aaron Varner, District 1 Commissioner Mort Ewing and Newton County Tax Commissioner Barbara Dingler.