Cleland Won't Seek Rematch Against Chambliss
Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) has decided against seeking a rematch against freshman Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
On the one hand, that's unfortunate. Cleland was considered the top potential challenger for Chambliss, in what would be a tough seat for the Democrats to gain, given the state's conservative tilt.
A rematch would have given Cleland a chance, at a time of war and terrorism, to defend his patriotism and promote his knowledge of foreign affairs and homeland security issues against Chambliss. Chambliss, you'll recall, ran an advertisement in 2002 that juxtaposed Cleland's image with those of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and distorted Cleland's record by suggesting he was against homeland security. (The images of Bin Laden and Hussein were subsequently removed.) The ad angered some Vietnam veterans, including Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and John McCain (R-AZ).
On the other hand, I'm glad Cleland isn't committing himself for 2008. I'm hoping he's tabbed as the party's 2008 vice presidential candidate, perhaps paired up with another Southerner, former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC).
The regional strategy worked in 1992, and it could work again.
(Editor's Note: This item has been updated, correcting a wrong description of the Chambliss advertisement.)