Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., met with area Republican leaders Monday afternoon at the Chatham County Republican Headquarters in Savannah to discuss issues facing the Senate and give his thoughts on the 2012 election.
Party leaders asked Chambliss questions in a roundtable discussion. Chambliss was in the area to give the commencement address at the Savannah Country Day School graduation on Monday evening.
Chambliss said that under the current administration, there has been an increase in centralizing power in the executive branch.
“We stand at a crossroads in America with this election. Many people have talked about this being one of the most important presidential elections in the history of the United States — and it is — and Mitt Romney is the candidate to return this country to greatness,” Chambliss said.
Turning from the race for the White House to control of Congress, Chambliss believes that the Republican party will retain control of the House and will push for a majority in the Senate.
“We have four solid candidates in the 12th District. That one will face John Barrow in the general election. There is no Democrat running in the newly added 9th District near Gainesville,” Chambliss said. “However, the real stretch will be picking up Senate seats. With Olympia Snowe retiring, we will probably lose Maine, but there are several other races in play including Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. But we are hoping that Romney at the top of the ticket will help.”
Chambliss said that as the election nears, conservative voters are “starting to come home.”
“We are going to get behind our candidates and we are going use the momentum from the primaries to propel us into the general election in November. The two most important groups for us this cycle will be independent voters and white females, and I believe that we can get both of them,” Chambliss said.
On health care, Chambliss said both Democrats and Republicans await the Supreme Court’s decision on the president’s plan.
“Regardless of which side the justices are on, the Supreme Court justices are very intelligent and understand the issues that confront them with the health-care issue,” Chambliss said. “They understand it will be hard to keep together pieces of this legislation. If it stays intact, it will cost Georgia $1 billion in regulatory fees the first 10 years.”
Chambliss added that Republicans need to have a plan for health care and to make sure that Romney is consistent with the position.
Chambliss also discussed fiscal policies. Chambliss and his “Gang of Six” want to create a balanced budget and have suggested to the Presidential Debate Commission that one presidential debate focus on the candidates’ positions and understanding of the national debt.
“We have got to cut spending, reform entitlements and increase revenue to cut the debt. We really have to make some tough choices, and it’s going to affect everybody,” Chambliss said. “As we would make the cuts, the Gang of Six would use 15 percent of the money saved to retire the debt and 85 percent to reduce taxes.”