On the record – off the clock.  On the Political Breakfast podcast, veteran Atlanta political reporter Denis O’Hayer hosts a conversation between strategists from the right and the left. Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson and Republican strategist Brian Robinson bring their personalities and passion to the table for an informed, respectful and lively discussion. They spar, they delve into topics others avoid, and they give credit where it’s due. It’s all steered by Denis O’Hayer, who has covered Georgia politics for close to 40 years. Scroll down to see the latest episodes.

Throughout the 2020 state legislative session, Political Breakfast presents Gold Dome Scramble, a pop-up podcast in which host Lisa Rayam talks with reporters from the WABE newsroom to break things down for our listeners — the issues being considered, and the bills getting sorted through various committees. They’ll lay out the context and explain what comes next. Episodes will be clear, concise and short — with each lasting less than 15 minutes. Listen to Gold Dome Scramble below and find out more about it here.


Featured Episode

Georgia’s Dead-Heat Presidential Race; Another Race to Get Us Counted

We’ve heard for months Georgia could be in play in the presidential race. A visit from President Trump is the latest evidence of that. So, what are the best battle plans for the campaigns? The state makes slow progress in the Coronavirus battle, but Federal health officials say we could do more. And the Governor mounts a last-minute public push to get all Georgians counted. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer welcomes Republican strategist Brian Robinson, and former Cobb County Democratic chair Michael Owens, who’s filling in for Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson.

Schools Open in Pandemic; Vote-by-Mail Fight Gets Local

Schools are opening in Georgia, but the often-emotional debate about whether—and how—to do it safely is already well underway. And the toll in COVID-19 cases, rates of positive tests, and deaths continues to rise. Governor Kemp signs a controversial police protection bill. And while President Trump trashes mail-in absentee voting—except in Florida—there’s a growing dispute between the state’s top elections official and one Atlanta area county. Republican strategist Brian Robinson and Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson are back, with WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer.

John Lewis Farewells; Congress Demands GA COVID Documents

With coronavirus cases still extremely high, hospitals in many parts of Georgia sounded the call for intensive care for themselves. Schools and colleges struggled to figure out how and when to reopen, with the calendar–and the virus–not on their side. And voters in the late Congressman John Lewis’s district will get to choose his successor—even if that person might only serve for a few weeks. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer delves into it all with Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson and Republican strategist Brian Robinson.

Two Giants Remembered; Lewis Succession Debate; Mediation in Kemp-Bottoms Fight

After it took almost four months to reach to 75,000, Georgia’s number of confirmed Coronavirus cases doubled in less than a month. With hospitals in many parts of the state under stress, and people still facing long delays in getting their test results, the political and legal crossfire continued, too. The only pause came when Georgians paid tribute to two giants of the civil rights movement, who continued to lead to the very end. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer got some thoughts from Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson and Republican strategist Brian Robinson.

Masked Battle; School Dilemmas; Abortion Ruling

A united Georgia response to the Coronavirus might be a fond wish, but it’s not happening—even as case numbers spike and hospitals are stretched. The governor and Atlanta’s mayor traded shots; the governor again banned local governments from requiring masks—even as more cities did just that; and some school districts decided to open with online learning, despite funding cutoff threats from the president. Meanwhile, Georgia’s controversial new abortion law was blocked in Federal court. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer looks into all of it, with Republican strategist Brian Robinson and former Atlanta City Council president Cathy Woolard, who’s filling in for Tharon Johnson this time.

Gun Violence; Face Masks; Reopening Schools

It was a week of mourning in Georgia: over lives lost in a weekend of gun violence–including that of an 8-year-old girl—and the lives lost to a Coronavirus outbreak that has worsened after the state re-opened. Georgia’s governor faced what one might call a masked rebellion in several cities, and called the National Guard into Atlanta. Meanwhile, school students, teachers, staffers and parents struggled to understand what this fall will be like in classrooms and on campus, while the Trump administration pressured schools to put kids back in front of teachers. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer again welcomes Republican strategist Brian Robinson and Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson.

COVID Warnings & Mask Decisions; Budget Cuts Go Deep

As Georgia’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to soar, the warnings from public health leaders here continue to darken. But the debate over how best to keep from getting there has intensified—with leaders in some cities publicly confronting Governor Brian Kemp. Meanwhile, the governor and officials at every level in the state try to figure out how to adjust to state budget cuts that will affect us all. WABE political contributor Denis O’Hayer talks it over with Republican strategist Brian Robinson and Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson.

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