Saturday February 13th, 2016 2:29PM

Chambliss says he won't change his approach

By The Associated Press
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss doesn't believe the partisan gridlock in the nation's capital is likely to let up soon, but he doesn't plan to let that stop him from continuing to fight for what he thinks is best for the country during his remaining two years in office, he said Monday.

"I think it may surprise some people, particularly my critics, to know that I'm not going to change my principles," the Georgia Republican said. "I'm not going to change my philosophy. I'm going to continue to advocate for what the things that I think are in the best interest of the country, whether it's the fiscal issue or any other issue."

The 69-year-old Chambliss spoke at the University of Georgia, his first public appearance since he announced Friday that he wouldn't seek a re-election next year. He and Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, were on hand to talk about leadership and public service as part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series, but they shifted their focus a bit in light of Chambliss's recent announcement.

The two are original members of the "Gang of Six," a bipartisan group of senators working to solve the country's debt problems, and their famous congeniality and mutual respect was on full display.

"I've spent more time with him over the last two years than I have with my wife," Chambliss quipped, going on to laud Warner's business sense.

Warner, in turn, said Chambliss is "the epitome of a Southern gentleman, courtly, calm, relaxed," and said the two-term senator and former U.S. representative is "a true example of political courage" for teaming with Democrats in 2010 to tackle the deficit issue even though he drew criticism from some in his own party.

Despite their bipartisan efforts, they failed to come up with a grand compromise on fiscal issues.

Chambliss expressed frustration over partisan gridlock in Washington when he announced he wouldn't seek a third term. And he said Monday he doesn't see that changing in the near future. The tough, partisan debate over budget control and raising the debt ceiling in July and August 2011 "was an ugly process," as was the fight over the fiscal cliff at the end of last year, Chambliss said.

"Y'all send us to Washington to make hard and tough decisions," he said. "They are political in nature because everything in Washington is political, but this is our country, for gosh sakes, and here we were headed off this fiscal cliff that was a very predictable crisis and yet there was not the willingness to find that common ground, and that's not what Saxby Chambliss is all about."

Warner also expressed frustration with the political bickering in Washington. He hasn't made any decisions yet about whether to seek re-election himself, he said. To keep the extreme wings of either party from taking over, people who are willing to work with the other side need to continue to step up, he said. He dismissed worries that that can make politician vulnerable.

"If you're not making a few folks upset, you're not doing your job," Warner said.

As soon as Chambliss announced his decision, chatter began about who would replace him, and the list of potential contenders is long. Chambliss, who said he was never worried about his own re-election prospects, chuckled when asked if he would endorse anyone for the job before saying he wouldn't get involved in the Republican primary.

He did, however, have a word of caution for those who covet his spot: "They need to follow me for a couple of weeks. It is not an easy life."
© Copyright 2016
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 2 years ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 2 years ago )
Gainesville considers funding boost for Keep Hall Beautiful, Elachee Nature Center
More funding could be on the way for a couple of Hall County agencies from the city of Gainesville, with a final vote planned this week.
1:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Gainesville Police warns of dangers on social media
The Gainesville Police Department is reminding parents to be aware of the activities their children are engaged in online.
12:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Mother, daughter perish in Stephens County fire
UPDATED: Improper use of a space heater is being blamed for the fire that claimed the lives of two women at a home in Toccoa Friday night.
12:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Hall GOP meeting Feb. 20 is part of process of selecting delegates to national convention
The Georgia Republican Party is beginning the process of selecting delegates to this summer's national Republican convention, and for the Hall County party that process begins next Saturday.
11:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
Forest officials plan to begin prescribed burns this month
​February is the time of year managers with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests begin prescribed fires in an effort to improve wildlife habitat and a healthy forest.
9:01AM ( 5 hours ago )