Haslam walks tightrope on Syrian refugee placement in Tennessee

Should Tennessee let Syrian refugees settle here? Yes, says Gov. Bill Haslam, but the federal government should let Tennesseans help vet them.

After a week driven by headlines about state officials wanting to halt the placement of Syrian refugees here after terrorist attacks in Paris, the governor is asking public officials to tone down the rhetoric while also insiting the state needs more authority to evaluate refugees first. 

“I’ve never seen our people so afraid about something that the fear level would be here. And if we can be a part of the process, then we’re a whole different messenger out there among our population,” Haslam told reporters after a keynote address to the Nashville Rotary Club at the Wildhorse Saloon Monday.

"I think we have to be really careful about the blanket statements we make," he added.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, Franklin Repblican, told reporters last week that the state should round up and detain Syrian refugees placed in Tennessee, a statement sending shockwaves across the state, speaking to his base while infuriating immigration advocates. 

The “vast majority” of refugees are families, not terrorists, Haslam told reporters. “I think we need to be cautious. Like I said, I asked the president to halt. But we also have to realize that there are a lot of people in this population who are doing the same thing any of us would do if we were in that situation,” Haslam said.

After a recent conference call between governors and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Haslam said he and other governors have received "no encouragement" that the federal government will allow states into the fold of examining refugees before their placement in states like Tennesseee.

Nov 23, 2015 2:50 PM

Governor proposes bill that will 'enhance' inspections of abortion providers

In January, there will be an adminstration bill that sets reporting requirements and inspection procedures for the state's abortion providers, per a letter from the governor to lawmakers.

Nov 23, 2015 2:31 PM

Tennessee congressmen conferencing on highway-funding deal

Reps. Steve Cohen and John Duncan are part of the conference committee trying to hammer a highway-funding bill in Congress; both have confidence a deal gets done.

Nov 23, 2015 2:30 PM

Quotes you can't shake

After Glen Casada's assertion that Syrian refugees and immigrants should be gathered up using the National Guard, Jeff Woods digs into the archive to find other instances where politicians have said something that'll stick to them forever.

Nov 23, 2015 2:03 PM

Governor names new press secretary

The governor's new press secretary, replacing David Smith (who takes over as communications director for Alexis Poe), is Jennifer Donnals, recently of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Nov 23, 2015 7:14 AM

Clinton in Memphis, Nashville

Hillary Clinton's latest campaign swing is all about increasing incomes in the middle class (and also — as presaged by visits to Memphis-based Lemoyne-Owen and Nashville-based Fisk universities — about grant programs for HBCUs). However, she also raised money in Memphis and Nashville and made some bold statements about turning Tennessee blue again.

Nov 23, 2015 7:12 AM

TNGOP chair says Americans won't vote for Hillary Clinton

On the occasion of the former first lady/former senator/former secretary of state visiting, TNGOP Chairman Ryan Haynes says Americans don't trust Hillary Clinton:

A Quinnipiac University survey of Colorado voters found Secretary Clinton has “the lowest favorability rating of any top candidate” in the state at 33 percent to 61 percent. Over two-thirds of voters there feel she is “not honest and trustworthy.”

It should come as little shock that every single Republican opponent matched up against her beats her by margins of 11 points or more. Similar numbers were found in the latest Florida Atlantic University Business & Economics poll where Florida voters have a 54 percent unfavorable view of her. As is the case in Colorado, Mrs. Clinton is bested by every potential Republican opponent in the Sunshine State.

These numbers show Democrats should not only be scared of the next scandal looming around the corner, they need to be concerned about the basic viability of their presumptive nominee.

Nov 20, 2015 1:08 PM

Haslam says Carson and Trump prove 'well said is better than well done'

Bill Haslam is the head of the Republican Governors Association mostly because he commands a lot of money, isn't particularly controversial and isn't running for president. His stated hope has been that one of his current or former colleagues in that august organization would emerge from the pack of GOP hopefuls to win the nomination. But heretofore, they've struggled to find footing with Donald Trump and Ben Carson soaking up the headlines. Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and Scott Walker have already dropped out and Jeb Bush is foundering. Haslam threw some shade at Trump and Carson.

Nov 20, 2015 9:19 AM

Clinton hits town today

WPLN with a look ahead at Hillary Clinton's campaign stop at Fisk this afternoon.

Nov 20, 2015 6:46 AM