ATLANTA -- Just two weeks ago, Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed became the center of national attention for their handling of SnowJam 2014. The response to week's storm has been much different.
In meetings with his winter weather brain trust -- and making the rounds with emergency workers gathered in the state command center -- Deal was the political face of this week's storm, with an eye fixed on getting it right this time. The Governor, who faces re-election this year, was restrained at a midday news conference when asked to self evaluate.
"Well, I'm not in the business of rating. I'm in the business of governing the state during a crisis, and I feel very good about what we have done during this crisis," Deal said.
Deal has begrudging agreement from an unlikely source: Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta).
"Seriously, I'm glad for the people of the state of Georgia that Gov. Deal got it right this time," Fort said.
Two weeks ago, Fort said Deal had been, in his words "asleep at the switch" during the weather-and-traffic freeze-up some have called "Gridlockalypse."
This time, Deal declared a state of emergency at 9 a.m. on Monday -- more than a day and a half before the first bits of freezing rain hit metro Atlanta Tuesday night. By that time, crews had already attacked roads -- and the city of Atlanta had doubled its fleet, in part, by retrofitting garbage trucks with snowplows.
Fort, who has been critical of Mayor Reed, said he too deserves credit.