Miller Backs McKinney Opponent in Primary

Embattled Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney was dealt a blow in her contentious primary race when Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller announced Thursday that he is supporting her opponent.

Miller told WSB Radio that he has contributed $1,000 to Denise Majette, a black judge who has launched a tough primary campaign against McKinney. Majette was appointed by Miller when he was governor.

She is "the cream of the crop," Miller said of Majette.

Miller has already had a run-in once before with McKinney, whom he called "loony" for making provocative statements about President Bush's advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks.

While the Democratic senator refused to criticize McKinney's overall record in Congress, Miller expressed disappointment with remarks McKinney made in March suggesting that the Bush administration may have had advance warning of the attacks and did nothing about it so that he and his friends could profit from it.

"That was an irresponsible statement no matter who made it. It was a loony statement," Miller told the radio audience.

After the FBI revealed that it didn't act on knowledge that suspected terrorists were training at U.S. flight schools, McKinney said she was vindicated for her comments.

This wasn't the first time that McKinney made headlines due to bold comments about the terrorist attacks. Shortly after Sept. 11, she slammed New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for ripping up a $10 million check from a Saudi prince because he suggested that the attacks were the fault of the United States. McKinney wrote the prince a letter, asking that the money be instead given to poor black communities.

Her comments on these issues have drawn rapid fire from colleagues on the Hill. Even some of her staunchest Democratic supporters said they didn't agree with her assessments of the Bush administration, though House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt said, "She has the right to make them."

McKinney could not be reached for comment.

Majette said in an earlier interview with Fox News that her district in Georgia is sick of McKinney's inflammatory comments.

"The kind of reckless statements she makes is costing us dollars and cents in the district," she said. "I want to provide the kind of change people are looking for."

The primary is set for August 20.

Miller's decision to support Majette in the primary comes a few weeks after a Majette poll showed her slightly ahead of the five-term McKinney.