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Carter under fire in Ga. for backing Groton site

ATLANTA -- Former President Jimmy Carter was the target of scorn in his home state after he lobbied to save a Connecticut submarine base at the expense of thousands of jobs in Georgia.

One member of an independent panel said Carter was part of the reason it voted to reverse a Pentagon recommendation to close the Naval Submarine Base New London, which would have shifted six subs and 3,367 jobs to Georgia's Kings Bay base.

''What was he thinking?" Governor Sonny Perdue, a Republican, said Thursday.

The Pentagon estimated that shifting fast-attack submarines, a maintenance facility, and the Naval Submarine School from Groton, Conn., to Georgia would grow the overall workforce in St. Marys by 22 percent. That was the largest predicted percentage gain for any military community in the nation.

But Carter, a former Georgia governor and the only president who has served as a submariner, sent a letter to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission last week, pleading to keep open the Connecticut base where he was stationed as a young engineer in the 1950s.

In his appeal, Carter said he feared that closing the Groton base would result in ''a loss of some of the proud submariners heritage of our historic association with service and training in New London."

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