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February 5, 2016

Michelle Nunn Hits Bipartisan Tone in Georgia Senate Stump Speech

Michelle Nunn leaves a campaign event in Shellman, Ga. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SHELLMAN, Ga. — Michelle Nunn strolled along train tracks stretching past a depleted downtown lined with empty storefronts and toward a crowd of supporters hoping to meet the state’s next senator.

At a private home in the southwestern corner of the state, the first-time candidate greeted a bipartisan duo of state legislators, chatted up some 50 curious admirers and delivered a rhythmic 10-minute stump speech that was heavy on bipartisanship and light on an unpopular president.

“We have a real viable race here,” Nunn said.

How viable depends in part on which Republicans emerge from the May 20 primary and who is nominated in the July 22 runoff. That crowded race remains up in the air, with five Republicans capable of advancing. As a result, the contest to replace retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is stuck in idle until mid-summer, giving Nunn another three months to prepare for the general.

President Barack Obama lost Georgia by 7 points two years ago, and his low approval ratings in 2014 could prove particularly detrimental to red-state Democratic candidates. Still, given the midterm election cycle landscape, this is likely Democrats’ best pickup opportunity, and party operatives are optimistic about Nunn, who raised $2.4 million in the first quarter.

As she worked the covered patio adjacent to a flowing green yard, Nunn was met with questions and anecdotes about her father, as she often is on the campaign trail. Former four-term Sen. Sam Nunn was the last Georgia Democrat to win re-election to a Senate seat, in 1990, and his legacy of bipartisanship is still revered by voters of both parties.

“It gives me an entry point with people who remember my dad,” Nunn said of her last name in an interview after the event. “It gives me a hearing. And then as I talk to a lot of young people, they’re interested in my non-profit career and work with volunteers. So I think I’m able to have an entry point with voters in both ways.”

Nunn’s pitch to the crowd highlighted how she came to head up the volunteer organization Points of Light, her family’s deep history in the state and the need for a willingness to overcome the dysfunction on Capitol Hill. She said the country’s corporate tax rate is too high, accentuated “fiscal stewardship” on behalf of future generations and pushed the fact that the fight for Georgia’s open Senate seat appears to be increasingly competitive.

“I think it ultimately is a race that determines are we for sensible, pragmatic and problem-solving leadership, or are we for extremism,” Nunn told the assembled crowd. “I’ve been reminding people of the Georgia state motto. It’s wisdom and justice and moderation — and I think those are the values we need and want more of, for Georgians and in Washington.”

Nunn earned laughs with quips about her parents, including a half-joking reference to her mom serving as the campaign’s rapid-response director and stories she’s heard from admirers of her father.

Supporters sipped on glass-bottled Coke and white wine in “Michelle Nunn” cups. The unseasonably cold morning had perked up into a picturesque afternoon, and locals were grateful the gnats were still a month away.

Never far removed from the tongues of Democrats and Republicans alike in attendance were comparisons between the younger and elder Nunns.

“She has the stamina and the tenacity that he has,” said Mary Jane Salter, a Senate aide to Nunn’s father for 14 years. “I think she’s somewhat a chip off the old block. One of the things that made him a great senator was the fact that he could speak up to his party when he needed to and cross the aisle to work with Republicans. I think Michelle can do that, too — she says she can.”

This race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.


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  • Layla

    Depleted is the key here. These people know that Barack Obama has killed this economy and they will not support more of those policies.

  • Dave

    Your statement is beyond laughable. Look what George W. Bush did to the economy and the massive collapse that was happening in 2009 as he left office, when the economy was shedding nearly a million jobs a month. Look how far back we’ve come from the brink with Obama.

    You obviously have no investments or otherwise you’d know how badly off your portfolio was after Bush left office and how good it is now. Mine has tripled since Bush left town with his tail between his legs. I’ll take a Democrat like Obama over a clueless GOP dolt any day.

  • Ted77

    Get out of the Fox News bubble. You Republicans are convincing yourselves that the country likes you, they don’t.

  • Feler S23

    Easy way to make money that is working for me, do a search for “Traders Superstore “ it’s swing trading the oil market and it really works.


    It’s now been almost five months, since the more than two million unemployed workers have been without unemployment benefits. Since late last December, when these families ran out of their benefits, they have been waiting and struggling patiently for the senate to pass the unemployment extension bill. However, due to the Republicans constant rejections and stalling tactics, the much needed bill has not yet been passed. While these politicians continued to play their ‘party politics”, these millions of families have had to face evictions, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcies, and homelessness. These workers have been destroyed financially and emotionally, and the Republican party is to blame for this, due to their reluctance to accept any of the proposals brought to them by the Democrats. Since the past several months, whenever the bill was to be discussed and voted upon, time and time again , the senate took another break or vacation, leaving these poor Americans hung out to dry a little longer waiting for help that doesn’t come. This was the first time in many years that the senate did not pass an extension bill. Their refusal this year to pass an extension bill can only be explained because of their deliberate and calculated plan to make the democrats, and particularly president Obama to look bad, and not be successful in the people’s eyes. These Republicans have shown us that their own political agenda is much more important to them than the needs of the people for whom they serve. While senators such as John Boehner expressed their concerns about fiscal responsibility , and budget concerns, the congress just has passed a foreign aid package worth Billions for the Ukraine. Why was this passed without much fanfare or debate, while poor unemployed families who are becoming more and more destitute with each more senate delay of the extension bill? Where are the Republicans “family values’ which they like to so often claim to be the party that represents family values? The Republicans will surely find out in the 2016 elections just how foolish their decision has been not to help these millions of workers.

  • Capt Bob

    Before, as a Georgia Residence, I want to know what Michelle is going to for the 62,000 Homeless Veterans that are cold and hungry on the streets of the US when she gets in office.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Captain Bob, I am very curious in knowing why you use hungry veterans as a shibboleth for divisiveness.

    Clearly, if you want to know what Ms. Nunn will do for vets, you must feel that Senators have influence in what happens to vets. The record of the GOP on Vets is beyond terrible. One might be able to argue that one party is poison and the other is fast poison, but that begs the question of why you seek to divide Americans into categories.

    Are the vets who are cold and hungry people who were ruined by their military service? Are they people who, had they not been in the military, would be living productive, fulfilling lives?

    If the answer to those questions is yes, the GOP policies of military adventurism must mark them as the fast poison on vets’ issues.

  • Capt Bob

    Thanks for the reply Rob. All of Washington could fix this problem if they wanted to. There are a lot of closed bases that have housing that could be used by the homeless Vet’s. There a lot of organizations that have programs for the Homeless Vet’s that could help if they would get off there Butts and look for them.

    Do you believe in: Standing up for those that Stood up for us, or just through them away and sooner or later they will die and no longer be a problem.

  • left wing

    the insane lefty paid troll LIES again

  • left wing

    get out of the insane left wing lemming paid troll mode and try to think. but you just do the usual lefty hate and lies.

  • left wing

    the insane left loves a police state and LYING about everything. and of course never accepting any responsibility for their failures. the lowlifes just BLAME and LIE.

  • left wing

    the nation does not need another insane left wing democratic lemming.

  • Jon Johnston

    Those who pursue the opportunities afforded by liberty should realize that they will reap the praise or blame and are morally responsible for the consequences of their efforts.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Thanks for your response Capt Bob.

    We should clarify a bit here. The slogan, standing up for those who stood up for us is well and good, but it completely ignores the realities in vet benefits.

    First, as I type this, there are a large number of vets from the two wars of the 21st century who are being unfairly denied VA benefits because they have been mustered out of the military in less than honorable circumstances on trumped up charges.

    We need a non-partisan, apolitical commission to look into the practices of the current chains of command and tp investigate how the lifers are gaming the system to maximize their VA benefits and deny them to others whom they deem as non-conformists.
    Second, there is no distinction in the VA between people who are physically unfit and get injured in training or other non-combat activities and those who actually served in capacities that had to do with national defense.

    What is the point of giving non-combatants veterans’ benefits? Are you making the argument that people who spend their military time running a motor pool in Fort Benning have the same claim to VA benefits as people who engaged Taliban fighters in Khost province?

  • Capt Bob

    Hi Rob,

    Yes I do because it was part of the agreement to get people to enlist. As a former Air Force Recruiter I believe the Government should stand by all of their promises. However I see your point. Remember many of the servicemen didn’t have a choice of what they did in the service. Especially the Draftee’s. Considering you comments, should a cop on a beat make more money that a Advertising Exec?

    Considering your theory should Combat veterans get more retirement pay as non-combat Vet’s?

    I am enjoying the conversation.



  • Rob_Chapman

    Bob, thank you for your service and I appreciate your integrity in keeping the promises the government makes to prospective recruits for military service.

    Please let me take the occasion to thank any vets reading over our shoulders.

    Please allow also to make a distinction between those who serve under military orders and the policy makers who give those orders. In nearly every case my critical remarks are directed toward the policy makers.

    I was regular army, but I trained in the last basic training cycle that included reservists, i.e., conscripts. That was forty years ago. If, forty years on, there are still unfortunate vets who are homeless and destitute, I submit that there is something other than the inadequacy of the VA benefits in play.

    Your analogy between a beat cop and an ad exec is interesting but off the point. Those occupations are not in federal service and are governed by market forces. The ad exec earns high pay because he adds value to the companies which employ him and presumbably, his compensation is proportional to that added value. The ad exec generates the funding stream that compensates him.

    The beat cop, performs a needed and salutory service, but his budget line is a cost to his employer. Hence, he is paid by the government which has the power to tax and which presumably guards against free ridership.

    The military is paid by the government because: a, it is too expensive for private funding; b, to assure that all receive its benefits instead of it being used to extort tribute from the unarmed segments of the populace and c, to assure that everyone pays a fair share of the cost of maintaining the armed forces.
    In the recent surge in Afghanistan, POTUS designated thirty thousand or so additional personnel for duty there. The funds appropriated for this surge were something like thirty billion dollars if memory serves. What is the cost of each additional service member deployed to Afghanistan? The ratio of personnel to dollars in this example is what, a million to one?

    We appear to have reached a point in which this country can no longer afford the cost of fielding forces onto the battlefield. At $1 mm per fte, Taliban or another enemy can easily bleed the treasury and exhaust our ability to conduct war.

    After the mission has ended, retirement, education, home loan subsidies, medical care, pensions and other benefits for retired military personnel are multi-million dollar obligations.

    How in the world can we face the tax payor and tell them that they must continue to pay these costs?

    Don’t our oaths to defend and serve seem to ring a bit hollow when we put the tax payor on the hook for these obligations?

  • Elle’s Island

    Since equal justice implies that laws apply equally to all, and the range of skills and talents varies between each of us, the same rules will naturally lead to a wide range of unequal results.

  • Capt Bob

    HI Rob,

    What part of this great country do you live., I live in Woodstock, GA. I would like to have a meal with you and talk about some of these subjects we have been discussing.,

    You are right about the cops. Sorry I got off point.,

    With regards to taxing the tax payers for the military I would drather send them a bill for the military veterans care than Mrs Obama’s bill for traveling all over the world and Pres Obama’s needless travel. Hasn’t he heard of video Conferencing.

    Thank you for your comments about the Homeless Vet’s. This is a shame on America. I was at a American Legion Meeting recently and brought up the subject of the Homeless Vets. One of the members stated that they were all drunks and on drugs., They had PSTD and wanted to be homeless. I can’t believe that and the VA has treatments for these problems. I wonder how the vet’s got that way? In the Vietnam War there was a large miss use of drugs and drinking problems. Who’s falt was this.

    One of my jobs in the Air Force was Radar Maintenance and I was stationed on tall hills. This was a Non-combat job but they had a Radar Base on top of a hill in Vietnam. If the bad guys attacted the base would that have been combat or non-combat and under your opinion would I get VA Benefits or not. Oops, now I have re-read what I said, I think my comments were kind of silly but I would like to hear your answer anyway.

    By the way thank you for your reserve time. Where did you go to Army Basic. Before I joined the Air Force I was in the Army reserves and went to Camp Drum in NY for basic. The Army Basic training was one of the reasons I joined the Air Force. ha ha I was draftable and it was a good thing I joined when I did. I got my draft notice three months after I went into the Air Force.

    When I was an Air Force Recruiter I had a lot of guys with draft notices come to me wanting in., Sorry, I had a waiting list. On a humorous side I had a Dad drag his son in to my office and slamed him down in a chair. Dad said put him in the Air Force and I will be back in 30 minutes. Well that didn’t happen but it was funny anyways.

    Wow, I have really gone on and on. By the way I was a Msgt in the Air Force, Capt Bob is from when I was a school bus driver. I am also in the Patriot Guard Riders and we do Military Funerals. Capt Bob is also my Biker name. My church is called “God’s Rolling Thunder” Look us up on the internet. Look up the “Patriot Guard Riders” you will be shock when you read how they come into being.

    Have a great day

    Regards Bob

  • Cool Ranch, Texas

    By assaulting private property, collectivism channels our aggressive instincts outward, resulting in modern-day systems of masters, serfs, and plunder — more commonly known as socialism, communism, and the welfare state.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Bob, Thanks for the invite, I live in a town which the erudite settlers to our area wistfully named Ithaca. We are in the Finger Lakes region of New York and combination of stunningly beautiful landscapes, immense natural resources, and well-developed and sophisticated native peoples inspired them into a sense of wonder and mythological imagination.

    Our forebears were very quick to understand the geography of the area and used the great innovations of steam boats and rail roads to connect the seaboard, the Great Lakes and the Great Plains to the coal fields of Pennsylvania through the passes in the Appalachians and the lakes to the Eire Canal.

    They did more than move goods, though and Ithaca was known for its firearms, its industrial products like chains and sprockets and other advanced manufacturing.

    Ithaca is located in Tompkins County, named in honor of Daniel Tompkins, the NY Governor who signed the bill forbidding slavery into law.

    In the present day, Tompkins is one of the two, out of 57, upstate New York counties that is gaining population. We attribute this to the economic dynamism of high tech industries generated by Cornell University which is located here. Our unemployment rate has rarely exceeded 3.5% and as this the smallest SMSA in the USA, Cornell has huge impact. Their scientists work with corporations, both foreign and domestic, to devise agricultural products, bio-medical devices and many mechanical and electronic devices that are used by consumers and industry. We try to keep busy and productively employed. I work with kids and have a flexible schedule, but I no longer travel very often. Should you be in the Ithaca area, look me up, my name is on the post.

    There is a guy who lives nearby who was a combat vet in Vietnam. He is now a parapalegic and has been in and out of rehab all his life. His career is pretty spotty with long periods of unemployment. He is 63 or 64 and he looks pretty rough, but in my opinion, we have a done a good job in taking care of him. Drug addiction is a tricky thing. If someone can get enough drugs to become an addict, it is a pretty sure thing, we cannot stop their drug use by enforcement. In my view, we either have to learn how we can all live with their addiction, or we have to figure out some way to get them out of that life. Either way, it is a cooperative process involving sticks, but also carrots. Unfortunately, for too many, the only carrots available are the highs.

    As a Vietnam Era vet, who is only very tangentially involved with veteran activities, I am aiways pleasantly surprised by the attention I get from the State of New York. I probably get pinged by the State six or seven times a year regarding my medical care, my employment status and my general well being. Other educational benefits, and perhaps death benefits when I pass away, I have been fortunate enough to be able to decline on those generous offers. As comforting as that is, we remain the most heavily taxed state among all the states and DC and I hear constantly from business people how difficult the business environment is here because of it.

    In a state which is losing population in 55 of 64, (57 upstate counties and the five counties making up the City of New York), counties, I think that the expense of government outweighs its contributions. New York City is a separate matter, but they seem to be doing very well and generally are pretty self-sufficient with regard to the State.

    It is incontrovertable that the immense tax burden we bear in my state affects my outlook toward government, as well as the manifold differences in governing a complex, dense metropolis like New York City, vis a vis the much more sparsely populated and in many cases, like here, agrarian areas upstate. New York is still third in the value of its agricutural products among the fifty states.

    Returning to the issues at hand, I may not have been clear in distinguishing between people serving in combat areas and those serving in CONUS, USAREUR or the ROK. I am not so familiar with the Air Force, so I will confine my remarks to the Army. I served in the early seventies, had a combat arms MOS and was honorably discharged in 1974. Those were very divisive times and I usually avoid discussing my personal experiences with the Army. Going back to more general military matters.

    Someone driving a truck on a road which might be seeded with IEDs seems to me to be as much a combatant as an armed soldier confronting the enemy directly. I had an opportunity to visit a USAREUR depot during the latest Iraqi War once and saw firsthand the damages that IEDs inflict on eighteen wheelers and the lack of protection for the drivers.

    People supplying fuel, food, materiel, medical care, and the people keeping track of them and said items to fighters are essential to the mission, and should, in my view receive pay and benefits for such service. From this sort of generalizing I would think your service in Vietnam would qualify you and your mates for the full array of benefits.
    Moving forward to the general case, if someone is so unfortunate as to be disengaged from civil society by combat zone experiences, that person should receive whatever services are needed to reengage with society. This is a rather pretentious way of saying that there should be objectives for veterans benefits instead of open ended subsidies to vets.
    My mother asked me yesterday how we should deal with a nephew of mine, one of her grandsons, who served in the tenth division and was having a terrible re-entry into civilan life.

    This is a very complicated thing. We do not know what his mind is like. My Mom survived aerial bombardments of her home and neighbourhood during the Second World War, and so has a very personal and intimate knowledge of the fear and sense of hopelessness that stems from combat operations.

    Her thinking is that time is the great healer. In my nephew’s case, he has found suitable employment and seems to be working through his difficulties. He published a novel, and is working in the oilfields to support himself and his family. Generally, I would plug his book at this point, but he published it under a pseudonym to maintain his anonymity and I would betray his confidentiality if I mentioned the title in this public forum.

    Other people need more help than he, but, in my opinion, we should keep in mind that VA benefits should be designed to help vets reintegrate and gain self sufficiency.

    I have always been on the receiving end of the recruiters’ blandishments. In the similar situation, my eldest wanted to join the Navy. Around Thanksgiving of his high school senior year, we went down to the recruiting station. This was in 1995, so the recruiters were all together in a store front in a mall.

    The army was the only one available when we got there and he and my son hit it off. When we left my son was about ready to sign on as a Ranger. I was a bit chagrinned as I had had a combat arms MOS and was a bit concerned for him. A few days later we heard a radio report about a US Ranger sergeant stepping on a land mine in Bosnia and losing his foot. My son changed his mind joined the Navy and served honorably as a bosun’s mate aboard the USS Boone. Ironically, the Boone went into the Adriatic during the Bosnian and my son was awarded decorations for serving in the conflict he had joined the Navy to avoid.
    I will check out your web-site. I realize that this is bit personal for such a public forum, but I hope it will be instructive to whomever reads it. Who knows perhaps our ramblings, Bob will help someone understand some of the deeper thoughts behind peoples’ decision making on public policy,

  • Capt Bob

    HI again Rob,

    I am not going to answer you comments now, but I willl soon. I just wanted you to know I was stationed in New York State 3 times. Once in Saratoga Springs on a Radar Base, In Albany as a AF Recruiter, and in the Bronx as a AF Recruiter. I got the Bronx assignment in lue of Vietnam. I am not sure which place I was safer. By the way I am 77 yerars old. Regards Bob If you would like to take this on to the regular email my address is:

  • leftdailey

    I am very interested in the dispensation of Vet health services, and would be grateful to know your sources for your statements that Vets “have been mustered out of the military…on trumped up charges.” It’s something I haven’t heard about. Thank you so much.

  • Yonatan YONATAN


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