Political Insider

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Michelle Nunn pokes fun at campaign memo leak


Macon - Democrat Michelle Nunn poked a little fun at her campaign - and previewed a new line of attack against her Republican opponent - in her first extensive interview since the release of a 144-page series of memos  outlining her electoral strategy.

"I always thought I wanted to run an open and transparent campaign but this has gone beyond what I anticipated or intended," she said during a stop in Macon.

The memo lays out Nunn's campaign strategy in stark terms, including detailed fundraising plans, an in-depth public relations strategy and pushback to planned GOP attacks on some of her vulnerabilities. It even includes a plan to have a rally with gun rights groups as November nears.

Republicans have used the documents to try to paint her as a consultant-driven robot, and GOP nominee David Perdue told the AJC he was "fairly shocked" by his rival's political approach. She said the Republican scrutiny is an effort to "mischaracterize" her record.

She compared the memos to counsel she receives from supporters and strategists - rather than a campaign blueprint. She wouldn't say specifically what advice she's taken and what she abandoned, but said there was nothing in the memo she wanted to clarify.

Said Nunn:

"First of all, the set of memos were a set of advice that I was getting from a variety of folks. I'm getting advice every day from everybody parents to friends to my children. The nature of campaigns is ever evolving, but what's remained constant is we're focused on talking about a collaborative approach and the importance of bipartisanship and problem-solving. And changing the culture in Washington. That's what we talked about from the beginning."

The Democrat pivoted to a new line of attack against Perdue, a former Fortune 500 executive. Nunn, a nonprofit executive who earlier seemed reluctant to speak ill of her GOP foe, sought to draw a sharper distinction between the two at the Macon stop.

"If you look at our experiences , our aspirations, the issues that we've embraced, you'll see a real contrast. I have a record of focusing on trying to make a difference in peoples' lives and actually solving problems and working across the aisle and embracing the fact that people on both sides of the party divide have good ideas if we work together. And you won't hear any of that from David Perdue."

She then took a shot at Perdue's boardroom background, including a reference to his tenure at Pillowtex the failed North Carolina textile company that shuttered shortly after he left, leaving thousands out of work. (He has said he only realized the firm's dire straits after he took control.)

"It's somewhat ironic to me that David Perdue's allies are running ads against me when in fact David Perdue has made 20 times my salary at the same time he has been outsourcing jobs, laying off workers and running up debt on his companies. Whereas I have a record of creating and growing an organization, making hard choices but making that organization stronger and more effective by every measure. I'm happy to make that contrast."


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.