Posted: 9:15 am Friday, April 11th, 2014
By Jim Galloway, Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein
Nine seconds into the first TV spot of her campaign for U.S. Senate, Michelle Nunn flashes a photo of herself with the 41st president, George H.W. Bush. Says Nunn:
“While leading President Bush’s Points of Light Foundation, we grew it into the largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.”
The Atlanta-based, non-partisan volunteer group, from which she is on leave, is a cornerstone of Nunn’s get-it-done biography. Likewise, in the TV ad, the elder Bush makes an important image for a candidate in search of more conservative voters – he is the only political figure in a 30-second presentation that never mentions Nunn’s Democratic affiliation.
Late Thursday, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath sent out the following Tweet:
In a follow-up email exchange, McGrath said he didn’t believe the 89-year-old former president was given advance notice of his appearance in the Nunn ad. Said McGrath:
“We certainly did not give approval for that, and in fact the president was disappointed to see that his image had been included in the political ad as it was.
“As much as he personally likes Michelle and appreciates the job she did at Points of Light, he’s even stronger in his belief that the Republicans need to retake the Senate.
“And as such, he looks forward to welcoming Michelle back to the Points of Light following her defeat in the November general election.”
Nunn’s TV spot doesn’t claim the elder Bush’s endorsement, and the candidate has said that she doesn’t expect it. Here’s the response we received from Gordon Giffin, Nunn’s campaign chairman:
“Michelle has enormous personal respect and affection for President Bush and is honored to have led his Points of Light Foundation for seven years.
“She believes the experience of running the organization is a model Washington can learn from that shows what can be accomplished when partisan differences are put aside and people focus on common ground.
“Michelle’s experience working with individuals to improve their own lives and their communities is a fundamental part of who she is and the kind of Senator she will be.”
One thing worth noting: While objecting to his inclusion in the TV spot, Bush 41 isn’t requesting that the image be removed.
Add another item to the list of failed legislative efforts that Gov. Nathan Deal is seeking to accomplish through an executive workaround: A push to require insurance coverage for children with autism.
A bill to require just that failed amid infighting between the House and Senate in the final hours of the legislative session. Fresh off taking administrative action to jumpstart the legalization of medical marijuana and privatizing the foster care system, Deal said Thursday that tackling the autism issue is up next.
“We have explored the autism issue. I don’t think we are quite ready to make our announcement of our analysis there. That will probably be forthcoming very soon.”
We’re told that Deal’s staff has explored about a dozen different options to try to bolster insurance coverage of children under 6 with autism without legislation. That’s because the measure, Senate Bill 397, was approved overwhelmingly in the Senate but failed amid heavy opposition from several powerful House lawmakers who saw it as an unfunded mandate.
Deal has already backed requiring the state insurance plan to cover the treatment of autism, but this would be dicier territory. Unlike the medical marijuana and foster care proposals, which both passed overwhelmingly in the Legislature, the autism insurance push met stiff resistance.
Plus, there’s the argument from Deal’s critics that he’s overstepping his authority with all this executive action. Senate Minority Whip Vincent Fort, one of Deal’s most outspoken critics, deemed it “ironic” that Deal was taking the type of administrative steps that Republicans bash President Barack Obama for embracing.
Republican Senate candidate Karen Handel is again seeking to capitalize on Sarah Palin’s endorsement.
Handel raised more than $200,000 since the former Veep contender’s endorsement last month and her visit in the wake of David Perdue’s “high school” comments. Now she’s releasing a TV ad with Palin that will air statewide starting next week. But Handel is asking supporters to fund it first.
In all, her campaign said it raised $300,000 the first three months of the year and has $385,000 cash on hand.
Some would argue politics is an oily business, but our colleague James Salzer got word today that South Georgia Sen. Tommie Williams’ olive oil won a Gold Award in the New York International Olive Oil Competition.
Williams’ Terra Dolce Farms medium arbequina was included on the organization’s annual list of the world’s best olive oils, along with entrants from Spain, Italy, Greece, Uruguay. Mexico, Australia and, of course, the US.
Williams, R-Lyons, former president pro-tempore of the Senate, harvested his first crop of olives last year. He isn’t the only state lawmaker in the business. Rep. Jason Shaw, R-Lakeland, is partner in Georgia Olive Farms and produced the state’s first certified extra-virgin olive oil a few years back.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, continues to build his U.S. Senate campaign’s email list with gun raffles. The latest winner was identified only as “Rick S. from Park, Colorado.” But wait, there’s more. From the press release:
“Today, the campaign is excited to announce the launch of a NEW gun give-away for one of the hardest rifles to find – the Daniel Defense rifle.”
Specs on the Georgia-made weapon includes a 30-round magazine.
If last week’s display in a Fulton County courthouse, on behalf of former APS head Beverly Hall, didn’t convince you that 82-year-old former mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young isn’t done yet, consider this from the Washington Post:
As Republicans push for new voting restrictions around the country, a handful of Democrats have coalesced around an impromptu idea: placing a photo on Social Security cards.
Former U.N. ambassador and civil rights activist Andrew Young — who chairs a nonpartisan voting rights group called Why Tuesday? — buttonholed President Obama and two of his predecessors in Texas this week in an effort to win their support for the concept. Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter endorsed the idea, while the White House declined to comment.
“It’s just an idea whose time may have come,” said Young, a former Atlanta mayor who was in Austin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library. “What we’re saying is, everybody’s got a Social Security card. But with all of this identity theft going on, it’s a good idea to have your picture on it.”
About the Authors
Jim Galloway has spent 35 years covering politics and other shenanigans for The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Daniel Malloy is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington Correspondent, covering the Georgia Congressional delegation and other D.C. goings-on that affect the state since 2011. He's a zealous fan and proud graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.