Nunn Campaign Sees News Media as the Enemy, Memo Reveals
With additional reporting and analysis by Matthew Charles Cardinale, News Editor
(APN) ATLANTA — A confidential internal memo to the Michelle Nunn for U.S. Senate campaign, leaked to the National Review, has revealed some of the Nunn campaign’s research into Nunn’s own weaknesses, as well as how the Nunn campaign viewed the media.
Nunn is the only Democratic Primary candidate that did not complete an interview with APN earlier this year.
A new reporter at APN had made a mistake of sending interview questions, in advance of any interview, to the Nunn campaign, because the campaign had asked for them. We knew this mistake of sending the questions would reduce the chances of interviewing Michelle Nunn from one percent to zero percent.
After all, APN’s questions for Nunn were issue-driven and policy-driven, and the last thing Nunn would want to do is to take positions unless they were right-wing ones [for example, on same-sex marriage, the proposed Keystone Pipeline, the Voting Rights Act, the once-proposed U.S. Invasion of Syria, or the proposed nuclear fuel reprocessing plant]. Nunn also dodged debates during the Democratic Primary.
There is a general sense, just from observing Georgia politics, that certain top-heavy, heavily managed, consultant-driven campaigns tend to use a strategy of vagueness to get elected. However, to see it in memo form is validating.
“The communications department’s first and foremost responsibility is to ensure that the candidate and all parts of the campaign adhere to the message that the senior team has agreed upon,” the Nunn campaign wrote.
“In the zero sum game of elections, resources that a campaign spends advancing a message different from the one that will persuade the most voters is time and resources wasted,” they wrote.
“The political press is not inclined to cover a candidate repeating their message. In fact, many reporters see their job as getting the candidate to ‘reveal’ what their ‘true’ inclinations and orientation may lay or to cause a gaffe. Any deviation from that message will be news worthy to them. They also understand that effective candidates and campaigns stick to their message, and will see a deviation in message as an erred campaign or candidate,” the campaign wrote.
Therefore, to the Nunn campaign, the news media are the enemy because reporters want the candidate to deviate from message and reveal their true inclinations!
The bottom line is: The Nunn campaign espouses an anti-democratic view, presupposing that an educated electorate is undesirable, that the voters can’t be empowered to decide what is best for them.
“The candidate’s biggest tool in staying on message is the Q&A document. The document contains the rhetorical tools the candidate needs to navigate every politically tricky question back to message,” the campaign wrote.
“1) Managing press requests… The communications department is charged with managing all requests of the campaign from the media. Every request should be considered on its merits and how it will help or hurt the campaign disseminate its message,” the campaign wrote.
What we don’t hear is anything from Nunn, about, well, anything. This is not an accident. A candidate, riding her father’s political coattails, with no experience, is better to be vague.
“Michelle Nunn wants to stay like Plato, ‘Whatever you want to believe about me is fine.’ She can’t be conservative or progressive. Her primary goal right now is raising money against her Republican opponent, which won’t be easy,” Robert Patillo, a radio commentator and former candidate for State House, told Atlanta Progressive News.
POINTS OF LIGHT MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIAL GRANTS
Ms. Nunn has served as the CEO for the Points of Light Foundation (POL) out of Atlanta since 2007. The Foundation, which has merged and re-merged with volunteer service-based organizations since the early 1990’s, was launched after President George H. W. Bush coined his “thousand points of light” speech. In this speech, Bush called for his fellow U.S. citizens to engage in more volunteering at the local level.
Former President G.H.W. Bush is the Honorary Chair, while his brother Neil–the one who was involved in the Savings and Loan scandal in Colorado so many years ago–is the acting Chair.
“Points of Light’s Programs division is dedicated to building and scaling training, education and signature programs to address critical needs and provide meaningful tools and resources to build stronger communities. Programs focus on the environment, education, economy, emergency preparedness and veterans and military families,” the POL website states.
What the “about us” tab does not discuss is how, through grants and awards, the Points of Light Foundation has funded organizations linked to terrorism and has supported felonious behaviors of former death-row inmates.
Points of Light gave a grant of over 33,000 dollars to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that says it strives to alleviate “hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide,” the National Review first reported, following up on issues identified in the memo..
However, Islamic Relief Worldwide allegedly has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June 2014, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas.
“In 2006, Israelis arrested Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. They said he was working to ‘transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.’ Ali admitted to cooperating with local Hamas operatives while working in Jordan and, on his computer, Israeli officials found photographs of ‘swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols,’ and of Nazi officials, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” the National Review reported.
The memo identified another possible issue involving POL:
POL “heaped praise on a former death-row inmate even after his continued run-ins with the law. Shareef Cousin is one of the contributors to Nunn’s 2007 book, Be the Change, a collection of quotations and reflections from people who, according to Nunn, have embraced their ‘capacity to make a difference,’” the National Review reported.
In 2008, while he was still on parole, Cousin pleaded guilty to using his boss’s Social Security number to obtain credit cards and then, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, using the cards for a “$42,000 spending spree on audio equipment and a paint job for his car.”
In August 2010, the HandsOn Network recognized Cousin as a “voice of change,” according to the National Review.
Moreover, accounting issues have plagued POL, raising questions about Nunn’s leadership.
The Corporation for National and Community Service rendered in their 2010 audit, that “POL’s accounting system is not adequate to account for Federal funds.”
In addition, the audit found:
· -Affiliate monitoring visits were not performed in accordance with POL policies;
· -Indirect rates were not approved;
· -Costs claimed were not included in original or amended grant budgets, incurred prior to
the grant period, unallowable, unsupported, or paid in violation of POL policies;
· -Late submission of Financial Status Reports (FSRs), member enrollment forms, and exit forms;
· -Missing mid-term and end-of-term member evaluation forms;
· -Members’ contracts signed after beginning of service and timesheets not signed; and
· -Inadequate evidence of members’ citizenship/legal residency.
Here are the Nunn’s campaign top concerns about themselves, according to the memo:
“Points of Light
· Grants to problematic entities
· Liens (POL)
· POL audit/IG report
· Travel packages investigation service awards to inmates, terrorists
· Nunn’s salary
· Nunn is too liberal
· Nunn is a rubber stamp for Democrats
· Nunn is Obama’s/Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi Best Friend
· Nunn is not a ‘real’ Georgian
· Nunn is a lightweight
· Conservation easements
· Serve America Act
· Gay Marriage
· Cut Medicare/Social Security
“What we learned….from Michelle Nunn’s campaign playbook should come as no surprise to Georgia voters,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett said in a press release. “Michelle Nunn is willing to say and do anything to get elected.”
“From rehearsed rhetoric to staged photo ops, high dollar out-of-state fundraisers to contrived political stunts for media attention, Michelle Nunn has every intention to hide her deep-seeded liberal agenda, cover up her questionable tenure at Points of Light, and disguise her affiliations and allegiances all in the name of political expediency,” Padgett said.
“It’s sad that someone would be so desperate for a title. Public service is a noble calling for those who are genuinely interested in representing the beliefs of those they serve,” Padgett said.
“Clearly, Michelle Nunn is more concerned with tricking voters than serving them. She cares more about winning at all costs than representing our Georgia values in Washington,” he said.