Current and former White House occupants are flocking to Georgia’s U.S. Senate race.
First lady Michelle Obama will spend Monday in Atlanta boosting the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn and promoting an Obama education initiative.
The following Saturday, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to raise money for Nunn at R&B hit-maker Usher’s Atlanta home.
The Democratic star power arrives as the party seeks to flip the Republican seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, which could keep Democrats in the majority. Nunn, a nonprofit executive, is running against Republican businessman David Perdue in a battle of political neophytes.
Obama’s visit, announced by the White House on Wednesday, will include a midafternoon fundraiser for the Nunn campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Then she will speak at a public “Voter Registration Rally.”
There is no word yet on where exactly in Atlanta those events will be or what streets will be closed for Obama’s motorcade.
Republicans mention President Barack Obama alongside Nunn every chance they get, but his wife is less of a lightning rod. The same goes for Clinton, who is traveling in support of Democrats this year in the South, where the current president is less popular.
In a prepared statement on Michelle Obama’s visit, Nunn was careful to emphasize her bipartisan credentials with a past Republican president.
“As CEO of President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation, I saw firsthand how the First Lady has been a leader in increasing civic participation and fostering support for volunteerism,” Nunn said.
“I am excited to have her join us in Georgia next week as we work to get more people engaged in our democracy.”
The week will be a boost to Nunn’s already robust campaign coffers.
Since entering the race last year, she has deployed the networks of her father, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn; capitalized on her own national stature at Points of Light; and energized Democrats across the country excited at the prospect of turning a red state. Nunn had raised $9.3 million through June — far more than Perdue — but has spent more than $2 million on TV ads since late July to try to keep pace with an onslaught from outside GOP groups.
The Perdue campaign used the visit as a chance to once again tie Nunn to national Democrats.
“The Obamas know that in order to enact their liberal agenda they need Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Senate,” Perdue spokeswoman Megan Whittemore wrote in an email.
“So it’s not surprising the White House is sending in the First Lady, Washington A-listers and celebrities to help her campaign. While Michelle Nunn is trying to distance herself from President Obama and Washington Democrats publicly, she has no problem raising money from them directly on the taxpayers’ dime in order to deceive Georgians about her true allegiance to President Obama and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid.”
As is typical on such visits, the Nunn campaign will reimburse the White House for expenses related to the portion of the first lady’s time spent at campaign events, a Nunn spokesman said. But Michelle Obama’s visit is not completely devoted to politicking.
It begins with an event with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at Booker T. Washington High School — the first public school for African-Americans in Georgia and where Martin Luther King Jr. was a student. Obama will tour a college fair and then give a speech in the school gymnasium that promotes her “Reach Higher” initiative, pushing students to complete post-secondary education.
Obama launched the initiative this year, aiming to meet with students across the country.
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