Political Insider: Nunn goes Pillowtex on Perdue

Two days before their first joint U.S. Senate appearance — none dare call it a debate — Democrat Michelle Nunn has raised the topic of Republican David Perdue’s tenure at Pillowtex.

The Nunn campaign has filled a one-minute TV spot with named former mill workers from Kannapolis, N.C., telling the story of David Perdue's brief stint at the textile firm, which went bankrupt shortly after he left.

This Politifact examination from July, when U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston attacked Perdue on the topic, offers some excellent background on Pillowtex's fortunes. Politifact rated the Kingston attack "mostly false" but the Nunn ad doesn't reach as far in its claims.

The Nunn ad has much in common with the Priorities USA ads that hit Mitt Romney in 2012. From the Nunn transcript:

Delores Gambrell: He walked away, with his $1.7 million and didn't care about if we had a dollar in our pockets.

Brenda Miller: When Pillowtex closed down, it was pretty much devastating. I don't think David Perdue understands what happens to the people. They were running as fast as they could with as much money as they could get out of the company and just pretty much left us there hanging.

Delores Gambrell: David Perdue looks out for himself.

Cynthia Hanes: All we were was people to make money off our backs.

Phyllis Grimes: He left all of us sitting there holding the bag with nothing in it.

Note that the punch lines are delivered by women.

The two candidate’s Thursday forum in Macon, hosted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, will be a heavily watched event – though the format has been designed to take off the confrontational edges. Chamber spokeswoman Joselyn Baker reports high interest among national media and says the 1,100 event has been sold out.

The moderator will be John Pruitt, the former Channel 2 Action News anchor. Candidates will be asked to speak on four general topics: Transportation, defense spending and the protection of Georgia military bases, health care and immigration.

It’s tempting to think that the new Nunn ad is evidence that she’ll hammer Perdue on his corporate dealings in Macon. On the other hand, this will be a business-oriented audience likely to harbor sympathies for CEOs, both current and former.