The Best President the Nation Never Had: A Memoir of Working with Sam Nunn

The Best President the Nation Never Had: A Memoir of Working with Sam Nunn

by Roland McElroy


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The Best President the Nation Never Had: A Memoir of Working with Sam Nunn by Roland McElroy

When Georgia's US Senator Richard B. Russell died January 21, 1971, the scramble began immediately to find a worthy successor. A number of political luminaries thought themselves imminently qualified, among them three former governors, a former congressman, and the state's current treasurer. All would be competing against the appointed senator, David Gambrell in the Democratic primary. The winner would face US Representative Fletcher Thompson in the general election. Thompson promised to tie any Democrat to one of the most unpopular political figures in America, George McGovern. The 1972 race definitely was not for the timid or faint hearted. Outside of Houston County, few people knew Sam Nunn's name. His closest friends thought he was crazy to consider mounting a candidacy for the US Senate, and told him so. His revered grand-uncle Carl Vinson, who served fifty years in Congress, was among them. Nunn, after all, was only in his second two-year term as a state representative and had just turned thirty-three years of age. On the day Nunn announced his intention to enter the Senate race, McElroy sat down with him to discuss next steps. Nunn pulled out a small gray file box, and shook it. "These are the people I know in the state of Georgia—all of them." The primary was nineteen weeks away. This book chronicles the journey McElroy took with Sam Nunn as he presented a message of common sense conservatism to the voters of Georgia in 1972. Nunn's principled approach to making government work through cooperation and compromise, and his demonstrated mastery of complex issues, placed him among a rare few considered every four years for the highest office in the land.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881466287
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Publication date: 10/02/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 575,028
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Roland McElroy was a key participant in Georgia State Representative Sam Nunn's first election to the US Senate (1972). Their working relationship continued in Washington DC where McElroy served as press secretary, and later, chief of staff during his fifteen years with Nunn. McElroy holds degrees in Economics and Journalism from the University of Georgia. He resides in Falls Church, Virginia.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Foreword Sam Nunn xi

Prologue 1

1 That Was Then 4

2 The Word Never Spoken 15

3 Definitely Interested 19

4 Christmas Eve without Santa 34

5 And So It Began 38

6 St. Patrick's Day in the Waffle House 56

7 All the Difference 78

8 On Capitol Hill 110

9 Ramrod Straight 137

10 "You think this job is funny?" 147

11 1978 Reelection Preparation 152

12 Avoid Alcohol, Sex and Personal Attacks 158

13 Consistent, Cautious, Exhaustive 167

14 A Legacy of Landmark Accomplishments 179

15 That Vision Thing 186

16 Running for President? 194

17 A Confiscated Label 205

Epilogue 217

Appendix: Bipartisan Victories 221

1972 Election Results 224

1972 Campaign Staff 226

Bibliography 231

About the Author 235

Acknowledgments 237

Index 239

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