Ga. Dem Senate Candidate Nunn Won't Tell NBC — or AP — How She Would Have Voted on Obamacare

May 19th, 2014 9:06 PM

In a Monday evening report at the Associated Press, reporters Bill Barrow and Christina A. Cassidy did their best to try to minimize the impact of a politically disastrous dodge on the part of Georgia Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn.

In a weekend interview with NBC, Nunn refused to say whether she would have voted for or against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, saying that "it’s impossible to look back retrospectively and say what would you have done if you were there." (And besides, she was working for a not-for-profit foundation at the time, so how could she know?) Additionally, Nunn got so rattled that she invented a new use for the word "architect" — as a verb: "I wished that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation." Clearly, the AP's Barrow and Cassidy were hoping for a real answer from Nunn. But they didn't get one. Not even close (bolds and numbered tags are mine):



Democratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn in Georgia declined to answer questions Monday about whether she would have voted for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, [1] as candidates in six states went through the final paces of bruising primary campaigns for congressional and statewide offices.

Seven Georgia Republicans — all of whom have called for repeal of the law Republicans deride as "Obamacare" — are in their own scramble ahead of a Tuesday primary vote that is expected to whittle the field to two runoff candidates.

... In GOP-leaning Georgia, Nunn's smooth glide to the Democratic nomination bumped up against her awkward refusal [2] in a weekend interview with NBC News to say whether she would have voted for the Affordable Care Act. When asked if she planned to answer the question and why she refused to do so, Nunn said in an interview with The Associated Press that she plans on "continuing to answer the question by talking about where we need to go in the future and how we need to move forward." [3]

Nunn has previously said she believes states, including Georgia, should agree to expand Medicaid insurance eligibility as part of the law. Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who also faces a primary Tuesday, has refused.

Nunn's rhetorical dancing on the issue underscores her challenge as she tries to pull an upset in a state Obama lost twice, [4] even if by single-digit margins.

... "I believe that people in Georgia want somebody who will be an independent voice for Georgia, who is going to take account of the facts and listen to the people of Georgia and try and get things done that matter to them, and reach across the aisle and be willing to actually work in a bipartisan fashion," Nunn said.


[1] — In other words, the AP gave Nunn a second chance, something you'd never see them give a Republican or conservative, and she still wouldn't commit.

[2] — "Awkward"? How about "insulting"? The default assumption has to be that she doesn't want to say she that as a Democrat she of course would have supported Obamacare, because by doing so she would turn the vast majority state's voters irretrievably against her. Her only hope is that the establishment press will in lockstep give her a pass from here on out. Luckily, this is Georgia, so that seems at least somewhat unlikely.

[3] — She's going to continue to answer the question by not answering the question.

[4] — This isn't "rhetorical dancing." It's a flat-out refusal to answer a question even the hacks at NBC this weekend understood was fundamentally important.

If a Republican or conservative candidate refused to take a stand on an analogous obvious issue, AP and others would already be asking House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other key Republicans what they make of such a lack of commitment. Of course Barrow and Cassidy did no such thing with any other Democrats.

Surely there is disappointment in AP-land that they couldn't set this matter straight.

Cross-posted at