Ga. Democrat's campaign worries exposed

A leaked internal memo from Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn's Senate campaign highlights concerns her campaign has about potential pitfalls and criticism she could face.

The 144-page December memo, first obtained by National Review, outlines how Nunn can win against her GOP foes, long before businessman David Perdue (R) won the primary runoff last week.

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The remarkably frank document warns that Nunn could be painted as not a "real Georgian" because she grew up mostly in Washington, D.C.'s suburbs while her father served in the Senate, and it notes the Atlanta-based candidate could struggle in rural parts of the state.

It also lays out potential problems stemming from the Points of Light Foundation, the charity Nunn ran at the time, including potential attacks the group gave donations to "terrorists" and that she defended "inmates."

The organization, acting as an independent contractor for eBay, ran a service validating thousands of charities that could receive donations from eBay users. Through that service, more than $30,000 was donated to Islamic Relief USA, a group that operates independently from but has links to an international group accused of having ties to terrorist organizations including Hamas.

The memo also highlights the importance of securing Jewish donors and driving up turnout among African-American and Hispanic voters, and highlights the importance sticking to talking points in blunt language that illustrates why Nunn has been such a careful candidate in interviews.

“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 memo says.

Nunn's campaign said the leaked pages were simply "a draft of a document that was written eight months ago." 

"Like all good plans, they change. But what hasn’t changed and is all the more clear today is that Michelle’s opponents are going to mischaracterize her work and her positions, and part of what we’ve always done is to prepare for the false things that are going to be said," Nunn campaign manager Jeff DeSantis said in a statement. "Michelle has always sought to run a campaign that brings people together and gets Washington focused on the real challenges the country faces.  And that’s the kind of Senator she’ll be."

Nunn's campaign refused to say what's changed in campaign strategy since the memo was drafted, but much of the campaign’s public events have followed the initial plan.

The memo also details Nunn’s fundraising goals — including a stretch goal of $15 million overall, and $9.5 million by the end of June. Nunn’s fundraising has lagged slightly behind that pace, bringing in $9.2 million so far this campaign, though that’s a higher total than many other Senate candidates.

Republicans called such a campaign leak unprecedented. 

"Never before has a Senate campaign openly admitted that its number one objective is to deceive voters and hide a candidate's true beliefs from public view," National Republican Senatorial Committee political director Ward Baker said in a statement. "The hundred plus pages of Michelle Nunn's campaign plan reveals a deliberate effort to manipulate Georgia voters and hide the fact that Nunn's campaign is a proxy for the agenda of Barack Obama and Harry Reid. The entire Nunn plan is dirty, offensive, and emblematic of why voters are so disenchanted with politics."

This post was updated at 4:58 p.m. 

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