Senate races

Rand Paul hits Georgia trail to lift Perdue

Cameron Joseph

MCDONOUGH, Ga. — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and businessman David Perdue (R) kept their focus on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a campaign rally Friday afternoon, tying them to former charity executive Michelle Nunn (D) as they sought to undercut her momentum.

{mosads}Paul is one of a bevy of big-name Republicans who are dropping in to help Perdue in Georgia’s suddenly close Senate race. He emphasized that Senate control was at stake and went after the president, never mentioning Nunn in his short speech.

“If you’ve got 49 Republicans you get zero percent of the agenda. If you get to 51 Republicans you get 100 percent of the agenda,” Paul said after slamming Reid and Obama on taxes and regulation. “It’s going to be close. We can win. I think David offers a vision for the country, good commonsense business acumen that we need.”

Perdue has had a rough stretch on the campaign trail, dogged by questions about his business career and hampered by revelations that in 2005 he said he spent “most of my life” focused on outsourcing. Four of the last five public polls have found Nunn creeping into a narrow lead, and Democrats are sure they have the momentum in the race.

Even campaign logistics didn’t go right for Perdue on Friday. Paul square-danced around the stage set up in McDonough, trying to get the microphone and speakers to stop feeding back as audience members shouted technical suggestions. He eventually dropped the microphone in frustration.

“Somebody has rigged the system against us,” he said after campaign staff scrambled to fix the problem, before restarting his speech.

Perdue blasted Nunn as an Obama lackey in his speech, attacking the president more than his opponent.

“I’m going up there to fight for you to bring jobs back to Georgia. I want to fight for you, I do not want to be Barack Obama’s senator like Michelle Nunn,” Perdue said. He then jumped on comments Obama made this week aimed at rallying black voters to turn out for Nunn.

“This president has said that his policies are on the ballot. He even said this week that he needs Michelle Nunn elected so he can continue these policies that represent his failed agenda,” he concluded. “With your help, we will not let Harry Reid have one more vote in the United States Senate.”

Perdue pushed back when asked about Nunn’s attacks on his career, saying they’d already been litigated in his primary.

“All these false attacks we’ve been facing in the primary and the runoff, and they really haven’t stuck, they really serve as a distraction away from the real issue. And the real issue is people are hurting in the state of Georgia,” he said. “In my career I’ve created and saved tens of thousands of jobs. I’ve lived in the global free enterprise system and know the problems we have in this country of competing abroad. I want to take that experience to the Senate and actively participate in the debate of how to create jobs in America.”

Perdue’s allies admit he’s in a dogfight.

“It’s a close race,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) told The Hill afterward. “It’s anybody’s ballgame.

“I’m concerned with the ads that are out there right now,” Vicki Temple, Perdue’s Henry County co-chairwoman, told The Hill about attack ads against Perdue. “They are working, I do think they’re working, and we have to respond and we have to respond with truth and defend ourselves, and that’s hard to do.”

Temple, who introduced Perdue at the event, said she was frustrated with the direction in which the campaign has moved, calling the attacks unfair.

“They want to talk about outsourcing but they don’t talk about outsourcing that happens to keep these companies alive because if you don’t outsource these companies are going to close and everybody loses,” she said.

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