Pros and Cons: Sam Nunn as Obama’s Running Mate

ImageFormer U.S. Senator Sam Nunn might be an unfamiliar name to many of the younger supporters of Barack Obama, but for long time Democrats, Nunn is not only a well known name and face, but also might provide the perfect counterbalance to Barack Obama’s youth and inexperience on foreign policy and military issues.

Resume:From 1972-1996, Sam Nunn served as a United States from the state of Georgia. It was there that he built his reputation as one of the finest minds in either party on defense and foreign policy issues. Nunn served as chairman on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, and it was from this post that he was responsible for the Defense Department Reorganization Act, and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and other former Soviet Republics with destroying their excess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

After retiring from the Senate, Nunn spent his time working against the threat of WMDs. He is currently the co-chair and CEO of the charitable organization Nuclear Threat Initiative which works to reduce global threats from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Nunn also sits on the boards of Chevron, Coca-Cola, GE, and Dell.

Pros to picking Nunn: If Obama is looking to add a veteran foreign policy expert who has bipartisan respect, then Nunn would be the perfect running mate. He would also put Georgia and possibly many other Southern states in play. Nunn would be the perfect running mate to go toe to toe with McCain on national security issues. Having the soon to be 70 year old on the ticket might also help to reassure older voters who are uncertain about Obama because of his relative youth. Nunn has already stated that if asked, he would be on the ticket.

Cons to picking Nunn: In terms of domestic policy, Nunn is a conservative Democrat. He is a strong opponent of gays in the military, and fought President Clinton on don’t ask don’t tell. He voted in favor school prayer and capping punitive damages on lawsuits. On other issues, he was more moderate, but he has some positions that are very different from Obama’s. Nunn has not been a candidate in an election for 12 years, so it remains to be seen just how influential he would be as a running mate. Nunn’s name isn’t a household word, and he may not help Obama in parts of the country where he too is a bit of an unknown.

Odds of Obama picking Sam Nunn: I would suspect that Nunn will get serious consideration if Obama believes that he needs to balance out his ticket with an older more conservative Democrat who is strong on defense and foreign policy. If we get into the summer and McCain is having success hammering Obama on foreign policy and national security issues, then I think that Nunn may get the nod. If he isn’t picked as a running mate, and Obama wins the election, don’t be surprised if Nunn ends up in Obama’s cabinet. He is perhaps the brightest foreign policy mind in the Democratic Party, and I don’t think that Obama will leave him sitting on the sidelines.

The Choice-O-Meter says:

OOOOOO (6 Os for Sam Nunn)

1 O =No Chance – 10 Os = A Sure Thing

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