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Sam Nunn

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Sam Nunn

Sam Nunn
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
November 8, 1972 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by David H. Gambrell
Succeeded by Max Cleland
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Barry Goldwater
Succeeded by Strom Thurmond
Personal details
Born Samuel Augustus Nunn, Jr.
(1938-09-08) September 8, 1938
Macon, Georgia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Colleen O'Brien Nunn
Children Michelle Nunn
Brian Nunn
Alma mater Emory University
Religion United Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1959-1968

Samuel Augustus "Sam" Nunn, Jr. (born September 8, 1938) is an Democratic Party. His political experience and credentials on national defense reportedly put him into consideration as a potential running mate for Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry (2004) and Barack Obama (2008).[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Political career 2
  • Post-Congressional life 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Speculation of 2008 presidential or vice-presidential candidacy 5
  • Awards and honors 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Nunn was born in Perry, and he grew up with family connection to politics; he was a grandnephew of Congressman Carl Vinson.

Nunn is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.[4][5] In high school, Nunn was a standout athlete, captaining the school's basketball team to a state championship.[6]

Nunn attended

United States Senate
Preceded by
David H. Gambrell
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
Served alongside: Herman E. Talmadge, Mack F. Mattingly,
Wyche Fowler, Jr., Paul Coverdell
Succeeded by
Max Cleland
Political offices
Preceded by
Barry Goldwater
Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee
Succeeded by
Strom Thurmond
South Carolina
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard Russell, Jr.
United States Senator from Georgia (Class 2)
1972, 1978, 1984, 1990
Succeeded by
Max Cleland
Preceded by
Chuck Robb
Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council
1988 – 1990
Succeeded by
Bill Clinton

External links

  1. ^ Harris, John F. (2008-08-19) "Nader predicts Obama to pick Clinton",
  2. ^ "OBITUARIES [NATIONAL] Series: OBITUARIES". St. Petersburg Times. August 12, 2000. 
  3. ^ "Mary Elizabeth Cannon Nunn (1903 - 2000) - Find A Grave Memorial". 
  4. ^ a b Townley, Alvin (2006-12-26). Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 121–122.  
  5. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  6. ^ New York Times, 1/4/87
  7. ^ a b c d "A Conversation With Sam Nunn". Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine Online (Georgia Tech Alumni Association). Spring 1990. Archived from the original on October 28, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-06. 
  8. ^ Nunn Admits Being Drunk In '64 Crash, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Retrieved July 22, 2008
  9. ^ Sack, Kevin (10 October 1995). "Nunn, Model Southern Democrat, To Retire From Senate Next Year".  
  10. ^ Encyclopedia of World Biography on Sam Nunn, Retrieved on 2007-10-25
  11. ^ "A Retreat on Gay Soldiers".  
  12. ^ Kasindorf, Martin (1993-03-30). "'"A Plan for Military Gays; Nunn would keep them 'in the closet.  
  13. ^ Says Nunn: It might be time to take another look at 'don't ask, don't tell' | Political Insider |
  14. ^ Immigration profile of:Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Georgia), Retrieved on 2007-10-25
  15. ^ Government & Politics:Sam Nunn, The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2007-10-25
  16. ^ "President Carter Leads Delegation to Negotiate Peace With Haiti". 
  17. ^ October 3, 1996
  18. ^ Georgia Institute of Technology :: Ivan Allen College :: The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs :: The Sam Nunn Bank of America Policy Forum
  19. ^ "Cohen-Nunn Dialogues". 
  20. ^ New York Times
  21. ^ Maclin, Beth (2008-10-20) "A Nuclear weapon-free world is possible, Nunn says", Belfer Center, Harvard University. Retrieved on 2008-10-21.
  22. ^ NBR Board of Advisors
  23. ^ "Obama, Putin to sign new deal on reducing nuclear threat". Reuters. Jun 17, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  24. ^ "A singular board at Theranos". Fortune. June 12, 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  25. ^ Has Sam Nunn's time for VP spot arrived? |
  26. ^ Galloway, Jim (July 22, 2013). "Michelle Nunn declares herself a U.S. Senate candidate".  
  27. ^ "Statement from Board Chair Neil Bush on the Leadership Transition at Points of Light" (Press release).  
  28. ^ Galloway, Jim (07-08-19). "Former Sen. Sam Nunn Weighs Run for White House".  
  29. ^ "Sam Nunn lines up behind Barack Obama as best equipped to stop political ‘demonizing, dumbing down’".  
  30. ^ Peterson, Larry How about an Obama-Nunn ticket March 30, 2008. Accessed on 04-29-2008
  31. ^ Alexander Mooney Carter: Obama-Clinton ticket unlikely May 21, 2008. Accessed on 05-21-2008
  32. ^ Brooks, David The Running Mate Choice May 29, 2008. Accessed on 05-21-2008
  33. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (June 4, 2008). "US elections: Jimmy Carter tells Barack Obama not to pick Hillary Clinton as running mate". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  34. ^ "National - Jefferson Awards". Jefferson Awards. 
  35. ^ "The Heinz Awards :: Richard Lugar + Sam Nunn". 
  36. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  37. ^ LUKA netconsult GmbH. "Hessian Peace Prize". 
  38. ^ "Georgia's New Trustees". 
  39. ^ "Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service - Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts". 
  40. ^
  41. ^ "Sam Nunn to be honored by Navy Memorial". Navy Times. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 


See also

  • In 1996, Nunn received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[34]
  • In 2004, Nunn and Lugar were jointly awarded the Heinz Awards Chairman's Medal for their efforts.[35]
  • 2006, received an honorary degree in Doctor of Humane Letters from Oglethorpe University.[36]
  • In 2008, Nunn received the Hessian Peace Prize for his commitment on nuclear disarmament and for combating nuclear terrorism.[37]
  • 2011 Georgia Trustee. Given by the [38]
  • 2011 Inaugural recipient of the annual Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts[39]
  • 2013 Knight Commander of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany [40]
  • In September 2014, Nunn was awarded the Lone Sailor award by the U.S. Navy Veterans Memorial.[41]

Awards and honors

In an interview with CNBC on August 22, 2008, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that he favored Nunn as Obama's choice for Vice President.

[33] In an interview published June 4, 2008 by the

Despite having publicly declared his lack of interest in being a candidate for vice president, Nunn continued to be mentioned by some political pundits and politicians as a potential running mate for Obama.[30][31][32]

On August 19, 2007 Nunn said he would not decide on a presidential bid until after the 2008 primary season, when presumptive nominees by both parties would emerge.[28] However, speculation over a Nunn White House bid ended on April 18, 2008, when he endorsed Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama.[29]

Speculation of 2008 presidential or vice-presidential candidacy

According to the Lee Iacocca book, Talking Straight (1988), Chrysler Corporation came under scrutiny for selling new vehicles which were driven by company executives before the odometers were connected. Iacocca, Chrysler's CEO, didn't think too much of the scandal at the time, until Sam Nunn spoke with him about his own recently purchased Chrysler Fifth Avenue. Within days after meeting with Mr. Nunn in 1987, Iacocca launched a detailed investigation into the claims, and extended warranties - and public apologies - to numerous current Chrysler owners.

Nunn is married to Colleen née O'Brien. Nunn met his future wife at the U.S. Embassy in Paris while she was working for the Central Intelligence Agency. They have two children, Michelle and Brian.[25] Michelle Nunn is the CEO of CARE. On July 22, 2013, Michelle Nunn declared herself a candidate for U.S. Senate.[26] (She was granted a leave of absence from her position with Points of Light.[27]) On November 4, 2014 she lost the election decisively.

Personal life

Nunn currently serves as a member the Board of Curators for the Theranos, a Silicon Valley biotech company.[24]

In June 2013, Nunn added his voice to public support for an updated nuclear-arms limitation agreement with Russia. The 1992 Nunn-Lugar agreement had just expired at a time of increasing political tension between the two nations. Nunn applauded the determination of Presidents Obama and Putin to renew its core provisions, while urging further work to agree on chemical and biological weapons limits also.[23]

Sam Nunn is also Member of the Supervisory Council of the National Bureau of Asian Research, a non-profit, nonpartisan research institution.[22]

Nunn—along with Wall Street Journal op-eds proposed an ambitious program of urgent steps to that end. The four have created the Nuclear Security Project to advance this agenda. Nunn reinforced that agenda during a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School on October 21, 2008, saying, "I’m much more concerned about a terrorist without a return address that cannot be deterred than I am about deliberate war between nuclear powers. You can’t deter a group who is willing to commit suicide. We are in a different era. You have to understand the world has changed."[21] In 2010, the four were featured in a documentary film entitled "Nuclear Tipping Point". The film is a visual and historical depiction of the ideas laid forth in the Wall Street Journal op-eds and reinforces their commitment to a world without nuclear weapons and the steps that can be taken to reach that goal.

In 2005, Nunn teamed up with former Senator Fred Thompson to promote a new film, Last Best Chance, on the dangers of excess nuclear weapons and materials. The film aired on HBO in October 2005. He gave a full presentation outlining his goals at the Commonwealth Club of California. In the broadcast, subtle comparisons are made between Nunn's career as elder statesman and that of Jimmy Carter, noting that they are both from Georgia and both were farmers before launching their political careers.

Senator Nunn's membership in Augusta National Golf Club became the focus of a campaign by women seeking membership in the exclusive all-male club in 2002. The club had admitted its first African-American member in 1990, but was still closed to women. The Club chose to air the Masters without commercials rather than succumb to the pressure to open admissions to women.[20]

He is a board member of the Coca-Cola Company.

Nunn also is a retired partner in the law firm of not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy.

Additionally, Nunn serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. At CSIS Nunn and former Senator and United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen joined together for a series of public roundtable discussions designed to focus Americans on the seminal issues that the United States must face. The Cohen-Nunn Dialogues featured top thought leaders, public policy experts, prominent journalists, and leading scholars.[19]

[18] In addition to his work with the

Nunn in 2007

Post-Congressional life

Upon his exit from the Senate at the end of 1996, Nunn was the recipient of bipartisan praise from his colleagues. Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia concluded, "Senator Nunn quickly established himself as one of the leading experts in the Congress and, indeed, all of the United States on national security and foreign policy. He gained a reputation in our country and, indeed, worldwide as a global thinker, and that is where I think he will make his greatest contribution in the years to come, wherever he may be, in terms of being a global thinker. His approach to national security issues has been guided by one fundamental criteria: What Sam Nunn believes is in the best interest of the United States of America."[17]

In September 1994, Sam Nunn, former President Jimmy Carter and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell were asked by President Bill Clinton to go to Haiti in order to force the departure of the military dictator Lieutenant General Raoul Cédras. In 1994 Clinton publicly demanded that the Haitian government step aside and restore democratic rule. Clinton deployed a large military force to surround the country in September 1994. Just before the troops reached Haiti, Clinton sent a delegation led by Carter, Nunn and Powell to urge Cédras to step down and leave the country. Cédras agreed and surrendered the government, and he and his top lieutenants left the country in October. Just days later, American forces escorted the country’s elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, into the capital. Afterwards, Clinton lavished praise on Nunn's delegation for averting a military strike on the nation. "As all of you know, at my request, President Carter, Gen. Colin Powell, and Sen. Sam Nunn went to Haiti to facilitate the dictators' departure. I have been in constant contact with them for the last two days. They have worked tirelessly, almost around the clock, and I want to thank them for undertaking this crucial mission on behalf of all Americans," Clinton said.[16]

He voted in favor of school prayer, capping punitive damage awards, amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget, and limiting death penalty appeals. On certain issues like abortion, the environment, gun control, and affirmative action, Nunn took a more liberal line. He consistently voted in favor of increased immigration.[14] One of his most controversial votes was his vote against the Gulf War.[15]

Overall, Nunn was a moderate-to-conservative Democrat[10] who often broke with his party on a host of social and economic issues. He opposed the budget bill of 1993, which included provisions to raise taxes in order to reduce the budget deficit. He neither supported nor opposed Hillary Clinton's attempt to nationalize health care, though he spoke out very strongly against the proposed insurance mandate. Nunn was also strongly opposed to President Bill Clinton's proposal to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military.[11][12] In 2008, Nunn endorsed a new Pentagon study to examine the issue of homosexuals serving openly in the military: “I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study.”[13]

During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Nunn served as chairman of the powerful Barry Goldwater, and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program,[4] which provided assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program deactivated more than 7,600 nuclear warheads. He was supposedly a top choice to be Secretary of Defense or State in 1992 and 1996 and in a prospective Gore cabinet in 2000.

[9]. Nunn retired from the Senate in 1997, offering a lack of "zest and enthusiasm" as justification.general election in the Fletcher Thompson and U.S. Rep. primary in the Democratic David H. Gambrell in 1972, defeating appointed U.S. Senator United States Senate He was elected to the [7] Nunn first entered politics as a member of the

Political career

In 1989, it was reported that Nunn had had a drunk driving accident in 1964. This report occurred during the hearings of ex-Senator John Tower to be confirmed for United States Secretary of Defense. Nunn was opposing Tower due to Tower's alleged drinking problems.[8]

Nunn returned to Perry to practice law and manage the family farm. Later, Nunn would serve as the president of the Perry Chamber of Commerce.

and served for a short time as a Congressional staffer. U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, he served six years in the United States Coast Guard After active duty service in the [7] in 1962.Emory University School of Law He then received a degree from the [7] the next year and received his undergraduate degree in 1960.Emory University. He transferred to Phi Delta Theta where he was initiated as a brother of [7]

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