By Stanley Miller
An ex-Chief of Staff for former United States Senator Sam Nunn conducted a lecture at the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library on Wednesday to promote his book.
Roland McElroy discussed Nunn’s time in the Senate and their working relationship which he documented in his memoir titled, “The Best President The Nation Never Had.”
McElroy noted that in the past Nunn had a strong influence over what the Senate took up and resolved.
“Senator Nunn was one of about 15 or 20 senators who when he went to the floor on any given day when defensive foreign policy issues were being debated carried 15 or 20 votes with him,” he said. “Other senators would stand in the back of the room and not cast their votes until they see which way Sam Nunn of Georgia was going.”
McElroy said he is sure if Nunn ran for president that he would’ve been successful.
“He didn’t run because he didn’t have the passion for it that he had in 1972. He did have the passion for the legislative side of politics. He didn’t see himself as the chief executive,” he said. “He did not relish going to the White House and dancing in the East Room.”
McElroy noted that out of all presidents who served during Nunn’s time in the Senate their best relationship was with President Richard Nixon.
“His congressional liaison office was the best for us,” McElroy said. “Any time we needed something or wanted to ask for the White House to do something they would respond immediately that day.”
Former judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Norman Underwood said McElroy is most qualified to write any book about Nunn due to their history.
“I was familiar with the fact that Roland has been with him his entire career and knew him intimately,” Underwood said. “I was looking forward to hearing Roland’s stories about Senator Nunn and I was not disappointed.”