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Unite and Conquer

Fred Thompson as commander in chief 'Last Best Chance,' a 2005 film that Sam Nunn helped to produce. (Courtesy Nuclear Threat Institute)

Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat, has expressed interest in a presidential bid and is now one of 50 people who have discussed a bipartisan or independent presidential run with Unity08, a group founded by Democratic and Republican strategists who believe the two-party system is not helping to address the country's most important problems.

Doug Bailey, a GOP political strategist and former adviser to Pres. Gerald Ford who is one of the group's founders, said he and other officials of the group met recently with Nunn. Nunn, who is best known for his work on nuclear non-proliferation, served in the Senate from 1972 to 1996 and now runs an organization called the Nuclear Threat Initiative. He was out of the country Monday and could not be reached for comment, but told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in an article published on Sunday that a presidential run "is a possibility, not a probability."
"My own thinking is it may be a time for the country to say timeout, the two-party system has served us well, historically, but it's not serving us now," Nunn told the newspaper.

Nunn would be a surprising Unity08 candidate both because of his longstanding ties to the Democratic Party and the fact that halting the spread of nuclear weapons, his signature issue, is already represented -- or at least nearly represented -- in the 2008 race by Fred Thompson. The former Tennessee senator, Law & Order star and all but certain GOP candidate even played the part of the president in a 2005 movie produced by Nunn's nuclear institute called "Last Best Chance," where terrorists obtain materials for nuclear weapons. ("A wake-up call for America and the world," said 9/11 commission heads Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton of the movie.)

Nunn is not the only potential office-seeker to have met with Unity08. Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is one of several dozen would-be candidates whom the group has briefed about the mechanics of running outside of the two-party structure.

While the group so far hasn't wooed the millions of supporters it wants, it does have a few high profile allies, including its own Law & Order star power. Sam Waterston, who played Jack McCoy to Fred Thompson's Arthur Branch, is listed as a Unity08 supporter.
--Perry Bacon Jr.

By Washington Post editors  |  August 20, 2007; 7:20 PM ET
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