Politics takes center stage at Fair

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. — State Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo, the Republican nominee in north Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District, used his speech Wednesday at the Neshoba County Fair to criticize the U.S. House speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California.

Nunnelee said the Democrat-controlled Congress has pushed policies, including a massive health care overhaul, that are too expensive and too intrusive. He is trying to unseat Democrat Travis Childers, who was first elected in 2008.

Nunnelee said Democratic congressional leaders know they could lose their jobs if they lose north Mississippi and other seats.

“This is a crusade to save America,” Nunnelee said of his own campaign.

Childers was not scheduled to speak at the fair.

Neshoba County is not in the 1st District, but politicians for decades have flocked to the fair to speak to crowds under a tin-roofed pavilion.

Earlier, Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat who is seeking a third term next year, said he’s working with attorneys general from other coastal states to ensure people are fairly compensated for losses from the BP oil spill.

“Unfortunately, I don’t anticipate them being as nice once this well is capped and all the interest dies down,” Hood said of BP officials.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering said his office will try to find ways for government to cut spending.

Pickering said people who care about Mississippi’s children need to run for office.

“Otherwise, we’re surrendering their future to the lowest common denominator,” Pickering said.

Pickering, a Republican, has not said what office he’ll seek in 2011.

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour is among the politicians speaking Thursday in Neshoba County.

Watch for more Neshoba County fair coverage at NEMS360.com and in the NEMS Daily Journal newspaper Thursday.

Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

Click video to hear audio