McCrory might be trying to repair the image of his state. A poll released in September showed North Carolina’s national image has declined. In addition, North Carolina has faced criticism for its voter law, which McCrory defended in an interview last week on MSNBC. But while McCrory is trying to promote his record nationally, many voters are dissatisfied with his performance. A poll released by Elon University showed McCrory’s approval rating is at 33 percent among registered voters.
Television cameras were rolling Monday as North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and State Budget Director Art Pope exchanged words outside the government office building where Pope works. It happened as Barber was holding a news conference urging Pope to renounce GOP initiatives approved by Governor Pat McCrory and the legislature. Pope – a well known Republican figure – has used his money to promote conservative causes in North Carolina. Now, the NAACP says it plans to picket outside discount stores owned by Pope’s family business – accusing Pope of supporting policies that hurt North Carolina workers.
Some new details about the NC Tracks fall-out emerged Monday’s legislative hearing. About 350 school children in Cabarrus County couldn’t get glasses to begin the school year because of problems processing the proper forms. They waited six weeks, said Christina B. Young, administrator at the Cabarrus Eye Center. The NC Tracks service center has as "five-and-out" policy for problems that can’t be solved by call center staff. That second level of trouble shooters will call a provider five times to offer assistance. If there’s no contact by the fifth call, the file is closed. The problem was the trouble shooters were calling late in the workday and not leaving return telephone numbers.
A jar of peanut butter, canned goods and a few packages of pasta occupied the lower shelves of her kitchen cabinet Tuesday, almost two months after she was recertified for food stamps through the state’s new NC FAST system. But since September, Williams has been waiting for those benefits to pay out. Earlier this year, after NC FAST hard-launched in Wake County, that process took Williams and her two children more than four months. "You’re looking left and right, left and right just to get by each night, not knowing if you’re going to feed your kids or not," Williams said.
Cannon, a Democrat, called on the city to come together and work to advance what he called a “can do” and “will do” city. With his mother, wife and two children watching, Cannon said he would try to be a humble leader. He opened his speech by proclaiming, “God is good!,” and later cited a quote his mother posted in his home when he was in middle school: “You who think you know it all, are very annoying to those of us that already do.” Cannon defeated Republican Edwin Peacock, a former council member, in last month’s election.
resident Barack Obama will try to sell the American people on the relaunch of his troubled healthcare program on Tuesday in a bid to restore confidence in his signature domestic policy initiative and, more broadly, in his presidency. Obama will speak on the healthcare program, formally called the Affordable Care Act, at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) Tuesday, the White House said. The rollout of the program through a government website, HeathCare.gov, has been plagued by technical problems since it was launched two months ago. But the White House said on Saturday after an intensive overhaul of the website that it was now working at an acceptable level.
President Barack Obama will launch a coordinated campaign Tuesday by the White House, congressional Democrats and their outside allies to return attention to why the Affordable Care Act passed in the first place. After two months of intense coverage of the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, the president will host a White House event kicking off a three-week drive to refocus the public on the law’s benefits, senior administration officials told POLITICO. The White House will take the lead in emphasizing a different benefit each day until the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for Jan. 1 coverage. The daily message will be amplified through press events and social media by Democratic members of Congress, the Democratic National Committee, congressional campaign committees and advocacy organizations, officials said.
President Barack Obama on Monday announced a boost to funding for research into HIV/AIDS prevention and pledged up to $5 billion to support an international effort aimed at combating HIV/AIDS. Speaking at the White House to mark World AIDS Day, the president said the United States would contribute $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors over the next three years to support The Global Fund, an international financing institution that fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Obama also said he would redirect $100 million into a National Institutes of Health program to research a cure for HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.
Two North Carolina lawmakers are getting different kinds of attention from the list-producers at BuzzFeed. The popular website reports that Congressional staff used a work computer to edit a portion of U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers’ Wikipedia page to remove recent embarrassing headlines. The Republican’s online biography no longer includes references to an AR-15 being stolen from her home nor her statement during the government shutdown that she would keep her paycheck – a stance she later reversed.
Politico: Paul Ryan, Patty Murray closer to budget deal
The two congressional budget leaders — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — are considering a plan that would give relief to some of the domestic and defense programs most burdened by the sequester through 2015 by replacing those cuts with budgetary savings in other areas, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. New revenue through fee increases — not tax hikes — is likely. The emerging plan also would attempt to find a middle ground between overall federal spending levels sought by Ryan and Murray in their respective budget plans. Under one proposal still under consideration, overall discretionary spending levels would be set in the $1 trillion range for 2014, sources say. That’s an uptick from the $967 billion spending level under the Budget Control Act but lower than the $1.058 trillion level initially sought by Senate Democrats.
Republicans outraged over what they say was a power grab by Democrats have signaled they intend to make it difficult to clear most of the president’s nominees. While only 51 votes are needed to end debate on a nominee, rules still require 30 hours of debate once cloture is invoked. That means hours of precious Senate floor time that leaders also want to use for other issues. Nonetheless, allies of the White House predict a “good chunk” of their priority nominees will clear before the Senate concludes its final two weeks of work in 2013.
In 2010, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan worked to get an amendment added to a food safety law that exempted small farms that sell directly to consumers or restaurants. Now the Food and Drug Administration is working on the regulations needed to carry out the law, and North Carolina’s Democratic senator says those proposed rules need to be written more clearly in order to help small farms. Under the amendment that Hagan and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mon., sponsored three years ago, small producers are exempt from most of the federal rules, but they remain subject to state and local food safety and health requirements.
With another General Assembly election year just weeks away, the Insider is naming its top five state Senate races to watch. The chamber is expected to remain under super-majority Republican control but Democrats are angling to pick up a few seats. The list is compiled from interviews with political consultants, candidates and campaign aides.
Dome: GOP lawmaker in key swing district gets Democratic challenger
Cary Town Councilwoman Gale Adcock, a Democrat and chief health officer at SAS Institute, said Monday she is running for state House District 41, a Wake County seat currently held by Republican Rep. Tom Murry, a pharmacist from Morrisville. Adcock, 59, has served on the Cary council since 2007 and has been mayor pro tem for the past 2 years. She said she called Murry to let him know she was entering the race and that she opened a campaign bank account over the weekend. She and her husband each put $5,000 in, she said.
Dome: Democrat Hanchette to announce for state House race
Democrat Kim Hanchette plans to formally announce her candidacy in state House District 49, a district now represented by Republican freshman Dr. Jim Fulghum. Hanchette is a diabetes educator, founder Diabetes Management Solutions. Hanchette, a Raleigh resident, says education is her top issue and that the state budget is out of step with district and state values. She’s scheduled to publicly announce Tuesday. "High quality, well-compensated teachers are the best predictors of student achievement and success and we just won’t have those great teachers if they are the 46th in the nation for teacher pay and we eliminate the incentive for advanced degrees,” she said in a statement.
As Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s approval ratings sink lower, no fewer than eight Keystone State Democrats — with potentially more to come — have thrown their hats in the ring to take him on. With no clear front-runner in the crowded field and one candidate pledging to drop $10 million on the primary, the May contest to choose Democrats’ challenger to Corbett has the potential to become the most competitive, costly and contentious Democratic primary of 2014. If the eventual nominee emerges from the free-for-all damaged and short on cash, it could be Corbett’s only hope of survival.
Politico: President Obama looks to help blue states elect Democratic governors
President Barack Obama won reelection last year warning voters about what he called an extreme Republican agenda that would roll back the social and economic victories of the previous years. But that agenda is on the move in the states, and on the ballot in next year’s most competitive governors’ races — all of them in places he won in both 2008 and 2012: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine and Michigan.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper is planning a run for governor in 2016, although he has said it is too early to make an official announcement. And N.C. Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein, D-Wake, has expressed interest in running for N.C. Attorney General, if Cooper does run against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. But on Monday, Stein tweeted that he will run for Cooper’s spot if re-elected to his Senate seat and is committed to helping elect Democrats to the legislature.
Without question, Jeanne Shaheen has made history — she was the first woman elected governor of New Hampshire and the first woman in our country’s history to be elected both governor and United States senator. However, it is not just what she has done but how she has done it that has inspired deep admiration and respect among her friends, colleagues and constituents. I owe my start in politics to Shaheen. I was practicing law, serving on local boards and raising two children — one with significant disabilities — when she asked me to serve on a commission tasked with the difficult, but important, challenge of strengthening our system of funding New Hampshire’s public schools.
CNN: The health care reality conservatives ignore
Let’s step back a moment to consider why we needed the Affordable Care Act and what it says about the health care market. The basic conservative position is that the more you let market forces operate, the better the outcome will be. "More markets" is the answer to everything: Let people buy insurance across state lines. Make it virtually impossible to sue for medical malpractice. Create more health savings accounts. But where do you think the problems of America’s health care system came from? It wasn’t government that gave us nearly 50 million uninsured Americans and denials for pre-existing conditions. It wasn’t government that gave us the yearly and lifetime caps on insurance coverage that have sent so many people into bankruptcy when they’ve faced a serious illness or accident. It wasn’t government that gave us "rescissions," where your insurance company cancels your policy if you get sick. It wasn’t government that gave us a system in which the gap between what we spend and what we get is so enormous. It was the free market.
The Growth and Opportunity Project, aka “the autopsy,” was heralded as the Republican Party’s clear-eyed assessment of its 2012 presidential defeat. Autopsies are done on dead things, and ever since its March 2013 release, the GOP has done everything possible to stay dead. The Republican Party is dead to African Americans. Not that there was much of pulse to begin with. Romney won 6 percent of the black vote to 93 percent for Obama, which isn’t surprising since Romney was looking to unseat the nation’s first black president. But it is also not surprising considering all of the voter suppression efforts around the country.
Salon: GOP’s massive 2013 mistake: How the party ignored its terminal illness
We did a whole “Hardball” hour Friday on how the GOP ratcheted up the crazy this year. Chris Matthews made me break down Rep. Steve King’s crazy anti-Mexican “calves the size of cantaloupes” slur, and I was forced to wonder why he’s thinking with such a sculpter’s eye for detail about another man’s calves, while otherizing him into a beast of burden, not quite human. Way to go for that Latino vote in 2014, GOP. But the long list of crazy made me realize that despite the RNC autopsy that kicked off 2013, looking at ways to make sure it wasn’t merely the party of “stuffy old men,” the GOP apparently learned nothing from its 2012 drubbing. With the stumbles of the Affordable Care Act, that might seem OK, and there will be no penalty for their year of dithering and race-baiting. Rep. Michele Bachmann says the ACA’s problems make Republicans “look like geniuses,” and while it’s easy to mock her non-genius, her party looks better politically than it did a month ago. Polls show a dizzying swing from October, when the GOP’s not-genius government shutdown put Democrats ahead in generic 2014 balloting. Now some polls have Republicans in the lead.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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