NCDP Clips for Friday, February 1, 2013

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

NBC NEWS – Hagel’s rough day
There’s no need to sugarcoat it — former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-NE) confirmation hearing yesterday before the Senate Armed Service Committee was brutal. It was a combination of a defense secretary nominee who appeared unprepared (you could tell he’s been out of politics since 2008), as well as a downright hostile reception from his former GOP colleagues (especially John McCain). Here’s the Washington Post: “Hagel appeared defensive, frustrated and lethargic during much of the hearing.” The New York Times: “Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee showed him little deference, cross-examining him like prosecutors and often cutting him off.” And here was Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) charitable response to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “I think that Chuck Hagel is much more comfortable asking questions than answering them.” She added, “That’s one bad habit I think you get into when you’ve been in the Senate. You can dish it out, but sometimes it’s a little more difficult to take it.” Yesterday, we wrote that a bad performance could undo all the positive momentum Hagel’s nomination had over the past couple of weeks. So there goes the momentum.
http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/01/16806456-first-thoughts-hagels-rough-day?lite

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – Hagel hearing reopens Senate wounds
Chuck Hagel, who was twice wounded as an enlisted soldier in Vietnam, came under withering attack Thursday as he battled former Republican colleagues in the Senate who sharply questioned whether he should be secretary of Defense.
In a daylong confirmation hearing notable for its raw emotion, Hagel was challenged to explain — and often to retract — earlier comments critical of Israel, his onetime skepticism of the nuclear threat from Iran, and perhaps most memorably, whether he could name a single "dumb" action the Senate had taken under pressure from the pro-Israel lobby.
Hagel, who appeared beleaguered at times, said he could not.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-hagel-senate-20130201,0,1133745.story

GUN CONTROL

CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Senate Democrats huddle on gun measures
Vice President Joe Biden met Thursday with Senate Democrats to brief the caucus about the rationale behind the administration’s recommendations on guns, arguing that, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the nation “will not understand if we don’t act.”
Biden seemed intent to emphasize that the most politically challenging of the initiatives he has recommended – an assault weapons ban – was still a priority for the administration, mentioning it first in remarks to reporters afterward.
“My message was to lay out for my colleagues what our game plan was, what we thought needed to be done,” Biden said after the more than hourlong meeting. “I made the case for not only assault weapons but for the entire set of recommendations the president laid out.”
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politicsnow/la-pn-senate-democrats-gun-control-20130131,0,188585.story

NBC NEWS – Biden: New gun controls likely won’t end shootings
Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that new gun laws would not "fundamentally alter" the likelihood of another mass shooting, though he insisted there has been a "sea change" in American views on guns in the wake of Newtown.
"Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to 1,000 a year from what it is now," Biden told reporters Thursday afternoon after he spent over an hour lunching with Democratic senators at the Capitol.
"But there are things that we can do, demonstrably can do, that have virtually zero impact on your Second Amendment right to own a weapon for both self defense and recreation that can save some lives," he said.
http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/31/16794835-biden-new-gun-controls-likely-wont-end-shootings?lite

GOVERNOR McCRORY

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL – Gov. Pat McCrory’s comments on liberal arts elicit firestorm of debate
Gov. Pat McCrory appeared to temper his stance on the state’s higher education system Thursday, two days after his criticism of “educational elite” and gender studies touched off a national firestorm.
The Republican told Rocky Mount business leaders that he wants a combination approach to funding the state’s universities and colleges that considers student enrollment numbers and how many graduates get jobs.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/article_214f85c4-6c72-11e2-b37b-001a4bcf6878.html

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – McCrory tempers his liberal arts talk
Gov. Pat McCrory appeared to temper his stance on the state’s higher education system Thursday, two days after his criticism of “educational elite” and gender studies touched off a national firestorm.
The Republican told Rocky Mount business leaders that he wants a combination approach to funding the state’s universities and colleges that considers student enrollment numbers and how many graduates get jobs.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/01/31/3826099/gov-pat-mccrorys-comments-on-liberal.html#storylink=cpy

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – McCrory warns: Streetcar could risk Charlotte’s light rail money
Gov. Pat McCrory told two city of Charlotte staff members this week that state money for the light-rail extension to UNC Charlotte could be at risk if the city builds a controversial streetcar, according to a memo sent Thursday.
Without the N.C. Department of Transportation’s $250 million grant, the $1.1 billion Lynx Blue Line extension can’t be built to University City.
As Charlotte mayor, McCrory, a Republican, championed light rail, which was one of his signature accomplishments. But he vehemently disagrees with using city property tax dollars to build a streetcar, and used the meeting in Raleigh to relay a message to City Council, according to the memo.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/02/01/3825774/city-mccrory-threatens-light-rail.html#storylink=cpy

SALISBURY POST – NC governor objects to Charlotte streetcar plan
Pat McCrory did not like a proposal to use property taxes for a streetcar project when he was mayor of Charlotte.
Now Gov. Pat McCrory has told Charlotte officials that a streetcar plan could hurt the city’s chances of getting state money to expand its light rail service.
Charlotte needs a state grant of $250 million to extend its light rail system to the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
http://www.salisburypost.com/article/20130201/SP01/130209970/1016

OPINION

THE WASHINGTON POST – The phony pro-gun argument
RUTH MARCUS – The latest weapon in the war against reasonable restrictions on access to guns is the straw woman. Don’t fall for her.
This formulation would have you believe gun rights are women’s rights and that limits on guns would harm women disproportionately. The insinuation is that only insensitive men, who can’t possibly identify with the vulnerable position in which women find themselves, would be foisting gun control on them.
“Guns make women safer,” Gayle Trotter of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, told the Senate Judiciary Committee at its Wednesday hearing on gun violence. “For women, the ability to arm ourselves for our protection is even more consequential than for men. Because guns are the great equalizer in a violent confrontation. As a result, we protect women by safeguarding our Second Amendment rights. Every woman deserves a fighting chance.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-the-phony-pro-gun-argument/2013/01/31/bdf91e5c-6bf1-11e2-ada0-5ca5fa7ebe79_story.html

THE NEW YORK TIMES – Looking for Mister Goodpain
PAUL KRUGMAN – Three years ago, a terrible thing happened to economic policy, both here and in Europe. Although the worst of the financial crisis was over, economies on both sides of the Atlantic remained deeply depressed, with very high unemployment. Yet the Western world’s policy elite somehow decided en masse that unemployment was no longer a crucial concern, and that reducing budget deficits should be the overriding priority.
In recent columns, I’ve argued that worries about the deficit are, in fact, greatly exaggerated — and have documented the increasingly desperate efforts of the deficit scolds to keep fear alive. Today, however, I’d like to talk about a different but related kind of desperation: the frantic effort to find some example, somewhere, of austerity policies that succeeded. For the advocates of fiscal austerity — the austerians — made promises as well as threats: austerity, they claimed, would both avert crisis and lead to prosperity.
And let nobody accuse the austerians of lacking a sense of romance; in fact, they’ve spent years looking for Mr. Goodpain.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/opinion/krugman-looking-for-mister-goodpain.html?ref=opinion&_r=0
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Clay Pittman
Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
cpittman
Twitter: @ClayPittman
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