NCDP Clips for January 10, 2014

MCCRORY ADMINISTRATION

News and Observer: Saunders: Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t find any fault in himself or his people
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Julius Caesar “Fault? What ‘fault’ ”? Gov. Pat McCrory Stuff happens. That’s a fact of life. Who hasn’t tried to open the wrong car door in the mall parking lot, or poured salt in their soon-to-be ex’s oatmeal – OK, maybe that wasn’t a mistake – or mailed 50,000 children’s Medicaid cards to the wrong addresses? The thing to do in each instance is to acknowledge the mistake, apologize and set a corrective course. That’s what you and I would do. That’s not what our beloved governor does, though. Through his first year in office, McCrory has been unwilling to criticize or punish his appointees when they’ve made egregious errors – or himself for hiring them.

The Times News: Communication miscues at DHHS
The timing is interesting. Ricky Diaz, the former campaign operative for Gov. Pat McCrory who wound up in a state job he had few if any qualifications to obtain, resigned Wednesday. The move came five days after Diaz, communications director for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, gave false information to the media about a problem involving Medicaid cards mailed to the wrong addresses, a substantial and troubling breach of security. The original problem — that the state DHHS botched the confidentiality of nearly 49,000 child Medicaid recipients — can’t be overstated. The incorrect mailings included the beneficiaries’ names, birth dates, Medicaid identification numbers and their doctors’ names.

ABC 11: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ricky Diaz leaving
Just days after revealing a major Medicaid mistake, the spokesman for the state Health and Human Services Department is leaving the job. Ricky Diaz has been a lightning rod for controversy since his hiring, and now, he’s moving on to a job with a communications firm in Washington D.C. When news broke that Diaz was leaving, DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos put out a glowing statement which said, "Ricky is a bright, energetic leader and a strong communicator. I thank him for his hard work and dedication, and his efforts to increase the efficiency and streamline the operations of the Office of Communications. His work will leave a lasting impression on the Department. We will miss him, but I know he will achieve great things working in our nation’s capital." However, people on both sides of the aisle told ABC11 that they had a very different take.

News and Observer: Morning Memo: Big questions remain as McCrory’s DHHS headaches grow
For the third time in a week, problems at the Department of Health and Human Services are causing headaches for Gov. Pat McCrory, who wanted to tout the state’s economic improvement this week. And the news that broke Thursday is significant. From today’s story: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has threatened to sanction the state for failing to show it was addressing widespread problems with food stamp applications. “The Dec. 11 warning letter came about two months after state Health and Human Services officials assured legislators that the department responded swiftly to problems with the computer software program called NC FAST. The software problems forced thousands of people to wait months for food assistance.” The letter adds to the pressure for Secretary Aldona Wos to resign, as more state lawmakers on Friday will call for her to step down.

The Progessive Pulse: USDA tells DHHS food stamps problems “unacceptable,” warns it may suspend admin funding
Federal officials have “grave concern” about the continuing problems North Carolina is having in its food stamps delivery system, and threatened in December to suspend the state’s funding to run the program. N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos got word of the potential suspension in a Dec. 11 letter sent to her by Donald Arnette, a regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food and nutritional safety division. “This letter serves as advance notification that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) may soon be subject to the suspension or disallowance of administrative funds,” Arnette wrote in the letter. The letter was obtained by N.C. Policy Watch from members of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus. USDA has since provided a copy of the same letter (see below.) In a Dec. 23 response provided by DHHS, Wos told federal officials that it was working to resolve the issues by working closely with social services workers on the county level. “We want to assure you that we will continue to implement corrective actions to resolve the concerns raised in your most recent letter,” Wos wrote in the response. “We trust these corrective actions demonstrate our commitment to ensure that we comply with statutory requirements.”

Talking About Politics: The Teacher Pay Shuffle
Governor McCrory is in a box on teacher pay, and Democrats can’t let him wriggle out. You don’t need to be a political genius to predict what’s coming. McCrory will try to make a big splash by proposing a pay raise for teachers this year. He has to. He and the Republican legislature have angered and alienated teachers, all educators, school board members, students, parents, Democrats and Republicans. So they’ll try to do damage control in the May legislature. Call it "the Teacher Pay Shuffle." Probably a one-year raise and a vague promise about the future. (They’ll say they can’t do more because of Medicaid. Which they’ll blame on Bev Perdue, Obamacare and Benghazi.) Unfortunately, Jim Hunt beat them to the punch. His op-ed Sunday made it clear than one-year-and-a-promise isn’t enough. There has to be a four-year commitment to reach the national average, which is where we were in Hunt’s fourth term. Hunt set the bar that McCrory has to meet. Again.

NCGA

News and Observer: Democratic caucus leaders chosen
General Assembly Democrats have named two new caucus directors. Ford Porter will be director of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He was communications director for Senate Democratic Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville, and before that press secretary for then-Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. Casey Wilkinson will be House Democratic Caucus director. He was chief of staff for House Minority Leader Larry Hall of Durham.

Reflector: Brown: School vote disappointing
A state legislator from Pitt County said he is disappointed in the local school board has joined five other school systems in a lawsuit challenging the legality of a state program that provides money for children who qualify to attend private schools. The suit, filed by the N.C. School Boards Association, objects to the section of the 2013 N.C. budget bill “appropriating public funds to pay tuition and fees at private schools for certain students” according to the suit filed on Dec. 16. The “Opportunity Scholarship Act” legislation gives a $4,200 voucher to parents of qualified public school students to use toward tuition at a private school of the parents’ choice.

U.S. CONGRESS

The Hill: Poll: Majority support extension of jobless aid
A majority of the public support temporarily extending jobless aid for three months, according to a new poll. A Quinnipiac poll found 58 percent of voters support extending the unemployment benefits that expired for nearly 1.3 million people last month. Another 37 percent of voters oppose the extension, while 5 percent did not answer. Independent voters support an extension, with 54 percent in favor and 41 percent opposed. Unsurprisingly, 83 percent of Democrats support extending the benefits. Only 13 percent do not. Only 42 percent of Republicans support the extension, while 54 percent oppose it. The exact wording of the question does not including whether or not those benefits should be paid for. It reads: “Do you think Congress should or should not approve a 3 month extension of unemployment benefits for people who are currently out of work?”

Bloomberg Politics: Senate Deal to Extend U.S. Jobless Benefits Said to Be Near
Congressional negotiations on reviving U.S. unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless were dealt a setback as Democrats and Republicans sparred over how to pay for the aid and how long it should be extended. Republicans yesterday expressed opposition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democratic plan to renew the benefits through mid-November partly because he won’t let changes be offered to the proposal on the chamber’s floor.

Dome: Morning Memo: Burr continues to stonewall judicial nomination
A renewed effort this week by the White House to fill the nation’s longest-running federal district court judicial vacancy — a seat in the Eastern District of North Carolina — again has been met by an unexplained stonewall. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, has yet to submit his “blue slip,” the response needed to move the nomination onto the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda. The White House resubmitted Jennifer May-Parker’s nomination for the bench Monday. Burr has yet to explain his inaction. In July 2009, he included May-Parker, a federal prosecutor in the 44-county Eastern District that stretches from Raleigh to the coast, on a short list for President Barack Obama to consider.

Politico: Nancy Pelosi defends income equality push
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday dismissed the insinuation that Democrats are pivoting to income inequality to distract from the Affordable Care Act. “With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, that is as political [a] statement as one could make,” Pelosi told NPR’s Diane Rehm on Wednesday. “CEO pay has increased but workers have plateaued out. It’s a right angle going in the wrong direction. This is an issue. Income disparity is something we must address.” On the partisan fight over an extension of unemployment benefits, Pelosi indicated she would be amenable to an immediate three-month extension of the benefits that would give Congress some time to discuss a long-term solution without hurting those who rely on the federal aid.

Slate: Congress Taking Food From Poor Kids
Recent efforts by Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan to focus their policy ideas around poverty-themed messaging have tended to distract attention from the actualpolicymaking process working its way through Congress in which Democrats and Republicans are reaching across the aisle to cut food assistance to poor families by $9 billion. Democrats in the Senate had initially put together a bill to cut food assistance to poor families by $4 billion while House Republicans wanted $40 billion in cuts. So relative to initial conservative demands, this is only a modest amount of cutting that’s happening, but it is quite a bit of cutting. And oh yes, this cutting comes in the context of a "farm bill" that still offers many billions of dollars in subsidies to producers of agricultural commodities. A person who actually cared about the poor could easily insist that we not start cutting food assistance to poor people until we’ve cut all we can cut from farm subsidies.

Politico: Jobless benefits not top priority to House GOP
President Barack Obama’s desire to renew emergency jobless benefits is running into a familiar avalanche of indifference: the House. House Republicans are showing little appetite, urgency and interest in extending the program, and are hinting that they are content to let the issue disappear if the Senate fails to pass its own legislation. The reasons for this stance are plentiful. Some Republicans think the nation is awash with unoccupied jobs, others are wary of shuffling more government money to the unemployed and nearly every GOP lawmaker wants to see seismic changes to the way benefits are administered.

News and Observer: U.S. farm bill has big impact in NC
North Carolina has a lot riding on the outcome of a closed-door drama now playing out in Washington as Congress works against a deadline this month to hammer out divisions in a new five-year farm bill. The bill is full of programs that affect agriculture, North Carolina’s top industry. Included are: Economic development programs for many of the 85 of the state’s 100 counties that are considered rural. Crop insurance to provide a safety net for farmers. Funding for research at North Carolina State University and A&T State University on finding better ways to grow everything from Christmas trees to tomatoes, melons and pecans.

WHITE HOUSE

ABC 11: Obama to visit North Carolina for event on economy
Political experts who spoke to ABC11 believe the president will touch on the lack of unemployment benefits in North Carolina. They also believe his visit is helping solidify North Carolina’s growth and role as a big political battleground. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a big Senate race coming up this year either. "The president has visited the state several times. So, I think he is becoming a fan of the Tar Heel State," said the Executive Director of the North Carolina Democratic Party Robert Dempsey. "This is a very important state not just electorally but also to the nation." Dempsey believes the president’s economic fueled visit will focus on the state’s current situation. "Specifically, the extension of unemployment benefits that right now is working their way through Congress to be reinstated," said Dempsey.

Triangle Business Journal: President Obama’s visit Wednesday: What we know
The North Carolina Democratic Party has yet to send out an official release, and spokesperson Micah Beasley said his office didn’t have any additional information beyond what had already been reported. He did add that, as more details emerge, Democratic leaders will likely make plans to attend Obama’s event. "We’re very excited and honored to host the President in the Tar Heel state ahead of the State of the Union address," he writes in an email.

Politico: Food giants cut 6.4 trillion calories, keep promise to first lady Michelle Obama
America’s biggest food companies have cut 6.4 trillion calories out of their products — more than four times what they promised almost four years ago at an event with first lady Michelle Obama. The first lady’s effort to get Americans to move more and eat healthier food has frequently involved a hefty dose of private-sector cooperation. That was the case in May 2010 when Michelle Obama joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the executive office building to announce that an industry coalition, including Kellogg, Kraft, Nestlé and PepsiCo, would cut 1.5 trillion calories out of processed foods and beverages by 2015. Under the Let’s Move campaign banner, the CEO-led Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation made that pledge and Obama praised the move as “an important step forward.”

Bloomberg: Kerry’s Energizer Bunny Diplomacy Takes Risks for Wins
After less than a year as secretary of state, John Kerry has emerged as a relentless evangelist for can-do — or try-to-do — diplomacy who’s taken risks, veered off-script and notched some tangible if tentative wins. In 10 months and more than a quarter million miles crisscrossing the globe and negotiating long into many nights, the top U.S. diplomat has made progress toward eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons, slowing Iran’s nuclear program, resuscitating Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and negotiating legal protections so some U.S. forces can remain in Afghanistan after next year. Kerry, 70, is starting 2014 the same way, departing on New Year’s Day for Jerusalem and Ramallah for another attempt at negotiating an end to 65 years of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Bloomberg: Christie Bridge Traffic Scandal Probed by Prosecutors
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey opened a probe into the scandal prompted when aides to Governor Chris Christie triggered a days-long traffic jam near the George Washington Bridge as an act of political revenge. U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman entered the fray on a day of rapid developments when Christie said he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by his aides and fired one of them. A Christie ally then refused to answer questions by a state Assembly committee, asserting his constitutional right against self-incrimination after a judge said she wouldn’t block a subpoena summoning him. “Our office is reviewing the matter to determine whether a federal law was implicated,” Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Fishman, said in a statement.

Reuters: U.S. Oct-Dec budget deficit narrows sharply: CBO
The U.S. government’s budget deficit fell by more than a third in the first three months of fiscal 2014 to $182 billion, including a $44 billion surplus in December, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Wednesday. The cumulative budget gap for October, November and December was $111 billion below the year-ago-period, continuing a trend of shrinking deficits due to an improving economyand higher tax collections. Net revenues rose 7.7 percent, or $38 billion, in the October-December period, mostly because of higher social insurance taxes after a temporary reduction expired at the end of 2012, CBO said. Outlays for the three-month period fell by 7 percent, or $62 billion, as military spending fell $11 billion, unemployment benefits fell $4 billion and net interest on the public debt fell by $7 billion. Government controlled mortgage finance groups Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also contributed $34 billion more to the Treasury than during the year-ago period as their net worth improved.

2014

The Daily Tarheel: N.C. Democrats hope for 2014 gains
N.C. Democrats are looking to shift political momentum in their favor by focusing on education policy. Micah Beasley, spokesman for the N.C. Democratic Party, said Democrats can make significant gains in the midterm elections in 2014. “Depending upon the size of the gains, Democrats will likely be within striking distance in 2016 to take one or both chambers of General Assembly back,” Beasley said in an email. Democrats should stress changes made by state Republicans in the last two years, including phasing out teacher’s tenure, decreasing teacher’s bonuses and halting increases to teachers’ salaries, said Gary Pearce, a Democratic state political consultant. N.C. Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein (D-Wake) agreed that education will be the main issue of 2014. “I think people are very distressed at what they have done to public education and the incredible lack of respect they have for teachers,” he said.

WRAL: Brannon uses scandals to attack Tillis
As 2013 closed out, Republican U.S. Senate candidates seemed mostly focused on finding different ways to hammer Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her support of the Affordable Care Act. But before the new year dawned, Cary obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon slammed state House Speaker Thom Tillis as "an establishment-backed insider" in a fundraising appeal. Among other things, Brannon cited a scandal that forced two Tillis staffers to resign. "His Chief of Staff – who shared an apartment with my opponent – and his Policy Analyst were forced to resign after it was revealed they were having ‘inappropriate’ relationships with lobbyists," Brannon wrote in the Dec. 31 fundraising appeal. "But my opponent still gave both of them ‘golden parachutes’ — a full month’s pay after they resigned from their position." It was only a matter of time before Republican primary candidates turned their rhetoric on one another, said North Carolina State University political science professor Andrew Taylor.

Rollcall: Pay No Attention to That Title of Speaker in Front of My Name
Tillis, who was elected to the Legislature in 2006 and became speaker in 2011, makes no mention of his title or his political experience at all. The ad takes place in a corporate office and ends with, “Businessman. Conservative.” written in bold red letters across the screen. Of course it’s not a surprise, considering that legislation coming out of the North Carolina Legislature has been a rallying point for the Democrats, who hope to keep the electorate focused on Tillis’s voting and leadership record throughout the duration of the Senate race. But it’s also notable because Tillis isn’t the first speaker to conveniently ignore the résumé item. Last cycle, even though Democrat John Oceguera, who was challenging Republican Rep. Joe Heck in Nevada’s 3rd District, was finishing a dozen years in the state Assembly and was the sitting speaker, his ad “Champion” completely ignored his political office.

Fayetteville Observer: Democrat Mike McIntyre plans to retire at end of term
The head of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Randy Voller, thanked McIntyre for his service. “From championing economic development for the region, to fighting on behalf of our brave men and women in uniform, Congressman McIntyre has made the people of his district and North Carolina proud,” Voller said.

The Robesonian: McIntyre to retire from Congress
Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton native who has served in the U.S. Congress since 1997, has announced that he will retire at the end of his current term. McIntyre, who first won election in 1996, will have served nine terms as the 7th District representative when he leaves office early in 2015.

New York Times: 2 Parties Place Political Focus on Inequality
In North Carolina, where Ms. Hagan is under attack from several Republican opponents trying to oust her, the state Democratic Party will release a memo this week highlighting what it says is “a long record of demeaning statements against those struggling to make ends meet” by Thom Tillis, the speaker of the State House, who is running against her. Those include his remarks about needing “to divide and conquer” people on public assistance and dismissing opposition to policies championed by North Carolina Republicans as “whining coming from losers.” After the Republican-led legislature there cut social service programs like unemployment, imposed new restrictions on abortion and put higher burdens on voters, protests broke out in Raleigh.

Mother Jones: All the Governors’ Dark-Money Funds
The 2014 election season means it’s reckoning time for a trio of high-profile Republican governors elected four years ago at the height of the tea party movement. GOP governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio ran on ambitious pledges to create jobs and jump-start their states’ economies. To meet those goals, score political points, and set themselves up for reelection, they launched their own versions of the dark-money nonprofit groups used by the Koch brothers’ political network and the pro-Obama Organizing for Action. Now, these governors are learning that their dark-money tactics could become an election year liability. Months after after winning his gubernatorial bid in 2010, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed his very first bill into law, replacing the state’s development department with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called JobsOhio that would "move at the speed of business."

USA Today: Michelle Nunn gets donation from Lugar PAC
Nunn has also received support from former senator John Warner of Virginia, another Republican who often worked closely with her father on key issues. Sam Nunn retired from the Senate in 1997. Although Georgia has voted Republican in recent years, Democrats are hoping demographic changes and a divided GOP primary will help Michelle Nunn win her father’s former Senate seat. There are several Republicans running to succeed Chambliss, including conservatives such as Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, who are known for making controversial statements. The Georgia Republican Party announced Monday there will be seven primary debates, starting Jan. 18 and running through May 10, throughout the state. Bloomberg News was the first to report the 19th Star PAC’s donations to Nunn.

CHRIS CHRISTIE

The Washington Post: Chris Christie’s problem is that he’s really, truly a bully
The release of e-mails suggesting that Gov. Chris Christie’s top aides choked off transportation to a small town as political retribution against the town’s mayor are a huge deal. I wouldn’t go so far as Jonathan Chait, who says "they will probably destroy Christie’s chances in 2016." But they make it much likelier that something will emerge to destroy Christie’s chances in 2016. Christie inhabits a rare space in American politics: He’s a bully. He’s followed around byan aide with a camcorder watching for moments in which Christie, mustering the might and prestige of his office, annihilates some citizen who dares question him.

The Daily Beast: Christie: Three Possibilities (Two Require That He Resign)
Is it provable that this death can be laid directly on Bridget Kelly’s plate? Maybe not. But it and the other incidents are certainly enough to spark a criminal—not legislative; criminal—investigation. Then, someone will surely crack. With regard to the governor, there are not just two possibilities—that he either knew or didn’t know. There are three: 1. He’s telling the whole and complete truth in yesterday’s statement, that this was the first he’d known that the lane closings were political; 2. He was in on it from the start and helped mastermind it or at least winkingly approved it; 3. The middle position, which is that he didn’t have prior knowledge but he learned it was political some time ago—not long after it happened, say—and is now lying about having just learned.

New York Times: Christie’s Carefully Devised, No-Nonsense Image in Peril
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has built a remarkable brand in Republican politics around a simple message: that his bluster and brashness, grating as they might be, were driven by a desire to transcend partisan rancor and petty politics in the service of the public good. He would never let himself engage, he once pledged, in the “type of deceitful political trickery that has gone on in this state for much too long.” But embarrassing revelations about his office’s role in shutting down some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge now imperil that carefully cultivated image. They suggest that the same elbows-out approach that the Christie administration brought to policy battles at the State House may have been deployed for a much less noble end — punishing an entire borough for its mayor’s sin of not embracing the governor’s re-election campaign.

EDUCATION

Washington Post: Eric Cantor and Bill de Blasio exchange fire over schools
Bloomberg allowed charter schools to co-locate in underused city schools, which relieved charters from the cost of finding space in New York’s overheated real estate market. But the cohabitation created tension with traditional schools, some of which were squeezed out of their gyms and classrooms as adjoining charters grew. De Blasio, who campaigned on the idea of improving all schools, wants to halt the co-location of charters. He said he might also charge rent to charters that receive significant funding from foundations and private interests. “This move could devastate the growth of education opportunity in such a competitive real estate market like New York City,” Cantor said during his remarks at Brookings. “Just think of how many families will have their choices taken away if Mayor de Blasio pursues these policies.” He added, “Our committees in the House will remain vigilant in their efforts to ensure that no one, no one from the government, stands in the schoolhouse door between any child and a good education.”

CLIMATE CHANGE

Washington Post: Can global warming be real if it’s cold in the U.S.? Um… yes!
It’s quite cold across much of the United States right now, thanks to the dread "polar vortex." Bitterly cold. Horrifically cold! So what does this tell us about global warming? Not very much. Sorry. A single cold snap in the U.S. doesn’t disprove global warming any more than the record heat waves currently hitting Australia prove that it’s happening. But since a lot of people — like Donald Trump — seem confused on this point, it’s worth recapping a few basics:

OPINION/COMMENTARY

The Hill: Carville: Less Washington, more Buffalo
Democrats all over the country heading into next year will be anxiously awaiting word from Hillary Clinton on whether or not she will be running for president. The opinion of most Democrats is that she would be a great candidate and an even better president. Having said that, she is a very deliberate and methodical person, and is going through a forensic process over the now very famous political decision over the best course of action. I would not be surprised if she ran, but I would also not be shocked if she didn’t run. However, being that I write a column and I am an occasional pundit, I cannot help but to dispense with a little bit of advice in the event that she does decide to run. The advice will be brief. Now, most people of my generation fondly remember the 1967 film “The Graduate” and Mr. McGuire’s great exchange with young Benjamin. Mr. McGuire says “Plastics.” My advice can be summed just as succinctly: Buffalo. That’s right. Buffalo, as in Buffalo, N.Y. The new site of campaign headquarters.

Politico: The Partisans in the Closet
According to the latest Gallup Poll, last year a record 42 percent of Americans considered themselves political independents. That’s the largest percentage of independents Gallup has recorded since the polling firm began doing interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Moreover, the percentage of independents rose to 46 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Based on these results, Gallup’s managing editor, Jeffrey Jones, concludes that the increase in independent identification “adds a greater level of unpredictability to this year’s congressional midterm elections.” Jones goes on to argue that, “with Americans increasingly eschewing party labels for themselves, candidates who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.” Don’t count on it. Despite Gallup’s findings, you won’t see a large number of successful independent candidates next November, nor will many Democratic or Republican candidates distance themselves from their own party on major issues. That’s because, despite the apparent rise in independent identification, Americans are actually becoming more rather than less partisan in their behavior. Yes, even “independents.”

Robesonian: The truth on the Carolina Comeback
Gov. Pat McCrory is spending a lot of time these days talking about what he calls the “Carolina Comeback,” his political slogan for what he describes as the state’s economic recovery created by his policy decisions in the last year. McCrory points to the drop in the state unemployment rate as the most prominent evidence that he has turned things around in North Carolina and he points to the “tax reform” passed last summer as a primary reason for the success in job creation. That would be the tax reform that McCrory and his supporters have claimed will allow North Carolinians to keep more of their “hard-earned money.” Well, not exactly. Wealthy taxpayers and out of state corporations will certainly pay less in taxes this year, but most people in the state will pay more, as will many small businesses who will lose a tax break lawmakers passed in 2011.

Talking About Politics: Mitt Tillis
Thom Tillis’ campaign paid too much attention to what he said and not enough to what you see in hisnew TV ad. It’s a perfect set-up for his opponents, whether Republicans or Kay Hagan. Tillis looks and sounds like the Mitt Romney that people hated in 2012: a wealthy corporate boardroom guy surrounded by white men in suits. The ad screams: I’m most at home in the corporate suites and at the head of the conference table. Not exactly a man of the people. Tillis’ message, of course, is a predictable attack on Obamacare. Yes, voters are down on Big Government. But they’re not exactly high on Big Business.

Charlotte Observer: Republicans’ faulty unemployment tale
While Congress debated an extension of federal long-term unemployment benefits this week, Republican leaders in Raleigh again tried to hide their role in leaving tens of thousands of jobless North Carolinians out in the cold. In a lengthy statement Monday, N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis blamed U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, for not helping the state’s long-term unemployed by failing to persuade Congress to grandfather North Carolina’s anticipated unemployment insurance reforms back in 2012. “She dropped the ball,” the Republicans said. This narrative, which Republicans have pushed before, is more revisionist than reality. It ignores that Berger and Tillis – who hopes to unseat Hagan in November – ultimately allowed North Carolinians to be denied $780 million in federal unemployment benefits last year. Let’s review:

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Micah Beasley, Communications Director
North Carolina Democratic Party
MBeasley
@Micah4NC

Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.