NCDP Clips for January 31, 2014


Charlotte Observer: NC jobless rate falls to 6.9%, but job creation lags

North Carolina’s unemployment rate took a sharp turn downward in December, suggesting a dramatic economic turnaround is well underway, but economists warned that the statistics are distorting a more sober reality. The state’s December rate tumbled to 6.9 percent from 7.4 percent the month before, a level last seen in September 2008. Just a year earlier, in December 2012, North Carolina’s jobless rate was 9.4 percent. The data was issued Tuesday by the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce. The U.S. jobless rate for December was 6.7 percent.

Dome: Cooper takes on McCrory, GOP lawmakers in new video

Attorney General Roy Cooper is ramping up his apparent run for governor in 2016, with a new video and website promising Democrats better days ahead. The video opens with a selection of the all-too-familiar mocking national news coverage of the GOP-run state legislature, which became common fare last year. Then – cue the soothing background music – a sweater-clad Cooper offers a message of hope. “To say that the last year has been painful to North Carolinians is a profound understatement,” Cooper says. “… What had taken decades to build is being torn down right before our eyes. And for many of us, it’s personal.”

WRAL: Roy Cooper on attack in new web ad

Attorney General Roy Cooper has a new web video out slamming Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled General Assembly and pledging to reverse Republican gains in the legislature. Cooper, a Democrat, has all-but-announced a run for governor in 2016, placing him on a political collision course with McCrory. The two are at odds over policy, with McCrory even hiring outside counsel to keep an eye on how well Cooper’s office defends a new state elections law. North Carolina’s attorney general is a separately elected statewide office. In the video, Cooper laments the loss of progress in the state and offers a laundry list of what he sees as policy missteps by McCrory and legislative Republicans.

Dome: Morning Memo: Republicans counter Republicans’ job message

The Republican messaging about North Carolina’s improving economy is being challenged by an unlikely source – Republicans in Washington. Not directly, of course. But as Republicans in Washington push back against President Barack Obama on the jobs issue, they are inadvertently making the same argument as Democrats and like-minded groups in North Carolina about our state’s economy: it’s not as good as the unemployment numbers indicate and doesn’t amount to Gov. Pat McCrory’s “comeback” mantra.

News and Observer: GOP legislators should release documents behind voter ID law

A host of groups – including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Justice Department – are spending time filing papers in federal court these days seeking email and other communications related to voting law changes in North Carolina. Republican lawmakers, enamored with having control of the General Assembly and the governor’s office for the first time in more than 100 years, have been like kids in the electoral candy shop. They stuffed themselves when it came to redistricting, giving themselves partisan advantage beyond common sense, and then they turned to outright voter suppression. Their election law changes added a photo voter ID requirement, curbed the early voting period, ended straight-ticket voting and did away with same-day registration – all of which happen to disproportionately affect minority, younger and older voters, many of whom are inclined to vote Democratic. Voter ID? Have to prevent voter fraud, its supporters say. But voter fraud has been virtually nonexistent in North Carolina. The maneuvers on early voting and straight-ticket voting and the like were more blatant in terms of partisanship. Those Republican lawmakers did it because they could.

Camel City Dispatch: Rep Paul Stam Calls on Legislative Aids to Help Bailout Continuously Failing DHHS

In an email sent out to legislative assistants on Thursday, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-NC37) has asked the same to volunteer to help the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services complete the work that must be done regarding pending applications and re-certifications for FNS benefits in order to meet a USDA deadline. If the work is not completed by February 10th, the USDA has indicated that they will continue with the next step of the formal process that will result in administrative funding for the FNS program being cut from the NCDHHS. Not only is this an admission that NCDHHS and its director Dr. Aldona Wos are so behind the ball that they cannot catch up- it also raises serious questions of applicant privacy and the accuracy of the work after it is completed.

WRAL: Money chase leads to $1 million state Senate seat

Chad Barefoot is the state Senate’s $1 million man. No, he is not a rainmaker or the chairman of a particularly potent legislative committee. In fact, during the 2012 election, Barefoot was a political novice facing the usually daunting task of unseating a four-term incumbent, Doug Berger of Franklin County. Nor is Senate District 18 some especially lucrative or powerful seat. Representing rural Franklin County and suburban eastern Wake County means only one vote out of 50 and the same $13,951 per year plus expenses any other rank-and-file state lawmaker gets. That said, the Barefoot-Berger race became the most expensive in the state, a seven-figure affair where drifts of money from official party apparatuses and independent "dark money" groups snowballed together and landed in an avalanche of television ads and direct mail. It is also where political motive met opportunity.


NCDP Release: As McCrory boasts, jobless NCians give up

As Governor McCrory boasts about a ‘Carolina Comeback,’ a much more alarming economic trend is occurring behind the reality of the unemployment rate in North Carolina. In a special interests-backed move, Gov. McCrory and North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) Republican majorities denied some 70,000 jobless North Carolinians from receiving unemployment insurance last year. This maneuver had a direct impact on the state’s labor force: North Carolina’s labor force began to shrink. The state is experiencing the largest labor-force contraction it’s ever seen — 77,000 fewer people were working or searching for work this October than a year ago…Cutting unemployment insurance apparently hasn’t encouraged the unemployed to look harder for work: It has caused them to drop out of the labor force altogether.


Dome: Republicans counter Republicans’ job message

The Republican messaging about North Carolina’s improving economy is being challenged by an unlikely source – Republicans in Washington. Not directly, of course. But as Republicans in Washington push back against President Barack Obama on the jobs issue, they are inadvertently making the same argument as Democrats and like-minded groups in North Carolina about our state’s economy: it’s not as good as the unemployment numbers indicate and doesn’t amount to Gov. Pat McCrory’s “comeback” mantra.

Washington Post: Are there 91 million Americans ‘on the sidelines’ looking for work?

As for the administration’s “prediction,” we have noted repeatedly that this was a projection issued on January 9, 2009 — before Obama even took the oath of office–by two aides, Christina Romer, the nominee to head the Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein, an incoming economic adviser to Vice President-elect Biden. The 14-page report thus was not an official government assessment, or even an analysis of an actual plan that had passed Congress, as Black claims. Instead, it was an attempt to assess the impact of a possible $775 billion stimulus package and how much of a difference it would make compared to doing nothing. The administration certainly embraced the paper in later testimony, yet we have never found any citation of the unemployment projection by any administration official.


Winston-Salem Journal: Tillis to miss another GOP forum

Republican U.S. Senate candidates in North Carolina will hold another meeting for voters to learn where they stand on issues, but state House Speaker Thom Tillis won’t be among them again. A group called Lake Norman Conservatives scheduled a candidate forum tonight at a restaurant north of Charlotte and minutes from where Tillis lives. Forum organizers say that Tillis cited a previous engagement in declining the invitation.

Dome: Republican Bill Flynn takes early exit from US Senate race

Days after losing his campaign manager, Republican Bill Flynn is withdrawing from the U.S. Senate race. Flynn, a Winston-Salem area talk radio host, entered the race later than his competitors and becomes the first to depart. In a crowded race, Flynn had trouble distinguishing himself from the handful of other candidates seeking to wear the tea party mantle. His campaign manager, Strategic Red’s Chris McCoy, left the campaign Monday. McCoy told Dome earlier this week that Flynn disagreed about how best to win the race for the Republican nomination. Flynn, McCoy said, wanted to retread the same ground from his losing 2012 bid for Congress, so they parted ways.

News and Observer: Morning Memo: GOP Senate candidates talk impeachment, ending Social Security

Three GOP candidates for Senate courted tea party conservatives Thursday night. Here’s the report from AP: Three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate spoke Thursday night to convince conservative voters that they’re best to challenge Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in November, saying they’ll fight to repeal the health care overhaul law and reduce the federal government’s role in daily life. Cary obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon, the Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte and Army veteran Heather Grant of Wilkes County participated in a forum along Lake Norman, not far away from the home of state House Speaker Thom Tillis, another candidate who didn’t attend. Both Tillis and Hagan were barely mentioned during the forum by the participants, although an empty chair affixed with Tillis’ name sat alongside the in-person candidates.

ROLL CALL: Nancy Pelosi: ‘I’m Running’

I’m running,” the California Democrat said in a statement forwarded to reporters by her office on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve already started the paperwork process. My work is not finished.” The first woman to serve as speaker, Pelosi has left many to wonder whether she might decide it isn’t worth serving another two years fighting against a Republican legislative agenda intent on thwarting her progressive priorities at every turn. Her critics have accused her of standing in the way of a younger generation of lawmakers who would like to climb higher up the leadership ladder. Even before Pelosi spelled out her intentions on Thursday, however, she wasn’t showing signs that she was slowing down. “Since entering the Democratic leadership in 2002, Leader Pelosi has raised more than $363 million for Democrats,” said a Pelosi spokeswoman on Thursday afternoon in an email to CQ Roll Call. “This cycle the Leader has raised $35.5 million (as of January 1, 2014), and she traveled to 50 cities in 2013. Pelosi has raised $26.7 directly for the DCCC, already fulfilling her cycle goal of $25 million and has paid her $800,000 dues in full in November.”

Political Wire: Sandra Fluke Mulls House Bid
Attorney and women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke, who came to prominence after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, told KPCC that she’s considering running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). Said Fluke: "I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate. A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running."


Salon: Chris Christie is falling apart: His hilarious 2016 hubris finally takes its toll

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is sinking fast. Yet another national poll finds that his 2016 hopes are fading, as he falls from first to third place among likely GOP presidential contenders in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, and 12 points behind Hillary Clinton. Like earlier polls, this one finds that Christie is losing his best attribute for 2016: his wide appeal with Democrats and independents. Now comes another blow: He’s lost the Ron Fournier primary. A year ago the centrist National Journal reporter, long a Christie promoter, wrote that “the smartest man in politics may be Chris Christie.” Today he writes: “I take it back,” in a piece headlined “Why I Was Wrong About Chris Christie.” While taking no stand on Christie’s direct culpability in the scandals erupting around him, Fournier says they show that “Christie ran a hyper-political governor’s office that focused relentlessly on a big re-election win to position him for a 2016 presidential race.”

The Washington Post: Hillary Clinton is the biggest frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination ever. Yes, ever.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 61-point edge over Joe Biden in new Washington Post-ABC News polling makes her the single biggest frontrunner for a Democratic presidential nomination in the history of the poll, an affirmation of the conventional wisdom that the nomination is hers for the taking. Clinton stands at an eye-popping 73 percent in a hypothetical 2016 primary race with Biden, the sitting vice president, who is the only other candidate in double digits at 12 percent. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has signed a letter along with a handful of other Democratic senators urging Clinton to run, is at 8 percent. And that’s it. That lead is almost three times as large as the one Clinton enjoyed in Post-ABC polling in December 2006, the first time we asked the 2008 Democratic presidential primary ballot question.

Slate: 2016 Primary; Clinton Ekes Out Narrow 61-Point Lead

Today’s too-early 2016 primary poll comes from ABC News and the Washington Post—1,003 adults, roughly the same number of Republicans and Democrats.

The Wall Street Journal: A 2016 Surprise? Jeb Bush Thinking About the Race

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fueled speculation that he will run for president in 2016,telling reporters Wednesday that he is still undecided about a run and would decide later in the year. “I’m going to think about it later,” Mr. Bush, a Republican, said during a visit to a charter school. “I don’t wake up each day saying, ‘What am I going to do today to make this decision?’ I’m deferring the decision to the right time, which is later this year,” he said. He added that the decision would be based on whether he can “do it joyfully,” adding: “We need to have candidates lift our spirits. It’s a pretty pessimistic country right now.” He also said he would consider whether a campaign would be right for his family.


NC Policy Watch: Lawmakers: What we talked about when we talked about voter ID

The rubber’s about to meet the road in the voting rights lawsuits pending in federal court here as the parties start to ask the hard questions. What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation? That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session. The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications. But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers.


The Daily Beast: The GOP’s Latest Ploy: Flatter Married Women

In the latest attempt to defuse the left’s ‘war on women’ rhetoric, Republicans are trying to flatter white, married women as “good” while portraying single women as libidinous parasites. Common wisdom in the political media is that Republicans have a woman problem. GOP politicians on both the state and federal level attack legal abortion with an obsession rivaling Captain Ahab. Attacks on contraception have grown more shrill, culminating in Mike Huckabee’s instantly notorious RNC speech wherein he claimed Democrats who support contraception access are telling women they can’t control “their libidos.” A number of Republican politicians, most notably Todd Akin, lost in the last election after making offensive remarks about rape victims. The phrase “the Republican war on women” approached “Just Do It” levels of cultural recognition. Most importantly, Barack Obama was handed the White House because of women: 55 percent of women voted for Obama in 2012, but men voted for Romney at 52 percent. Women vote more than men, making the Republican’s woman problem seemingly intractable. Women hate the Republicans, end of story, right? Republicans, unsurprisingly, disagree that it’s a lost cause, and have spent the past year dumping huge amounts of money on consultants and prodding politicians into meetings to craft a new strategy when it comes to women.


The Technician: Economic Underdevelopment

Republicans have battered public education since taking control of the General Assembly in 2010, but the real pummeling happened after Gov. Pat McCrory’s election. With a fellow partisan in the Capitol, the General Assembly proceeded to dismantle what was considered a bright spot for education in the South. Legislators have eliminated teacher tenure and pay increases for those with graduate degrees, although research shows that teachers with higher degrees produce better students. The GOP-controlled legislature created a loophole that allows tax dollars to channel to private schools while cutting budgets for public schools. It asked schools to do more with less and piled on standardized tests, questionable indicators of performance. Finally, it ignored widespread protests for raises—most North Carolina teachers haven’t seen an increase in nearly a decade. The result has been referred to as a teacher exodus to surrounding states. The GOP doesn’t see education as economics—figures like Budget Director Art Pope and U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis insist that so-called economic development programs better encourage growth.

Huffington Post: Why I Left the Republican Party

Former Nevada Lieutenant Governor Sue Wagner is not alone in her courageous decision to exit the Republican Party. Just last August, I made the same decision and resigned my position as Polk County Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chair. I immediately changed my party affiliation to Independent and later moved forward to officially switch my party affiliation to Democrat. Just as Sue Wagner said, I also stated that the Republican Party has left me. Back in 1996 when I registered to vote as a Republican and supported Robert Dole in the Iowa caucuses, I did not expect to some day welcome the opportunity to vote in the Democratic Party of Iowa caucuses, but that is precisely what I did on Tuesday, January 21 of this year. Several reasons led me to my decision, and they’re similar reasons to why Wagner says she left the GOP. Republicans misread the electorate in 2012, and I became increasingly aware that I needed a change because the GOP no longer shared my values. The Iowa GOP holds views that are increasingly out of touch and are too extreme for me, and their unwillingness to compromise is on full display every day from local, state and national Republicans.


Micah Beasley, Communications Director
North Carolina Democratic Party

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