NCDP Clips for November 12, 2013

PAT MCCRORY

Dome: Morning Memo: McCrory’s style fuels concern, cost GOP candidate votes

Gov. Pat McCrory had a tough few days in the headlines. The Republican candidate for Charlotte mayor suggested McCrory may have cost him votes. The governor’s controversial approach to speaking and governing drew front-page stories. And McCrory had to read in the New York Times about a handful of governors who are doing it right and being considered for higher office. From this morning’s paper: Gov. Pat McCrory’s improvisational style is putting him in hot water and critics are questioning his credibility. At least a dozen times in his first 10 months as governor, McCrory’s remarks have sparked controversies. Michael Munger, a Duke University political analyst who considers himself a McCrory fan, said the governor’s aw-shucks style honed as Charlotte mayor is leading to embarrassing mistakes. “He seems to have been blindsided,” Munger said, comparing McCrory to George W. Bush’s transition from Texas governor to president. “There is a narrative that he’s sort of a bumbler.”

Political Wire: McCrory May Be Too Unscripted

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) "refuses to follow the political script. He scoffs at politicians who use teleprompters. He casts aside speeches his aides write. It’s all part of the image McCrory wants to project as the outsider," the Raleigh News and Observer reports. "But McCrory’s improvisational approach has risks. At least a dozen times in his first 10 months as governor, McCrory’s remarks have sparked controversies. McCrory is prone to misspeaking. He generalizes in a way that can insult key constituencies. And he mispronounces the names of even his closest aides."

Politics NC: Flying Solo

I owe Pat McCrory’s communications team an apology.They’re not incompetent. They have an incompetent boss. John Frank’s profile of Pat McCrory puts to rest any speculation about who is to blame for McCrory’s gaffes and his refusal to acknowledge them. It’s Pat’s fault. And McCrory lacks enough self awareness to understand how he looks to the rest of us. Throughout his short tenure, McCrory has said things that just aren’t true over and over again. And then he’s rarely corrected himself. He said he was at the Moral Monday protests but he wasn’t. He blamed the budget woes on Perdue when the budget was put forth by fellow Republicans Thom Tillis and Phil Berger. He said under-qualified applicants for high paying jobs at DHHS beat out other, more experienced, applicants when in fact, there were no other applicants. The list is too long to print here but you get the point.

KAY HAGAN

Dome: Morning Memo: Will Hagan’s new tough talk on health care work?

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is distancing herself from the White House and its signature health law – but will it work? The Democrat will hold a conference call Tuesday to push for a inquiry into the problems with healthcare.gov. It’s a way to help inoculate her campaign from the program’s troubles as Republicans in North Carolina see the issue as a main tenant of the 2014 campaign. The call is schedled for 10:15 a.m. The move that shows how much the new federal health insurance program may affect her re-election bid, a point Republicans are pressing hard. The question is whether Hagan’s new tough talk about the healthcare law will work with voters, many of which are not enamored with the new law.

Politico: Kay Hagan seeks ‘complete’ Obamacare probe

Senators will ask the Obama administration for a full investigation into the bungled launch of HealthCare.gov, according to a letter being circulated by Sen. Kay Hagan. The North Carolina Democrat is collecting signatures this week for a letter to Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Gene Dodaro and Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson asking for “a complete, thorough investigation to determine the causes of the design and implementation failures of HealthCare.gov.” “These problems are simply unacceptable, and Americans deserve answers and swift solutions. Taxpayers are owed a full and transparent accounting of how the vendors contracted to build the site failed to launch it successfully,” a draft of the letter reads.

Dome: Sen. Hagan calls for probe of healthcare launch

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan plans to ask for an investigation into the launch of the new healthcare law saying the problems are “unacceptable.” “These problems are simply unacceptable, and Americans deserve answers and swift solutions,” Hagan said in a draft letter first reported by Politico. “Taxpayers are owed a full and transparent accounting of how the vendors contracted to build the site failed to launch it successfully.” The Greensboro Democrat plans to hold a teleconference Tuesday morning to discuss the letter.

U.S. CONGRESS

Politico: Congress seems to be done legislating for the year

It’s just mid-November, but it’s quickly becoming a reality: Washington could be mostly done making laws for the year. If it isn’t evident by looking at the thin congressional calendar, top sources in both chambers are downright grim that the final eight weeks in 2013 will produce any legislative breakthroughs, like a broad budget agreement or an immigration deal. House Republicans say they will step up their oversight of the Obama administration in their final 15 days of session in 2013. The slow, plagued and flawed Obamacare rollout has given the GOP the fodder of its dreams, as at least three committees are digging into the issue, issuing subpoenas and holding committee hearings. Meanwhile, a few hundred paces on the other side of the Capitol dome, the Senate is full of motion, working on passing a slew of bills that the House has little appetite for taking up. House GOP aides are already branding the increase in activity as an attempt to distract Americans from Obamacare’s problems.

ELECTION 2013

Real Clear Politics: How Much Did Demographics Matter in Va. Race?
Other analysts, like Washington Monthly’s Ed Kilgore and Democratic demographic godfather Ruy Teixeira, have made similar arguments. The latter argues: “In 2009, Virginia voters were 78 percent white and 22 percent minority. In 2013, they were just 72 percent white and 28 percent minority — not far off the 70/30 split in the 2012 presidential election. There you have the key to [Terry] McAuliffe’s victory: Despite performing much better among white voters than the hapless Creigh Deeds, [Bob] McDonnell’s Democratic opponent, McAuliffe would nevertheless have lost this election if the white/minority voter distribution had mirrored that of 2009. It was the increase in the minority vote that put him over the top.” I almost hate to be contrarian here, because we all are on the same basic page — this is an important data point. If Democrats can mirror the Obama coalition without Obama on top of the ticket, that’s a very good sign for them in midterm elections going forward, and a very good sign in presidential elections.

Bloomberg: Virginia, Alabama Voter Choices Show Tea Party Declining

In the closing days of his losing campaign for Virginia’s governorship, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the contest a referendum on Obamacare. Virginia voter Lee Killen saw it instead as a referendum on the Tea Party — and he voted no.

Killen, a Republican-turned-independent from Fairfax, cast his ballot for Terry McAuliffe less to endorse the Democrat than to lodge a protest against the small-government movement he said has hijacked his former party. “I don’t particularly like McAuliffe, but I went with him basically because I disagree with the Tea Party approach to life — no compromise, no middle ground,” Killen, 70, a retired software engineer, said in an interview just after casting his vote yesterday. “Cuccinelli has been a Tea Party leader from the very beginning, and those values are not my values.”

2014

The Washington Post: The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014

8. North Carolina (D): The air war is heating up already. Americans for Prosperity recently hit Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with an ad tying her to President Obama while Senate Majority PAC came to her defense with a spot saying those who are attacking her tried to shut the government down. North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R) won’t run, which is good news for state House Speaker Thom Tillis, albeit not unexpected news, either. Tillis still has to deal with tea party candidate Greg Brannon, who is dealing with his own issues, like potential plagiarism. (Previous ranking: 8)

Winston Salem Journal: Local broadcaster Bill Flynn announces run for U.S. Senate

Although the primary election is more than five months away, another Republican challenger, Bill Flynn, has tossed his name into the hat to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Kay Hagan. Flynn, 55, who announced his candidacy Sunday at a “Sunday Funday” event in Kernersville, was born in Kentucky and has lived in North Carolina since 1966 and in Forsyth County since 1983. He currently lives in Kernersville and works as a radio broadcast host on WEGO 980 AM, owned by Truth Broadcasting Corp. Flynn spoke to a crowd of about 50 people under a picnic shelter at Triad Park, discussing his political views and ideology.

Philly: Corbett wages reelection fight with historically low poll number

With his announcement last week that he would run for reelection, Gov. Corbett stepped into politically uncharted territory. Never in modern Pennsylvania history has an incumbent governor hobbled by such low job-approval ratings asked the public for another term. Yet Corbett is doing just that, even as his Republican Party vacillates between cautious optimism and outright panic over his chances of staging what pundits say would be one of the biggest political comebacks in the state’s history. Within the governor’s campaign, the answer is crisp and consistent: It’s still early. There is a year between now and the election. Corbett has a story to tell. When he tells it, they say, the public will respond.

Reuters: California governor has high approval but many voters undecided on re-election

Approval ratings for Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown are at their highest point since he took office, but that popularity may not translate into votes among independents in his bid for a fourth term next year, a new poll shows. About 55 percent of Californians surveyed by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times said they approved of Brown’s performance, up from 50 percent in June and 49 percent about a year ago, the poll showed. Voters in the most populous U.S. state were split, however, on whether the 75-year-old deserves another term, with about a third in favor, a third opposed and another third undecided, the poll showed. Brown is widely expected to run in elections scheduled for next year. "Democrats are going to support his re-election no matter what, and Republicans are equally likely to oppose it," said Dan Schnur, director of the USC/Los Angeles Times poll and the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

2016

Slate: The Media’s 2016 Presidential Fantasies

These are dark times for America’s most beloved industry, the political media. In three years, the country will elect a new president. As they have since 2009, reporters and readers assume that the Democratic candidate, and likeliest winner, will be Hillary Clinton. Forget about the voters—won’t anyone think of the Web traffic? Nobody wants to cover the coronation of an icon who’ll be too staffed up and confident to give real access (or leaks) to reporters. This crisis is the best (maybe only) way of explaining why every slow news day produces another round of 2016 fantasia. Today’s game started with Noam Scheiber’s look at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the definitive political read on a woman whom Scheiber’s own magazine hadpreviously profiled as a hapless Senate candidate in a “deadlocked” race.

Political Wire: Little Room for a Clinton Challenger

First Read looks at the latest NBC News poll and finds Hillary Clinton has huge advantages over any Democrat willing to challenge her for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. "She gets 70% among females, 70% among whites, 71% among seniors, 72% among the lowest-income Democrats, and 73% in the Northeast and 70% in the Midwest. Where she underperforms is among men (62%), college grads (62%), and 60% among upper-income Democrats – these are the remnants of Obama’s white coalition in the ’08 Democratic race. But a reality check here: She’s still getting SIXTY PERCENT among these folks, which suggests there isn’t really a substantial opening for another Democratic candidate (whether it’s Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, or anyone else). Remember, in 2005, there was some real Clinton fatigue among Democrats that provided the opening for Obama. That’s not the evidence right now." Meanwhile, the New York Times reports "a dozen or so other political operatives and 170 donors will gather in New York to plot how to help Mrs. Clinton win in 2016. The meeting is the first national finance council strategy meeting of Ready for Hillary, a ‘super PAC’ devoted to building a network to support Mrs. Clinton’s potential presidential ambitions."

Politico: Poll: Hillary Clinton 44, Chris Christie 34

Hillary Clinton bests Chris Christie by 10 points in a hypothetical presidential match-up, a new poll shows. According to a poll released Tuesday by NBC News, the former secretary of state leads the New Jersey GOP governor 44-34 percent. Both Christie and Clinton are considered top possible 2016 contenders, and the survey followed Christie’s decisive reelection win in the Garden State last week. The poll also showed that Clinton enjoys more unified Democratic enthusiasm for her potential presidential bid than Christie does from his party. Thirty-two percent of GOP and GOP-leaning respondents called Christie their top choice for the Republican presidential nod; 31 percent named someone else. In contrast, Clinton was the first choice of 66 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents for the Democratic nomination; 14 percent said they’d opt for another candidate.

The Daily Beast: Don’t Believe the Chris Christie Hype—Look at His Economic Record

Chris Christie’s greatest obstacle to becoming president of the United States is neither his weight nor his conservative credentials. It’s his crappy economic record as governor of New Jersey. Yes, I know Christie just won an impressive reelection victory, securing 60 percent of the vote in a blue state that President Obama won by 17 percent in 2012. And for those who weren’t aware of how amazing that feat was, Christie was happy to explain it Sunday morning, taking a victory lap with appearances on NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News. The governor is starting to make Kim Kardashian look camera-shy.

New Republic: Hillary’s Nightmare? A Democratic Party That Realizes Its Soul Lies With Elizabeth Warren

If Warren were to challenge Clinton, the contours of the campaign would be fairly obvious. Outside New Hampshire, Warren would thrive in caucus states, where Obama organized his way to victory in 2008. Clinton, on the other hand, would probably embrace a two-pronged strategy. First, she would move left on as many issues as possible. Since leaving the State Department, she has already staked out liberal ground on gay rights and voting rights, and she recently used the word “progressive” so many times in a single speech it was tempting to describe her condition as “severe.”

Politico: Wall Street’s nightmare: President Elizabeth Warren

There are three words that strike terror in the hearts of Wall Street bankers and corporate executives across the land: President Elizabeth Warren. The anxiety over Warren grew Monday after a magazine report suggested the bank-bashing Democratic senator from Massachusetts could mount a presidential bid in 2016 and would not necessarily defer to Hillary Clinton — who is viewed as far more business-friendly — for the party’s nomination. And the fear is not only that Warren, who channels an increasingly popular strain of Occupy Wall Street-style anti-corporatism, might win. That is viewed by many political analysts as a slim possibility. It is also that a Warren candidacy, and even the threat of one, would push Clinton to the left in the primaries and revive arguments about breaking up the nation’s largest banks, raising taxes on the wealthy and otherwise stoking populist anger that is likely to also play a big role in the Republican primaries.

VOTING

The Daily Tar Heel: Study shows North Carolina highest among early voting

A study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. showed North Carolina had one of the highest rates of early voting in the county. The study showed 55.8 percent of voters used early voting in 2008 and 56.3 used it in 2012, making it one of the top nine states for early voting. North Carolina recently passed a law limiting the amount early voting days to 10 from 17, less than the two full weeks the study recommended.

EDUCATION

Politics NC: Bonded

Last month, the consensus was that Wake County’s school bond had few statewide implications. Just because a solidly Democratic county endorsed education didn’t mean the idea would catch on elsewhere. Just over the county line, another school bond referendum proved the consensus wrong. On Tuesday, Johnston County votersapproved school and community college bonds. The margins of victory were an identical 76%-24%. This large a margin is striking, because exurban areas tend to fiercely oppose taxation and spending. Even there, now, voters appear anxious to mitigate education cuts. Thus, concerns over public education aren’t limited to liberal regions. Johnston just showed that a pro-education message can resonate in exurban counties–such as Cabarrus, which happens to have a singularly odious legislator. Rural areas may be just as receptive. Since they’re starved for cash, the small towns will find greater state funding particularly attractive.

OPINION

Fox News: Insurance cancelled? Don’t blame Obama or the ACA, blame America’s insurance companies

The fact is if you are one of the estimated 2 million Americans whose health insurance plans may have been cancelled this month, you should not be blaming President Obama or the Affordable Care Act. You should be blaming your insurance company because they have not been providing you with coverage that meets the minimum basic standards for health care. Let me put it more bluntly: your insurance companies have been taking advantage of you and the Affordable Care Act puts in place consumer protection and tells them to stop abusing people. The government did not “force” insurance companies to cancel their own substandard policies. The insurance companies chose to do that rather than do what is right and bring the policies up to code.

Wilkes Journal-Patriot: Agency public relations expansion is inexcuseable

A dozen years ago, 16 Senate Republicans signed onto a bill that would have made a remarkable change in North Carolina state government. The 2001 bill had a simple title: “Abolish P.R.” It would have banned state agencies from employing what are known as legislative liaisons, people who lobby legislators on behalf of state agencies and keep their agency bosses informed about legislators’ plans for their budgets and laws which they enforce.Dozens of these folks walk the halls of the Legislative Building each day when the General Assembly is in session. They include one or two employees from the governor’s office, the executive branch agencies that are under his charge, and the agencies — like the Department of Agriculture and Department of Insurance — whose heads are elected independently of the governor. The bill also would have banned employment by state government of anyone in public relations, those people who respond to reporters’ telephone calls and emails, and who ply their email baskets with press releases touting the wonderful accomplishments of their bosses. One of the bill sponsors, by the way, was a freshman senator named Phil Berger. That would be the same Phil Berger who today is the top dog in the Senate, and like his Democratic predecessor, employs a couple of people whose job is getting out the Senate Republican point of view to the public.

The New York Times: Why I (Still) Support Obamacare

Stories like these explain why I really hope that Obamacare succeeds. Say what? Here’s the logic: The Cold War era I grew up in was a world of insulated walls, both geopolitical and economic, so the pace of change was slower — you could work for the same company for 30 years — and because bosses had fewer alternatives, unions had greater leverage. The result was a middle class built on something called a high-wage or a decent-wage medium-skilled job, and the benefits that went with it. The proliferation of such jobs meant that many people could lead a middle-class lifestyle — with less education and more security — because they didn’t have to compete so directly with either a computer or a machine that could do their jobs faster and better (by far the biggest source of job churn) or against an Indian or Chinese who would do their jobs cheaper. And by a middle-class lifestyle, I don’t mean just scraping by. I mean having status: enough money to buy a house, enjoy some leisure and offer your kids the opportunity to do better than you.

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Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
MBeasley
Twitter: @Micah4NC

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