NCDP Clips for November 4, 2013

MCCRORY ADMINISTRATION

News and Record: Women’s vote in Virginia should send warning to McCrory
Visiting Richmond over the weekend, I was interested in reading about the Virginia governor’s race. Democrat Terry McAuliffe is expected to beat Republican Ken Cuccinelli soundly tomorrow. A big reason, as University of Mary Washington poly sci prof Rosalyn Cooperman wrote in the Times-Dispatch Saturday, is the women’s vote. Sitting Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell (who could not run for re-election) took 54 percent of the women’s vote four years ago. But a recent poll put McAuliffe 18 points ahead of Cuccinelli among women voters, Cooperman noted. "McAuliffe is all-in on a fully negative strategy to remind, if not scare, women voters about Cuccinelli’s conservatism on women’s health issues like abortion and contraception based on his actions as Virginia attorney general and state senator," Cooperman wrote. "So far, McAuliffe’s strategy has largely worked as social issues have remained prominent in the campaign and Cuccinelli has been forced to spend precious time and money convincing voters that, if elected governor, he will not take away their contraception."

Politics NC: Creating problems to fix
In so many ways, our leaders embody the crystal clear essence of the current Right. Pat McCrory’s policy agenda points to a key shortcoming in contemporary Republicanism. Like his fellow GOP’ers, he offers no solutions for actually existing problems. As Rob Christensen wrote, Sharon Decker’s commerce privatization idea has generated “more scandals than jobs” in most places it’s been tried. She offered no rebuttal except that they’ll be the first to avoid these pitfalls, a rather arrogant and naive assumption. The organizational structure, like many of our own slush funds, guarantees corruption will arise. As critics of the “good ol’ boy” outfits, the McCrory administration should be wary of these risks. Alas, the governor couldn’t think of anything else, so he duplicated a flawed model.

Salisbury Post: Lt. governor’s office gets private-sector boost
Before Gov. Pat McCrory recently backed off spending public dollars for upgrades to private bathrooms at the Executive Mansion, the trustee of another 19th century home two doors down already had figured another way to make more with less. When new Lt. Gov. Dan Forest arrived in January at the Hawkins-Hartness House, the office of the lieutenant governor for the past 25 years, the Victorian structure was struggling to play the role of a stately workplace for state government’s No. 2 executive. With cracked plaster, barely working toilets, banks of fluorescent lighting and heaps of exposed electrical wiring, the 1882 building owned by the state since the late 1960s needed to be refreshed, said Forest, a Raleigh architect. No extra funds for the interior were expected from legislators. “The place was just such a mess,” Forest said.

WNCN: Food stamp reduction to hit 1.5 million in NC
A reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be a big blow to 1.5 million North Carolinians. The decrease, starting this month, marks the end of a federal stimulus increase. According to state social services, a family of four with no income was getting $668 in food stamps a month. But starting Nov. 1, there will be a $36 cut. Wayne Black, director of social services, said that on average, it’s a 5.4 percent reduction in benefits. Some families are now finding other ways to makes ends meet. Crystal Stanfield, a food stamp recipient, turned to the Catholic Charities food pantry in Raleigh to stock up on groceries. She said she’s worried about feeding her son.
http://www.wncn.com/story/23855863/food-stamp-reduction-to-hit-15-million-in-nc
News and Observer: Billy Graham’s birthday bash guest list includes Palin, Trump, McCrory
Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are among the guests expected to celebrate the Rev. Billy Graham’s 95th birthday next week, The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (thanks to AP for moving the story). The bash, with 800 friends expected to attend, will be at the Grove Park Inn next Friday. The newspaper reports that Gov. Pat McCrory is planning on attending, as is Christian singer Michael W. Smith.

U.S. CONGRESS

The Grio: The GOP’s unprecedented blocking of Mel Watt
The blocking of Rep. Watt is significant because it speaks volumes about Republican opposition to President Obama. This just does not happen to sitting members of Congress. Although the FHFA is not a cabinet-level position, no lawmaker has been blocked for nomination to a cabinet post since 1843—that’s 170 years ago. Watt is a 21-year veteran of the House and a long-time member of the Financial Services Committee, with support from the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders. Yet, conservative interest groups opposed him, and Republican detractors such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) claim he lacks “technical expertise,” and does not meet the standards of “someone who will protect against future bailouts.” Translation: black nominees need not apply.

The Hill: Angry Dems beef up fight for Watt
Obama’s choice to lead the housing agency has been blocked, so far, by Senate Republicans.
Congressional Democrats are furious about the way Senate Republicans have blocked Rep. Mel Watt’s bid to take over a key housing regulator. The North Carolina Democrat’s battle to head up the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sets a unique tone in the Senate where confirmation fights are nothing new but have become particularly brutal under President Obama. Now, House Democrats are fighting for one of their own. Watt is a 20-year veteran of the House, and his failure to scale a procedural hurdle in the upper chamber has irked congressional Democrats who are digging in for a fresh fight. Senate Republicans insist that their nearly unanimous opposition to Watt is based on concerns about his policies and experience.

Beaumont Enterprise: Watt says he plans to stay Obama nominee
"Despite this setback, I remain thankful for President Obama’s nomination and humbled by his confidence in me," Watt said in a statement. While U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., was one of two GOP senators who voted Thursday to cut off debate and let Watt’s nomination go forward, critics blasted other Republicans for failing to extract the nomination. Powerful conservative groups are opposing Watt’s confirmation, and some Republicans say he lacks political independence and technical expertise for the post, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "It’s a shame that fringe Republicans and special interests had the day," state Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller said in a release.

The Daily Beast: Equal Rights Showdown in the Senate With Historic ENDA Vote
The United States Senate is poised to pass a ban on workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians for the first time in American history, with 60 senators publicly committing to vote Monday for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. All 55 Democrats and five Republicans have said they will support the bill, reaching the 60-vote threshold needed to bypass a filibuster. A number of senators are taking significant political risks by voting for ENDA—the most notable of whom is a Democrat. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) may face the toughest reelection campaign of any incumbent senator in 2014. He’s running against conservative rising star Rep. Tom Cotton in culturally conservative Arkansas, a state that has become increasingly difficult for Democrats. Even a year out, polling has consistently showed the campaign in a dead heat.

The Hill: Senate expected to advance ENDA
The Senate later today is expected to be in a position to advance a gay rights bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), as Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said Monday that he can support the bill. "After listening to Nevadans’ concerns about this issue from a variety of viewpoints and after numerous conversations with my colleagues, I feel that supporting this legislation is the right thing to do," Heller said Monday. "This legislation raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstance." With that announcement, Heller became what could be the 60th vote to end debate on a motion to proceed to the bill later today.

Charlotte Observer: Gay rights legislation gains bipartisan support
Gay rights advocates from both parties are newly upbeat about the prospects for Senate passage of legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The outlook for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act reflects the nation’s growing tolerance of homosexuality and the GOP’s political calculation as it looks for supporters beyond its core base of older voters. The first test vote is Monday. "I think society continues to evolve on the issue of gay rights," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a co-sponsor of the measure. "As more and more gay individuals are open about their sexual orientation, people come to realize that they are their neighbors, their family members, their friends, their co-workers. That’s made a big difference."

Buzzfeed: Three Pages Of Rand Paul’s Book Were Plagiarized From Think Tanks
An entire section of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2013 book Government Bullies was copied wholesale from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation, BuzzFeed has learned. The copied section, 1,318 words, is by far the most significant instance reported so far of Paul borrowing language from other published material. The new cut-and-paste job follows reports by BuzzFeed, Politico, and MSNBC that Paul had plagiarized speeches either from Wikipedia or news reports. The book was published in August 2013 by Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group. In this case, Paul included a link to the Heritage case study in the book’s footnotes, though he made no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from Heritage.

EDUCATION

Dome: Morning Memo: Teacher protest carries political implications
Teachers, parents and students are expected to show their displeasure toward Republican-led education policies Monday in a proposed protest and possible walkout. The N.C. Association of Educators is encouraging teachers not to walk out but to "walk in" to school and start a dialogue on the issues teachers and schools face, such as low wages and budget cuts. But Republicans – Senate leader Phil Berger most prominently – are using any action by teachers as a political tool.

News & Record: N.C. teachers hold ‘walk-in’ entering schools Monday
North Carolina public school educators who are unhappy with recent spending cutbacks and another year without pay raises will highlight those challenges as they head to work this week. Many teachers intend Monday to participate in a “walk in” in which they’ll wear red and enter together through the front door on the way to morning classes as a sign of unity. They’re also being urged to hold meetings after school to discuss concerns. They’re inviting parents and elected officials to visit. The North Carolina Association of Educators promoted the event as an alternative to a “walk-out” pushed by some teachers in recent months. Public employee strikes are against state law. Some Republican legislators say NCAE is still actively promoting a strike. The group’s top leader says that’s not true.

DigTriad: Local Teachers Begin Walk-in Day (VIDEO)
Guilford County Schools (GCS) teachers began their "Walk-In" Day Monday morning, as part of a statewide effort to exhibit appreciation for teachers. GCS says the effort positively counters an idea that originally started on social media–a plan for teachers to walk out of their classrooms in protest of the budget’s teacher pay freezes and end of teacher tenure. Someone used a pseudonym to create the Facebook page that initially called on teachers to walk out. The page garnered national attention and criticism from both the public and North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). The NCAE appealed to state school districts to instead consider other means of expressing teacher support. Many districts have opted to conduct a "walk in."

ABC11: Teachers hold ‘walk-in’ protests at schools
North Carolina public school educators who are unhappy with recent spending cutbacks and another year without pay raises are protesting those challenges at work Monday. Many teachers took part in a "walk in" and wore red to school while entering together through the front door on the way to morning classes as a sign of unity. They’re also being urged to hold meetings after school to discuss concerns. They’re inviting parents and elected officials to visit. The North Carolina Association of Educators promoted the event as an alternative to a "walk-out" pushed by some teachers in recent months. Public employee strikes are against state law.

WCNC: Groups urge ‘walk-in’ to support teachers (VIDEO)
Several teacher groups are saying they won’t take part in a “walk-out” at school Monday, as a Facebook page is urging them to do. The page “NC Teachers Strike!” was created to advocate a teacher walkout on November 4, but has instead turned into a rallying cry to “walk in” to show support for teachers and public education. Kendra Crews, a third and fourth grade teacher at East Elementary School in Statesville, is one teacher who plans on being in the classroom Monday morning. “One day may not seem like a lot to everybody else, but that’s a whole day of instruction that we get behind,” she said. She posted an impassioned letter about teaching on her Facebook page, and invited NBC Charlotte to read it.

WNCN: Legislative cuts forcing teachers out of the classroom
North Carolina is beginning to see and feel the effects of the sweeping changes state lawmakers made to public education over the summer. As part of a $20.6 billion budget that Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed in July, legislators eliminated bonuses for teachers with higher degrees and extended the teacher pay freeze. The law also directs school districts to offer their top teachers a chance to sign four-year contracts in exchange for pay raises totaling $5,000 while gradually eliminating tenure. By 2018, all teachers will work under one-, two- or four-year contracts that replace tenure rights requiring school administrators to follow a defined process when firing a teacher. The cuts have all but been welcomed by the state’s educators, forcing some to leave the classroom all together. "We are going down a road that I thought was already scary," said former Wake County teacher Anastasia Trueman. "I’m now at the point where I’m too frightened to continue."

VOTING RIGHTS

The Tribune Papers: Offended by Criticism of Don Yelton
Those of the Republican Party leadership and those who were offended by the remarks made by Honorable Don Yelton on a nationally televised program in which he remarked about Whites and lazy Black folks as it relates to voter registration should have instead applauded him for having the courage to say what many Black and White folks feel. Unfortunately, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show is hardly worth anyone’s time and attention and certainly should not have been given the credibility it was. I am personally offended that anyone would deem Don Yelton as anything but a brilliant, hard working soldier for all the people of the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, the State of North Carolina, and especially the Republican Party that he has served so honorably. And I will stand by his side against anyone who calls down this man that I have leaned on so many times to help the underprivileged and me to understand issues that affect their lives. No sugar coating is the realm of truth that Don operates from. He is a philanthropist of huge proportions who has helped the Red, Yellow, and Black folks of this community in ways that are immeasurable. It is ludicrous for anyone to insinuate that having to secure an ID is somehow a racist act or discriminatory towards black people or any people. Moreover, by calling the voter ID law racist, the left is claiming that race is connected with ID possession. The left believes and promotes the stereotype that races other than white are more likely not to own a photo ID. But there are no statistics to prove what race has more ID. And in Georgia and Indiana where ID’s were recently required, voter registration has gone up dramatically.

Politico: Wisconsin voter ID trial begins
Voter ID advocates and opponents alike will be watching Wisconsin on Monday as a new federal trial on the state’s photo ID law begins. The case is the first federal trial under the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court struck down part of the law in June, and it’s one of the first cases to challenge voter ID under what’s known as Section 2 of the VRA. Section 2, which was unaffected by the Supreme Court’s decision, prohibits procedures that discriminate based on race and other protected groups.

Political Wire: Texas Voter ID Law Snags Former Speaker
Former House Speaker Jim Wright (D) was denied a voter ID card at a Texas Department of Public Safety office, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports. Said Wright: "Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID." "After the difficulty he had this weekend getting a proper ID card, Wright, 90, expressed concern that such problems could deter others from voting and stifle turnout. After spending much of his life fighting to make it easier to vote, the Democratic Party icon said he is troubled by what he’s seeing happen under the state’s new voter ID law."

HEALTHCARE

CNN Health: What’s up with Obamacare and my health care?
As the politicians fuss and fight over the merits of the biggest overhaul of the health insurance system in this country, you may be wondering, "What does this all mean to me?" Here’s what we know so far about what’s up with your health care.

2013/2014

Charlotte Observer: Charlotte mayoral candidates urge voters to cast ballots
The state parties are helping the Charlotte candidates identify supporters. Both parties micro-target their voters with sophisticated databases that include not only detailed voting history but personal information gleaned from public records and consumer data banks. Republicans use the data to classify would-be supporters as high-, mid- or low-propensity voters. So do Democrats. “We certainly have that kind of sophisticated software that we’re employing in Cannon’s race,” says state Democratic Party spokesman Micah Beasley. “The name of the game is turning out folks likely to vote.”

USA Today: Obama at home on campaign trail for McAuliffe
Facing criticism over his health care plan as well as lower approval ratings, President Obama returned Sunday to the friendly confines of the campaign trail. "I want to get in on the action!" Obama told a boisterous crowd of more than 1,500 who gathered in a high school gym on behalf of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Obama, McAuliffe and other Democratic speakers sought to link Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli to the recent federal government shutdown, while Cuccinelli and Republicans hammered Obama and McAuliffe over problems with the president’s health care law. Saying that Tuesday’s election in Virginia has national ramifications, Obama praised McAuliffe, defended his own record, and attacked Tea Party Republicans for a series of budget disputes that included last month’s 16-day shutdown.

First Read NBC News: First Thoughts: Minding the middle – and the base
If the polls are correct in Virginia — a new Quinnipiac survey shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe ahead by six points, 46%-40% — then we’re likely going to re-learn an important point: The sign of a healthy political party is that you can appeal to the middle without alienating the base. That is precisely what McAuliffe has done in his campaign, as he’s reached out to the state’s business middle while mobilizing the party’s liberals. By contrast, Republicans appear to have two problems right now. Either they are appealing to the base, which is alienating the middle (see Virginia). Or when they appeal to the middle, they are alienating the base (see Chris Christie in New Jersey). Yes, Christie is a day away from a big win in New Jersey — due in part to his embrace a year ago of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. But as we pointed out on Friday, Christie has actually LOST support from Tea Party Republicans from June (40%-22% fav/unfav) to now (39%-31%), according to the NBC/WSJ poll. To win national elections, you have to be able to appeal to the middle without alienating your base, as well as appeal to the base without alienating the middle.

Real Clear Politics: Virginia Governor – Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe vs. Sarvis
Real Clear Politics Poll Average for the Virginia Governor race.

Vindy’s: N.C. Iraq vet, candidate switches to Dem, blasting tea party, GOP for hurting U.S.
An Iraq War veteran campaigning for Congress in eastern North Carolina against U.S. Rep. Walter Jones has changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat, saying the tea party has made the GOP too extreme. In a statement on his website Thursday, former U.S. Army Sgt. Jason R. Thigpen said the recent federal government shutdown triggered his switch. “I simply cannot stand with a party where its most extreme element promote hate and division amongst people,” said Thigpen, 36. “Nothing about my platform has, nor will it change. The government shutdown was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. I guess being an American just isn’t good enough anymore and I refuse to be part of an extremist movement in the GOP that only appears to thrive on fear and hate mongering of anyone and everyone who doesn’t walk their line.”

WITN: Walter Jones Challenger Switches Parties, Thigpen Now Democrat
An Iraq War veteran campaigning for Congress in eastern North Carolina against U.S. Rep. Walter Jones has changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat, saying the tea party has made the GOP too extreme. In a statement on his website, former U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Thigpen said the recent federal government shutdown triggered his switch. He said the GOP is now dominated by an "extremist movement" that "only appears to thrive on fear and hate mongering of anyone and everyone who doesn’t walk their line. Thigpen said he wouldn’t change any of his policy positions, including stanch support for gun rights. Such a switch is not unprecedented. Third District incumbent Jones pulled off the reverse move in 1994, becoming a Republican after losing a Democratic primary two years earlier.

News & Record: Maine candidate for governor announces he’s gay
A six-term congressman and former paper mill worker hoping to unseat Maine Gov. Paul LePage next year announced that he’s gay – a response to what he called a "whisper campaign" by political opponents hoping to weaken his gubernatorial bid. U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, 58, wrote in an op-ed provided to The Associated Press, the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News that "whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls" attempted to get voters to question whether he’s gay. "Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: `Yes I am. But why should it matter?’" he wrote in the op-ed published Monday by the two newspapers. The Democrat’s announcement adds intrigue to a tight three-way race with LePage, the Republican incumbent, and wealthy independent Eliot Cutler.

2016


Yahoo News: Schumer gives Hillary Clinton an early endorsement
Hillary Rodham Clinton says she isn’t in a hurry to make a decision about running for president again. Her former Senate colleague, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, isn’t waiting for her to make up her mind. Schumer endorsed Clinton for president during a speech Saturday night at an Iowa Democratic Party dinner, more than two years before the state’s presidential caucuses. "Hillary’s experience is unrivaled and her vision is unparalleled," Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state. "It’s time for a woman to be president," Schumer said as the crowd of 750 rose to their feet with enthusiastic applause. "And so tonight, here in Iowa, and I won’t get this opportunity again, I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president and, when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support." With Clinton, Schumer said, the party can "vanquish the Ted Cruz, tea party Republicans in 2016." Cruz is a Texas senator and tea party favorite.

NBC News: It’s beginning to look a lot like 2016
NJ Gov. Chris Christie may be focused on his reelection campaign, but others see it as his next step toward the 2016 presidential race. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

OPINION

Citizen-Times: Yelton’s mindset shows where GOP headed
With regard to the letter “Response to Yelton comments was predictable” (AC-T, Oct. 31), I agree that Yelton is not a good example of the typical Republican’s thoughts. But, why is it that Yelton and such a small minority of Republicans are able to control and direct the majority into closing down the government? Yes, there are more people receiving government assistance now than before President Obama took office, but that is due to the recession that started under a Republican president. Since Obama became President, Republicans have worked very hard to make him a “one-term president,” but failed. So in his second term those same minority Republicans are trying everything they can to discredit him and his presidency.

Huffington Post: Congress Needs to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
Here in the United States, we’re united by a fundamental principle: we’re all created equal and every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We believe that no matter who you are, if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve the chance to follow your dreams and pursue your happiness. That’s America’s promise. That’s why, for instance, Americans can’t be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. And yet, right now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. As a result, millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are. It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense. That’s why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land.

Politics NC: A failure to communicate
How many Department of Health and Human Services employees does it take to screw in a light bulb? We don’t know but it will take 19 to run their new marketing and public relations shops. I wonder how much they’ll get paid? You see, they knew something was broken over there. Hell, we all have. I mean, the bad headlines have been coming non-stop since January. Something had to be wrong.
But what was it? Could it have been hiring campaign hacks at inflated salaries? Nah. How about falsely blaming Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin for not expanding Medicaid? Nope. What about refusing to answer to the press and having body guards hold off reporters? Not likely. What about losing the most experienced members of the professional staff? Uh-uh. Maybe the large severance packages for people leaving after a month? That wouldn’t do it. What about the $300,000 consulting contracts to political cronies? Big deal. Or altering documents? I doubt it. How about ending WIC or Work First during the government shut down? It’s just the poors. Who cares?

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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.