JAMIE HAHN FOUNDATION
Friends of a North Carolina Democratic strategist fatally stabbed in her home six months ago are gathering this weekend to kick off a foundation named in her memory. Events for the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation include a Friday night party in downtown Raleigh remembering what would have been her 30th birthday. There also will be service opportunities Saturday and a rock concert that evening, followed by Sunday brunch. Foundation leaders want the organization to identify, mentor and train young leaders interested in working at nonprofits, socially-minded businesses or in public service. Hahn died April 24, two days after she was attacked in Raleigh. Her husband was also stabbed but survived. The best man at the couple’s wedding was charged with murder and other crimes. Police haven’t disclosed a possible motive.
Dome: After ‘The Daily Show’ targets NC’s voting law, precinct chair resigns
An appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” has cost Don Yelton, a member of the N.C. Republican Party, his position as Buncombe County precinct chair for the GOP. A five-minute segment of the Comedy Central show Wednesday night about the state’s new election law, focused a good bit on Yelton’s racial views. On Thursday, as the video went viral, Claude Pope, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, called for Yelton’s resignation.“The North Carolina Republican Party finds the comments made by Mr. Yelton to be completely inappropriate and highly offensive,” Pope said in a statement the state GOP released. Yelton said the law’s intent is not racial but designed to “kick the Democrats in the butt.” He also criticized lazy college students and “lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything” because the state was issuing free IDs to ease compliance. “I can’t believe we have that many stupid people in North Carolina. People who don’t know how to follow directions and go down there and get a photo ID for free at the DMV. Do we want those people picking your president?”Yelton asked.
Don Yelton, the man who made racially insensitive comments on Wednesday’s "Daily Show," has resigned his position as a GOP precinct captain upon the request of the North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope. Mr. Pope denounced his statements as "completely inappropriate and highly offensive." Pope also clarified that contrary to "The Daily Show’s" identification, Yelton is not in fact a member of the NCGOP Executive Committee. PREVIOUSLY: If you’re being interviewed on camera by a national TV show, it’s probably a good idea to keep your racist thoughts inside. Especially if that show is "The Daily Show." And especially if you’re a Republican spokesman in North Carolina talking about your state’s voter ID laws. Aasif Mandvi sat down with Don Yelton, a North Carolinian precinct captain who apparently missed the "don’t be racist" memo. In the interview, he copped to loving portrayals of President Obama as a witch doctor, claimed that one of his best friends is black, and even used both the phrase "lazy blacks" and the N-word while defending the state’s voter ID laws. The Justice Department filed suit against North Carolina’s voter ID law in September. “Allowing limits on voting rights that disproportionately exclude minority voters would be inconsistent with our ideals as a nation,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at the time.
Conservative activist Don Yelton has stepped down from his position as Republican precinct chairman of Buncombe County, N.C., following controversial comments that aired Wednesday on the Daily Show. The remarks were made during an interview with Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi, during which Mandvi and Yelton discussed efforts to pass new voter identification requirements into in North Carolina, a requirement that many critics argue will subdue voter turnout in the state. “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt,” Yelton said. “If it hurts a bunch of college kids [that are] too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of whites, so be it.” Yelton also made a series of racially incendiary remarks to Mandvi as they discussed the law. “If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it,” Yelton added. Following his controversial interview, the Buncombe county GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell vehemently distanced the party from Yelton’s comments.
NY Times: In Search of Republican Grown-Ups
The leaders of the Republican Party, in full flight from their disastrous and juvenile shutdown stunt, now want to restock their ranks with grown-ups. “Let’s face it: it was not a good maneuver,” Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah told The Times recently. “You’ve got to have the adults running the thing.” Mr. Hatch and other establishment senators believe that grown-ups would not threaten the country’s full faith and credit, or keep the government closed, in order to get their way. That’s true, but it’s a rather pallid definition of maturity. A mature and responsible political party would do more than prevent a government default; it would offer serious solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems instead of running from them.
MSNBC: When minority outreach meets a mixed message
To his credit, Reince Priebus, like many of his RNC predecessors, has acknowledged that his party has a problem when it comes to racial and ethnic diversity, and has made constructive comments about minority outreach. But there are limits to the efficacy of rhetoric. When Priebus talks to minority communities, he invariably faces questions about the inherent contradictions of the Republican message: the party is simultaneously asking more African Americans to considers voting for GOP candidates, even as GOP officials make it deliberately more difficult for African Americans to vote. The contradiction applies to state-based outreach, too. [Earlier this week in North Carolina], Republican state officials filed to urge a federal court to dismiss two lawsuits challenging changes in North Carolina’s voting laws, changes opponents contend disproportionately harm African American voters. A third challenge by the U.S. Department of Justice is waiting in the wings.
A group of African-American Republican leaders face a daunting challenge: getting more minorities to vote Republican in a state where the majority of African Americans are registered Democrats. "There’s a lot of misinformation, and unfortunately, the Republican Party needs to get it together," said Dr. Ada Fisher. That is where a new African-American recruitment office comes into play. It opened on Monday in Charlotte and is intended to spearhead new relationships and bring over new minority GOP through outreach in churches, community centers and historically black colleges and universities. "We’ll be sharing our message, and that message is pocketbook issues. What’s a pocketbook issue? We’re talking jobs, small businesses," said Earl Phillip. But North Carolina Democratic House Leader Larry Hall is skeptical the new outreach will win over many new African-American hearts and minds. "If they go [to] the African American community and listen to what the people say, they’ll understand they’ll have to change their policies, not just change the location of their offices," said Rep. Hall.
News and Observer: Chapel Hill’s Meyer named to House District 50 Chapel Hill’s Meyer named to House District 50
A Democratic Party executive committee voted unanimously Thursday to appoint Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools administrator Graig Meyer to a vacant House District 50 seat. Meyer’s sons Mason and William ran to hug their dad after he accepted the N.C. House District 50 Democratic Party Executive Committee’s nomination. Meyer replaces now-state Sen. Valerie Foushee, who was appointed to the District 23 seat formerly held by retired state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird. Foushee was sworn into her new office Sept. 25. Kinnaird resigned in August to devote her time to helping voters prepare for the state’s new strict voter ID rules. The House and Senate terms both expire in December 2014. The four-member committee – Orange County representatives Dave Gephart and Phyllis Mack-Horton, and Durham County representatives Will Wilson and Ann Hedgspeth – conferred privately before casting their 269 votes – 97 for Durham’s members and 172 for Orange’s members. The committee spread its first vote among several candidates. The second vote, just a few minutes later, was unanimous. Meyer’s nomination will be forwarded to Gov. Pat McCrory for official appointment.
NO LOVE FOR McCRORY: The American Economic Development Institute released a new report this week suggesting governors would make the best presidential candidates — but they left Gov. Pat McCrory’s name off the list. The organization publishes a list of top states in its “pro-business” rankings — one of many groups that publishes rankings in this area, all done by different standards. And it believes the governor’s in its Top 10 would make great presidential candidates. "A good start might be for voters to consider governors of the Top 10 Pro-Business States," said Dr. Ronald R. Pollina, the groups president, in a statement. "The Top 10 States averaged a 5.6 percent unemployment rate, well below the current national average of 7.8 percent. In terms of budget deficits, the Top 10 states average shortfall as a percent of their general funds is 2.1 percent, well below the national average of 9.5 percent. "North Carolina doesn’t appear on this list.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory wants a federal court to throw out a lawsuit against his restrictive voting measure–but he isn’t offering a reason why. McCrory, a Republican, also is telling a top Democratic state official to keep quiet about his opposition to the controversial law. The fate of the legal challenge to North Carolina’s voting law could offer a key indicator of whether existing protections are strong enough to stop the rash of GOP efforts to make voting more difficult, now that the Supreme Court has invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act.
Matt Brown did what digital experts would run over their grandmothers to do. He got a half a million people to read his message, and it didn’t cost him a cent. North Carolina politicians better take notice.Think about those numbers for a second. A half-million readers. In a state where 4.5 million people voted in last year’s presidential election. That is 500,000 people who took the time to click on a link and read what Matt Brown had to say. What he had to say was about teachers. He said he was glad his wife Haley was quitting teaching. You might not agree with what he said. But The News & Observer says Brown’s missive is the most-read story on its website this year. A half-million people paid attention to it. So you should too.
North Carolina public educators unhappy with legislators and Gov. Pat McCrory set aside talk of a grassroots teacher walkout early next month, replacing it what they call a more positive job action. A handful of teachers who promoted a walkout Nov. 4 instead are now endorsing a "walk in" on that day to promote unity and collaboration on improving schools and working conditions. The North Carolina Association of Educators is also behind the event. They want teachers to wear red and walk in together that morning. The 70,000-member association, the state’s largest teacher lobbying group, had not endorsed the walkout. But president Rodney Ellis said he wasn’t surprised teachers considered such risky action in light of legislative and gubernatorial decisions to end teacher tenure rules, freeze pay and create a new taxpayer-funded program for some children to attend private schools.
Fresh from a bruising fight with House of Representatives Republicans over the budget, U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged them to work with him to overhaul the country’s immigration laws. "Let’s do it now. Let’s not delay. Let’s get this done, and let’s do it in a bipartisan fashion," Obama said at a White House event that was part of a renewed push he is making on one of his top domestic priorities. But immigration reform remains stalled in the Republican-led House and, if anything, the budget fight that caused a 16-day shutdown of the federal government could add to the struggles facing immigration reform. In one sign of the hurdles, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said the House would not consider any "massive, Obamacare-style legislation," though the spokesman left open the possibility of tackling immigration reform through smaller, piecemeal bills. The comment hinted at the antipathy many Republicans feel toward any initiative associated with Obama’s agenda. That antipathy has grown after a budget struggle in which Republicans sought to weaken the 2010 health care law known as "Obamacare."
Former Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has a simple message for opponents of comprehensive immigration reform within the Republican Party — you’re “flat, dead wrong.” “I think there’s an art to governing and part of the art of governing is recognizing the reality as it exists, not as you want it to be. Part of the reality is that some people on my side of the aisle do not understand is that even if you can identify those 10 or 12 million illegals here, you’re not going to round them up, put them on 747s, and send them home,” Ridge said in an interview with BuzzFeed. “Number two, by and large, 99.9 percent of them, I think, have been basically — they are trying to be responsible, thoughtful, law-abiding people and a very, very few small minority are breaking the law. And, by the way, they’re also contributing in many different ways to the success and the diversity of the economy,” Ridge said of undocumented workers in the United States. As DHS Secretary, he said, “I was down in a lot of those detention centers along the southern border, in Arizona and New Mexico. I don’t find those people coming across the border trying to harm us. They’re trying to take advantage of what we’ve always stood for, and that’s opportunity, economic and political freedom,” the former Pennsylvania Governor said. Ridge is no stranger to the internal fights over immigration within the GOP. During his time in the Bush administration, for instance, he found himself at odds with the White House, which was widely viewed as too progressive on the issue for most conservatives, at one point.
For President Obama and advocates hoping for a House vote on immigration reform this year, the reality is simple: Fat chance. Obama repeatedly since the shutdown has sought to turn the nation’s focus to immigration reform and pressure Republicans to take up the Senate’s bill, or something similar. But there are no signs that Republicans are feeling any pressure. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly ruled out taking up the comprehensive Senate bill, and senior Republicans say it is unlikely that the party, bruised from its internal battle over the government shutdown, will pivot quickly to an issue that has long rankled conservatives.
House Republican leadership has no plans to vote on any immigration reform legislation before the end the year. The House has just 19 days in session before the end of 2013, and there are a number of reasons why immigration reform is stalled this year
Following the fiscal battles last month, the internal political dynamics are tenuous within the House Republican Conference. A growing chorus of GOP lawmakers and aides are intensely skeptical that any of the party’s preferred piecemeal immigration bills can garner the support 217 Republicans — they would need that if Democrats didn’t lend their votes. Republican leadership doesn’t see anyone coalescing around a single plan, according to sources across GOP leadership. Leadership also says skepticism of President Barack Obama within the House Republican Conference is at a high, and that’s fueled a desire to stay out of a negotiating process with the Senate. Republicans fear getting jammed.
In theory, lawmakers hope that government programs work well, and if they don’t, try to fix them. In theory, our representatives hope that government agencies carry out their missions smoothly, and if something goes wrong, try to figure out what happened to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Obviously that’s not how things work in the United States, where one of the two parties doesn’t even believe in government. Republicans want to shrink government until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub! They think there’s nothing scarier than the prospect of a government employee trying to help! With beliefs like those, it’s not surprising that — with disturbing frequency — they root for failure in order to score points. Examples abound. After the attack in Benghazi, G.O.P. lawmakers were far more interested in laying blame and making the Obama administration look bad than in improving security for diplomats. In the midst of the I.R.S. scandal — which turned out not to be much of a scandal at all — Republicans seemed positively gleeful. Which brings us to today’s House hearing on the bumpy rollout of the federal health insurance marketplace.
Republicans think they’ve got a winner in Obamacare. They are so sure that the program is going to fail, that they are almost giddy. And in states across the country, Republicans governors and legislatures are doing everything they can to sabotage the implementation. In North Carolina, as in other Republican controlled states, the legislature and Pat McCrory rejected the expansion of Medicaid and refused to set up state exchanges. As a result, our premiums are higher than those of states that accepted the expansion and established their own market places. Republicans are sure that Democrats will get the blame.
Winston-Salem Journal: Hagan seeks enrollment, penalty delays
North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan said Thursday the Obama administration should delay by two months the period in which individuals can sign up for health insurance through the new government website and when financial penalties begin for those remaining uninsured. Hagan announced her call while identifying problems with the federal exchange "absolutely unacceptable." She said extra enrollment and penalty delays are needed to make up for lost time while the site has not been functioning. "North Carolinians are frustrated that they haven’t been able to enroll in health insurance plans, and I am just as frustrated," Hagan said in a prepared statement.
Though North Carolina was one of 26 states to reject Medicaid expansion, Medicaid reform will be vigorously debated in the year ahead. Moving forward, Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature have some very tough decisions to make. To decrease costs, the governor has proposed privatizing Medicaid and increasing competition among managed care plans. Currently, a five-person panel – one member selected by the state Senate, one by the House and three by McCrory – is studying the issue. Whatever the panel recommends and the governor and lawmakers decide, health care quality, access and costs are going to be major challenges for North Carolina and our country.
A prominent election watcher now says North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race is no longer a “toss up.” Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, shifted the outlook Thursday to call it “leans Democratic,” giving incumbent Kay Hagan the advantage a year out. The primary reason: the legislative upheaval and the baggage it may bring leading Republican candidate Thom Tillis. Sabato’s Crystal Ball ranking for the 2014 contest now aligns with the Rothenberg Political Report and the Cook Political Report, two other prominent election forecasters. Sabato writes: “Other than the national dynamics, state-level issues are impacting the race in the Tar Heel State. Freshly-minted Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and the Republican-controlled state legislature have passed a series of conservative measures into law, such as implementing new voter ID regulations and placing new restrictions on abortion clinics. With the accompanying controversies over this and other legislation, McCrory’s approval rating is stuck in the 30s, while only about a quarter of the state approves of the legislature. “The main beneficiary of the tanking Republican ratings has been Sen. Kay Hagan (D), who is in a better position now to win re-election. With the leading Republican option in the race being state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), a man directly involved in the unpopular actions of the General Assembly, Hagan’s chance of survival has definitely improved.
This week, the media have weakened two assumptions about Thom Tillis. On Monday he reported anemic fundraising numbers. Tuesday’s “Capital Tonight” highlighted the reality that his record will stunt, not expand, the appeal of his campaign. Together these stories should increase Democratic confidence heading into 2014. Six months ago, Tillis appeared to boast at least one major advantage, fundraising. Although he lagged behind Berger, the future speaker had drummed up ample funds for his party’s 2010 victories. Since taking control, he pursued corporate-shilling agenda that business liked so much he was named ALEC Legislator of the Year. His continued slew of bribes scored him flashy fundraising coups, which most of us thought would continue.
Terry, the eager student of Virginia, has become an obvious trope. And yet he keeps scribbling away. In just a few weeks, if the polls are to be believed, McAuliffe is going to win the race and will shortly thereafter be clicking his pen open-and-shut, open-and-shut as he signs new state laws. This is a surprising development. It’s not just that McAuliffe is the consummate Washington insider, Clinton vintage, embodying so much of what some people find gross about the subspecies. Or that parts of his private-sector experience look not unlike crony capitalism, with ethical questions continuing to haunt GreenTech Automotive, the electric-car company he ran. It’s that it has always been impossible to imagine the proudly skin-deep McAuliffe in a serious job. When Al Franken ran for Senate in Minnesota, he worked to show voters that, even though he was an electoral virgin and he had once made a very regrettable movie called Stuart Saves His Family, he in fact had deep thoughts on governing. When Terry McAuliffe fake note-takes, that’s the real Terry McAuliffe. Rarely has a would-be elected official been so ardent in his lack of earnestness.
Daily Kos: VA-Gov: Gov. Pat McCrory (R. NC) The Latest GOP Clown To Try & Save Ken Cuccinelli’s (R) Campaign
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory will campaign for fellow Republican and Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli on Thursday. The get out the vote rally, advertised by the Cuccinelli campaign, will take place in Roanoke, Va., at noon. During his 2012 campaign, McCrory benefited from visits by sitting Republican governors such as Chris Christie of New Jersey and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. It makes sense that McCrory would help Cuccinelli. They share a lot in common but the biggest thing that really makes them two peas in a pod is their love of disenfranchising voters
Ken Cuccinelli might have been expected to throw the kitchen sink at Terry McAuliffe in the final debate of a governor’s race the Republican attorney general is on track to lose. It was more like a Nerf football. Despite his stubborn, monthslong deficit in the polls, Cuccinelli was far more subdued here on the campus of Virginia Tech than in their previous two clashes, as he tried to present his Democratic opponent as full of “platitudes” but lacking actual plans to lead the commonwealth. Instead, McAuliffe was the aggressor for much of the hourlong encounter. He suggested hyperbolically that — if his opponent wins on Nov. 5 — women won’t move to Virginia for fear he would outlaw the pill, thousands of teachers will lose their jobs and divorces will become more difficult to obtain. “He’s been very clear that he doesn’t like my plan, but I have one,” Cuccinelli responded. “I like puppies, but I don’t bring a puppy home if I don’t have a plan for how I’m going to deal with that puppy. … He’s all puppy and no plan.”
An associate justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court is seeking another full eight-year term in 2014. Justice Robin Hudson announced her re-election bid Thursday. She was on the Court of Appeals for six years before being elected to the state’s highest court in 2006. Hudson is a former private-practice attorney and assistant appellate defender formerly from Greensboro. She went to Yale University and the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Judicial races are officially nonpartisan. Hudson is one of three registered Democrats on the seven-member court. The 61-year-old Hudson says a dozen former appellate court judges have endorsed her.
McClatchy DC: Sabato: Shutdown has hurt GOP efforts to win control of Senate
Here’s his analysis of North Carolina, a seat now held by Democrat Kay Hagan, and Louisiana, where Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, is seeking another term. "Other than the national dynamics, state-level issues are impacting the race in the Tar Heel State. Freshly-minted Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and the Republican-controlled state legislature have passed a series of conservative measures into law, such as implementing new voter ID regulations and placing new restrictions on abortion clinics. With the accompanying controversies over this and other legislation, McCrory’s approval rating is stuck in the 30s, while only about a quarter of the state approves of the legislature. The main beneficiary of the tanking Republican ratings has been Sen. Kay Hagan (D), who is in a better position now to win reelection. With the leading Republican option in the race being state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), a man directly involved in the unpopular actions of the General Assembly, Hagan’s chance of survival has definitely improved.
Hillary Clinton’s re-emergence on the national scene to address major policy issues and campaign for political allies is casting a shadow over her party’s still-unformed 2016 presidential field — and risking her own prime spot at its pinnacle. “The more she’s out there, the more we’re able to counter what she’s doing and hold her accountable for past actions, the better for us,” said Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the Alexandria, Virginia-based Stop Hillary PAC. “It provides us a vehicle to remind the public of the scandals that have dogged her.” Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, an unsuccessful contender for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, said Clinton can’t cloister herself if she wants to remain relevant. “You can’t not be out there at all, so she’s trying to find a good balance, and I think she’s probably got a good balance,” he said in a recent interview. “I don’t think the fact that she’s coming out again in public means that she’s made up her mind” on a potential 2016 White House bid, Dean added. “She has something to contribute, and she’s not going to sit on the sidelines.” The should-she or shouldn’t-she question is one that will be debated as long as Clinton, 65, remains silent on whether she will attempt to follow President Barack Obama’s historic election with one of her own by becoming the nation’s first female occupant of the Oval Office.
Liberal billionaire George Soros is lending his name to the “Ready for Hillary” super PAC, donating $25,000 to become a co-chair of the group’s National Finance Committee ahead of a major donor confab in New York. Soros political director Michael Vachon confirmed Soros’s involvement with the group in an emailed statement to POLITICO. “George Soros is delighted to join more than one million Americans in supporting Ready for Hillary,” Vachon said. “His support for Ready for Hillary is an extension of his long held belief in the power of grassroots organizing.” Soros, a longtime Democratic donor to help grass-roots efforts within the party, has been one of the Democrats’ biggest rainmakers over the past decade. His donation also comes at a time when supporters of Clinton, who has yet to say whether she’ll run for president in 2016, are trying to figure out the coexistence of “Ready for Hillary,” which is focusing on grass-roots involvement, and Priorities USA, the former pro-President Obama super PAC that launched devastating attack ads against Mitt Romney last year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Thursday that the United States strike a "no-spying" agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, saying alleged espionage against two of Washington’s closest EU allies had to be stopped. Speaking after talks with EU leaders that were dominated by allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency had accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel’s private mobile phone, the chancellor said she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words. Germany and France would seek a "mutual understanding" with the United States on cooperation between their intelligence agencies, and other EU member states could eventually take part. "That means a framework for cooperation between the relevant (intelligence) services. Germany and France have taken the initiative and other member states will join," she said. In a statement issued after the first day of the summit, the EU’s 28 leaders said they supported the Franco-German plan. Merkel first raised the possibility of a "no-spying" agreement with Obama during a visit to Berlin in June this year, but nothing came of it. The latest revelations, part of the vast leaks made by former U.S. data analyst Edward Snowden, would appear to have renewed her determination for a pact.
Winston-Salem Journal: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on working to end infant mortality
There has been no greater joy in my life than the days each of my three children were born. Though my kids are all grown now, I remember exactly what it was like to be a new mother concerned with only one thing – the health and safety of my child. September was Infant Mortality Awareness Month and National Newborn Screening Month, and I was pleased to see the Winston-Salem Journal call attention to this pressing issue in a recent editorial, “Infant mortality: Long standing problem demands broader solution” (Sept. 26). I could not agree more. As chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families and as a mom, protecting the health of North Carolina’s kids is one of my top priorities in the U.S. Senate, and I have introduced two bills to reduce the likelihood of infant death.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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