NCDP Clips for October 28, 2013

MCCRORY ADMINISTRATION

Charlotte Observer: NC Republican Party helps recruit for McCrory administration jobs, raising partisan concerns

The N.C. Democratic Party did not send a weekly email when the party controlled the governor’s mansion under Gov. Bev Perdue, said spokesman Micah Beasley. “What we have here is a litmus test based on partisan affiliation instead of qualifications,” he said. “This is a brazen attempt and effort to make sure partisan friendlies are getting state government jobs.” McCrory has insisted that he is seeking the most qualified applicants, regardless of party affiliation. But his hiring practices have drawn repeated scrutiny. Earlier this year, two 24-year-old campaign aides received prominent positions with salaries topping $80,000 at the Department of Health and Human Services, and Secretary Aldona Wos hired a vice president at her husband’s company on a contract worth $310,000 for 11 months of work.

News and Observer: NC plans to adopt job recruitment strategy that has caused problems elsewhere

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker and her team presented a sober economic picture of North Carolina last week to several hundred business leaders and economic developers from the Triad. The visual presentation showed the state shedding thousands of textile, furniture and tobacco jobs. Since 2000 alone, North Carolina had lost 42 percent of its manufacturing jobs. But Decker, whose style is part business leader, part evangelist, was also there to sell attendees on the state’s new job recruitment strategy – moving the industrial recruiting, marketing, travel and tourism divisions from their traditional home in the N.C. Department of Commerce to a new public-private nonprofit corporation. The N.C. Partnership for Prosperity has become the hot public policy idea among Republican governors in recent years, and it has been endorsed by both Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and, in concept, the GOP-controlled legislature. Starting early next year, dozens of Commerce Department employees will transfer from working for a public agency and start working for a nonprofit corporation.

The Reflector: Fitzsimon: McCrory unfiltered

One Monday early in July Governor Pat McCrory wrongly blamed President Obama for the state’s decision to cut off federal emergency unemployment benefits to 70,000 long-term laid off workers in the state. McCrory said at the time that the Obama Administration refused to give the state a waiver to allow it to make cuts to the state unemployment insurance program without jeopardizing the additional federal emergency benefits. That was not true and it is beyond dispute. Later that same day in July, McCrory’s own press office issued a correction, saying that the governor “misspoke” and that the Obama Administration had nothing to do with it, that only Congress could grant the waiver. That didn’t stop McCrory from making the same claim just two days later in Wilson, again blaming President Obama for the denial of federal emergency unemployment benefits. This week McCrory was at it again, telling an interviewer with “Triad Today” in Greensboro that President Obama wouldn’t allow the state to receive the emergency benefits while making changes to the state unemployment system to pay off a debt to the federal government. McCrory’s press office hasn’t issued a correction this time and they didn’t after he made the false claim in Wilson either. The distortions, falsehoods, and misleading claims just keep coming from the governor, raising an important question.

NC GOP

The Hill: Yelton was fired for saying what the NC GOP won’t

As a guest on Wednesday night’s Daily Show segment on voter suppression, Don Yelton, a North Carolina Republican Party precinct chair and member of his county’s Republican Party Executive Committee, made a number of racist and disturbing comments. Since this segment’s airing, his racist remarks and indefensible commentary on well-intentioned voters throughout North Carolina have gone viral and a storm of negative press has risen over his role in the NC Republican Party. On Thursday afternoon, after pressure from both the state and county Republican Party, Yelton publicly resigned. Yet, throughout this disturbing spectacle and the firestorm that has ensued, something very important- is missing. Yelton, a self-described “bigot,” wasn’t fired because he made racist comments in his capacity as a Republican Party official on national TV—racist remarks aren’t something new in the GOP camp. Yelton was fired because he said what NC Republicans are too afraid to say in public.

WBTV: NC GOP helping McCrory recruit for government jobs

The N.C. Republican Party is helping Gov. Pat McCrory recruit like-minded applicants to fill hundreds of state government jobs. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports (http://bit.ly/16ChVxY ) the party’s executive director sends a weekly notice to county GOP leaders advertising available state jobs. Todd Poole says he started sending the emails in August, when he took over the party’s daily operations. The spreadsheet of available jobs and a link to a website listing openings goes out to about 130 officials and associates. Poole says the McCrory administration didn’t ask him to send the emails. The governor’s office didn’t respond to the paper’s questions about recruitment efforts. A spokesman for state Democrats says the party didn’t send a weekly email when the party controlled the governor’s mansion under Gov. Bev Perdue.

Washington Post: North Carolina legislator: Obama not a traitor to Kenya

Birther alert! North Carolina state Rep. Larry Pittman (R), speaking to a friendly crowd in Concord on Monday, joked that President Obama hasn’t done anything to harm his native country — Kenya.
“Someone had posted something [on Facebook] with a picture of Barack Obama and across it said ‘traitor,’ ” Pittman said. “And, you know, I don’t always agree with the guy, I certainly didn’t vote for him but I gotta defend him on this one. I just don’t think it’s right at all to call Barack Obama a traitor. There’s a lot of things he’s done wrong but he is not a traitor. Not as far as I can tell. I haven’t come across any evidence yet that he has done one thing to harm Kenya.”

WRAL: Pittman makes birther joke

Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, joked in recent remarks that President Barack Obama has not committed treason … to Kenya. Pittman was taped making the remarks in during a town hall meeting in Concord by a tracker for American Bridge, a Democratic group that follows Republicans at public speaking engagements. This isn’t the first time Pittman has gained notice for remarks he made to a citizen group. In May, Pittman had to apologize to House Speaker Thom Tillis for suggesting Tillis’ U.S. Senate bid had caused the House leader to back off conservative policies. Pittman has also suggested abortion doctors ought to be hanged and suggested that the state ought to amend its constitution to resist attempts by the federal government to regulate firearms. It’s unclear whether Pittman actually believes Obama was born overseas or was just playing for laughs. A call to his house and an email to his legislative email account were not immediately answered.

WCNC: Backlash continues after NC official’s comments on voter ID laws
But democrats say the damage is done. Democratic Senator Malcolm Graham, told us , “That he said very publicly and some of these conversations go on behind closed doors, it just gives you a window into what some of these conservative lawmakers are thinking.” He says it proves the attorney general was right to file suit against the state regarding the new law. All of this happened the same week the republicans launched a nationwide effort to reconnect with African Americans. The first so-called African American Engagement office in North Carolina opened in Mecklenburg county on Monday. Some say they may need it now more than ever.

Huffington Post: GOP Lawmaker Cracks Birther Joke

North Carolina state Rep. Larry Pittman (R) joked that it wasn’t right to call President Barack Obama a traitor because he had not done anything to harm Kenya at a town hall meeting Monday. "I noticed on Facebook recently somebody had posted something with a picture of Barack Obama and across it said ‘traitor.’ And, you know, I don’t always agree with the guy — I certainly didn’t vote for him — but I gotta defend him on this one," he said. "I just don’t think it’s right at all to call Barack Obama a traitor. There’s a lot of things he’s done wrong but he is not a traitor. Not as far as I can tell. I haven’t come across any evidence yet that he has done one thing to harm Kenya." The audience guffawed. The video was recorded by Democratic super PAC American Bridge, a group that tracks Republican politicians.

Talking Points Memo: NC GOPer Who Called Blacks ‘Lazy’ Uses N-Word To Defend Himself

Don Yelton, the North Carolina GOP official who resigned over the fallout for his racially charged "Daily Show" interview, used the N-word to defend himself in an interview withTheWrap.com Friday. “When a n—– can use the word n—– and it not be considered racist, that’s the utmost racism in the world, and it’s hypocrisy," he said. Yelton told a North Carolina radio station Thursday that the "Daily Show" had edited his interview in such a way that his comments were taken out of context. In the interview on voter ID laws, Yelton had criticized "lazy black people that wants the government to give them everything," and told correspondent Aasif Mandvi that one of his "best friends" is black. He told TheWrap.com that his local Republican party, which he had called "gutless" for asking him to resign, should have spun his "Daily Show" interview to show the party accepts all points of view. "They can turn it into a positive if they want to,” Yelton said. "The party does not try to control the speech of individuals. That’s the point they could have made. You have to let people have an opinion.”

News & Observer: A year after Romney loss, GOP woes run even deeper

A year after losing a presidential race many Republicans thought was winnable, the party arguably is in worse shape than before. The GOP is struggling to control tensions between its tea party and establishment wings and watching approval ratings sink to record lows. It’s almost quaint to recall that soon after Mitt Romney lost to President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee recommended only one policy change: endorsing an immigration overhaul, in hopes of attracting Hispanic voters. That immigration bill is now struggling for life and attention in the Republican-run House. The bigger worry for many party leaders is the growing rift between business-oriented Republicans and the GOP’s more ideological wing. Each accuses the other of bungling the debt ceiling and government shutdown dramas, widely seen as a major Republican embarrassment. The problems don’t end there.

2013/2014

Charlotte Observer: Tillis boasts big GOP fundraising lead in Senate race, but still lags well behind Hagan
GOP congressional leaders have helped North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis to a wide fundraising lead over his Republican U.S. Senate challengers. But the Cornelius Republican still lags far behind incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Tillis has raised nearly $829,000 through September. That includes $250,000 he lent his campaign on the last day of the filing period. Greg Brannon, a Cary physician and tea party favorite, has raised $273,000. The Rev. Mark Harris, a Charlotte pastor who formally entered the race this month, raised $128,000. Finance reports for another announced candidate, Wilkes County nurse Heather Grant, were unavailable. Hagan, who has raised nearly $7.6 million, will be a top target next year for Republicans, who must pick up six seats for control of the Senate. She’s one of seven Democratic senators in states carried last year by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Washington Post: How Ken Cuccinelli blew his advantage in the Virginia governor’s race

Last month, we wrote that Ken Cuccinelli II’s campaign to become Virginia’s next governor needed to raise its game or face certain defeat. Has it done so? Unequivocally, no. Cuccinelli’s strategists and consultants have doggedly followed a baffling strategy. Even the best campaigns can lose. But an inept campaign guarantees a loss for an underdog, and Cuccinelli (R) has been the underdog since July. The attorney general’s defenders will undoubtedly refute our analysis, claiming instead that bad luck and strong headwinds have hobbled the GOP effort in Virginia. In our view, his problems went much deeper. Simply put, Cuccinelli’s advisers never displayed an ability to win. They badly underestimated the seasoned team of his opponent, Terry McAuliffe (D), which was aided by nearly twice as much campaign cash.

Fayetteville Observer: Fayetteville mayoral candidate
Val Applewhite draws attention to opponent’s absence at candidates’ forum Saturday
Fayetteville mayoral candidate Val Applewhite twice drew attention to her opponent’s absence at a Saturday forum. "My opponent is not here," the three-term city councilwoman said of Nat Robertson. "He sent you a mailer asking what have I done for you. Well, he needs to start by being here and addressing your concerns." Robertson, a former four-term councilman, said he chose to attend Fayetteville State University’s homecoming parade Saturday morning instead of the forum, which was held by the anti-annexation group Cumberland County Citizens United. "I had a scheduling conflict," he said, adding that he has spoken at the club twice this year. According to the club, Robertson attended the group’s mayoral forum in August and spoke at the group’s May meeting. Applewhite and Robertson are running for mayor in the Nov. 5 general election, when voters also will select nine council members in seven contested races. Mayor Tony Chavonne did not seek re-election this year. The forum was lightly attended, with only five council candidates present: Jerry Reinoehl for District 1; incumbent Bill Crisp for District 6; Larry Wright for District 7, and Ted Mohn and Michael Pinkston for District 8.

The Hill: Pelosi: We can win
If Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were to become Speaker again, she would work to pass a sweeping bill that would significantly expand federal childcare benefits. In a sit-down interview in her office in the Capitol, the House minority leader stopped short of predicting that Democrats would regain the lower chamber in the 2014 midterm elections, but she had no hesitation in saying what she would use a majority for. Pelosi and other Democrats have emerged from the shutdown fight with new confidence, and she vowed her party would “of course” pick up seats next year. It is the first time Pelosi has guaranteed that Democrats will cut into the GOP’s majority.

State Journal: Ark. Democrats look for boost from shutdown

Arkansas Democrats have suffered politically in recent years after Republicans tied the party to President Barack Obama in federal, state and even local legislative races. But now Democrats hope standing with the president during the 16-day federal government shutdown could reverse their fortunes. From a two-term senator accusing his Republican rival of costing the country billions for supporting the budget standoff to a congressional hopeful citing it as his primary reason for running, the shutdown is offering hope to Arkansas Democrats that they may be able to stop a GOP takeover of the state’s top offices. "Sixteen days in October was a travesty," former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays told supporters as he launched his bid for a U.S. House seat in central Arkansas. "I wasn’t thinking about running for Congress in the latter part of September, because I didn’t think they would do what they did. " Now Hays is running for one of two open U.S. House seats that Democrats have grown more hopeful about winning, one of which opened days after the vote last week to end the shutdown. Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin announced Monday he wouldn’t seek re-election next year so he could focus on his family, and Hays was the first candidate to announce he’d run for the seat. With national polls showing Republicans taking a hit politically from the shutdown, Hays and other Democrats here see the issue as a chance to rebound from elections that have been defined by a Democratic president who remains deeply unpopular in the state.

Washington Post: Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe, together again in four-day swing across Virginia

Terry McAuliffe and Bill Clinton launched a four-day swing through Virginia on Sunday to try to persuade Democrats to show up on Election Day, something the party faithful haven’t always done in the commonwealth’s off-year contests. Boosting turnout to put McAuliffe in the governor’s mansion is only part of the agenda for the longtime friends and political allies. The other is to hold up Clinton’s presidency, particularly his focus on creating jobs and reaching across the aisle, as a model for what McAuliffe hopes to accomplish as governor. That approach, both argued, is the opposite of what voters should expect from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) if he wins Nov. 5. “You have two amazingly interesting and wildly different people running,” Clinton told a packed Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Dale City, along Interstate 95 in Prince William County.

2016

The Daily Beast: Hillary Clinton’s Soft Launch in Upstate New York
In 2008, Barack Obama promised to be a president who brought people together, inaugurating a new era for Washington, D.C. He pointed to his biography—his mixed-race ancestry, his limited experience in the partisan battles of the past—as a chance for a break from the rancor and gridlock of the Bush years. If Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, she’ll have her own story to tell—about brushing off the battles of the Obama years. She’d be able to tap some key details of her biography, too, not just her time as first lady, or even as a U.S. senator. Instead, Clinton will be able to say that she knows how to work with the other side: She reached across a stark divide when she decided to work with her former political opponent in government.

Politico: A model for Hillary Clinton 2016: Hillary Clinton 2000

The most urgent question Hillary Clinton would face if she were to run again for president is whether she could avoid the blunders — the bitter staff rivalries going public, the poisonous relationship with the press, the presumption of inevitability — that helped doom her campaign five years ago. There’s one powerful piece of evidence that she could — her own bid for New York senator in 2000. The Clinton of 2008 — portrayed as a brittle, hardened caricature and a relic of an era of political triangulation that the country wanted to move past — bore little resemblance to the 2000 version. The candidate who pivoted from first lady to Senate candidate overcame a “carpetbagger” tag, ditched the Rose Garden strategy and campaigned hard in New York’s purple upstate region. It’s easy to forget just how precarious a venture Clinton was embarking on back then. The Clintons were fresh from the impeachment battle. The first lady was one the most polarizing figures in the country, surrounded by an international media swarm. The early betting was she couldn’t break through the protective bubble of Secret Service agents and advisers to forge a meaningful connection with voters.

ECONOMY

24/7 Wall Street: America’s Richest (and Poorest) Cities

Median household income in the United States remained relatively unchanged between 2011 and 2012, after falling 7% from the start of the recession. While the nation continues to recover based on other measures, it is not exactly encouraging news. The nation’s largest cities have followed a similar pattern. Income for most of the 366 metropolitan areas measured by the U.S. Census Bureau are flat in the last year, and many are still down significantly compared to 2008. According to the Census Bureau, Brownsville, Texas replaced McAllen, Texas as the country’s poorest metro area. San Jose, Calif. took the top spot as the wealthiest metro area, replacing Washington, D.C. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the metropolitan areas with the highest and lowest median incomes in the U.S.

EDUCATION

WRAL: Chapel Hill school official named to NC House

Democrats in Orange and Durham counties voted Thursday to name an administrator with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to the District 50 seat in the state House. Graig Meyer, the school district’s director of student equity and volunteer services, will succeed Valerie Foushee, who last month was named to fill the Senate seat of retired Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange. The appointment isn’t official until Gov. Pat McCrory formally names Meyer to the office. Meyer was one of seven candidates seeking the seat. He will serve the rest of Foushee’s House term, which expires at the end of 2014.

Winston-Salem Journal: Think tank takes aim at UNC-CH curriculum

A new report from a right-leaning think tank critiques UNC-Chapel Hill’s general education curriculum, calling it “incoherent,” a smorgasbord of thousands of classes with “very narrow – even trivial – topics.” The study from the Raleigh-based John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy suggests shrinking the available courses at the university from more than 4,000 to about 700 and zeroing in on a short list of essentials – history, statistics, logic, philosophy, Western civilization, literature, arts, writing, science and political and economic systems. It recommends two instead of three foreign language courses and the elimination of university’s physical education and “experiential” learning course requirements. The current system “exists as much for the good of the faculty and various campus political constituencies as it does for students,” the report said. “Much of its design and its failure to restrict course options in any meaningful way direct students away from the skills and knowledge they are most likely to need in the future.”

Dig Triad: Teacher: We Need Veterans To Volunteer

Veterans Day is about a week and a half away, and a Triad elementary school is looking for volunteers to make the day special for students. Last year, students at Rankin Elementary used Skype to talk with soldiers in Afghanistan on Veterans Day. This year, organizers say they are having a difficult time finding veterans to come in as volunteers. Rankin Elementary School is looking for active and veteran military to come share your military experiences with students. Volunteers can share memorabilia, photo’s uniforms or anything else appropriate. "For many small children, their only experience with war is playing a video game so they are accustomed to seeing shooting or doing the shooting. This is a chance to talk to someone who has firsthand experience in combat or know something about war time experiences," says Jerry Cecil, a retired U.S. Army veteran.

LGBT

Charlotte Observer: Calvary Church among Charlotte area churches to drop Boy Scouts program

Several churches in the Charlotte area – including one of the largest, Calvary Church – are moving to cut ties with Boy Scout troops they sponsor after a decision earlier this year by Boy Scouts of America to admit openly gay Scouts. The nondenominational Calvary Church had chartered Boy Scout Troop 7 and Cub Scout Pack 7 for 20 years before deciding recently to revoke the charter effective Jan 1. “The ministries of Calvary Church are aligned with our purpose of making authentic followers of Jesus Christ,” wrote the Rev. Jim Pile, pastor of family ministries, in an email to the Observer. “This is not the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.” But Pile would not say whether the move was a response to the May decision by Boy Scouts of America to allow gay members. George Tucker, a Scout leader who has been involved with Boy Scout Troop 7 for the past 13 years, said Calvary sent troop leaders a brief email that said it was ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts.

Huffington Post: A More Perfect Union: Being Gay in America

In the preamble of the Constitution, we are told that we are constantly moving toward a more perfect union. And while people in every age think they’re living in a time of transition, ours truly is an age of transition when it comes to the rights of gay Americans. It’s in the zeitgeist — in the courts, in pop culture, in the business world and in people’s voices online and offline. You can hear the echo of Frederick Douglass’ truism: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." While there is still much to be done, the entrenched power of the status quo that Douglass spoke of is indeed conceding: this week, New Jersey became the 14th state to allow gay couples to marry, and 57 percent of registered voters say they would support a law in their state allowing same-sex couples to marry. Earlier this month, at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women event in Washington, D.C., I had the chance to lead a public conversation with Roberta Kaplan, who played a key role in the shift in public opinion and policy that is helping speed along our collective journey toward a more perfect union. "There’s no question that, perhaps unlike any other movement in our nation’s history, the pace of change, particularly within the last several years with respect to gay rights, has been dramatically rapid, and we really haven’t experienced anything like this before," she said.

OPINION

Politics NC: The Democratic Mind

Yesterday, a letter-to-the-editor in the News & Observer responded to Rob Christensen’s column from last week, “A look inside the GOP mind.” The author asks what’s inside the Democratic mind. He says he can’t understand what Democrats are thinking or how they believe Barack Obama has done anything good. Let me help you out. We believe in fairness. Most of us believe theincome disparity that is greater now than at any time in the past 100 years has negative consequences for our economy and our citizens. We believe that Reaganomics shifted the tax burden from the wealthy and corporations onto the middle class. As a result, we have aconcentration of wealth and the gap between rich and poor is widening. The tax increases on the wealthy that President Obama introduced are just a first step toward addressing this problem.

We believe in a strong social safety net. As the wealthiest country in the world, we have an obligation to our fellow citizens to ensure no one falls too far into poverty. We also believe that health care should be part of that equation, as it is in every other industrialized nation. Most of us would prefer some sort of single-payer plan that would look more like Medicare but grudgingly accept Obamacare as the compromise we have to live with. Most Democrats are capitalists who believe that the free market creates jobs and economic prosperity. However, we also believe that an unregulated market stifles economic mobility, threatens our environment and leads to social unrest. While Republicans worry about the government picking winners, we worry about the impact of the market’s losers. Government is the only vehicle available to mitigate the harmful effects of an unregulated free market. We don’t like big government; we like responsible government. Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an example of such regulation, though many on my side of the ideological spectrum wish it was more powerful.

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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.