North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Saturday he’s planning to run for governor in 2016 and told Democratic Party activists that policies adopted this year by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders have harmed the average state resident. Cooper used his platform as a speaker at the state Democratic Party’s Western Gala in Asheville to attack Republicans, who with McCrory’s election last year controlled the state’s legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a century. "You know what they’ve done. Tax giveaways for the top 1 percent instead of real tax breaks for working North Carolina families, an end to child-care tax credits, election law changes that made it harder for North Carolinians to vote, overcrowded classrooms for public school teachers and layoffs for teacher assistants," he said. "This is not the North Carolina that any of us recognize."
Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers said Friday she would decline her $174,000 congressional salary during the federal government shutdown, reversing course after facing intense pressure.Ellmers sent a letter to House officials asking for her pay to be withheld, saying in a statement she would “stand with all federal workers.” “We appreciate the fact that Rep. Ellmers is living paycheck to paycheck, like so many hardworking North Carolinians, making it all the more unfortunate that she (refused) to earn her paycheck and work toward a commonsense solution to end this self-inflicted crisis,” said Micah Beasley, a N.C. Democratic Party spokesman.
Cooper drew a standing ovation when he declared that "in 2016, we’re going to elect a new Democratic governor. That is when we take our state back." "People are paying attention," he said. "They know we cannot let the extreme faction of the Republican Party hijack our state." Randy Voller, chair of state Democratic Party, praised Cooper as being "of the people." "What we have in North Carolina right now is a crisis," he said. "We don’t want to turn this state back. We don’t want to be at the bottom."
Other leaders in Western North Carolina said Thursday that he is not representing the concerns of most people.“That’s absurd,” said Patsy Keever, a state Democratic Party vice chairwoman and Asheville resident who ran for congress last year. “I think the majority of people want to be able to go to work,” she said. “Here we are in in October and it’s tourism season and our economy depends on that. We are shutting down the reason people come here.”
Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger agreed the top task facing Democrats is “putting up strong, viable candidates.” “People in Asheville and across North Carolina are more than frustrated with the leadership in our state, and we are seeing more and more qualified candidates showing interest in running,” Reisinger said. But he said the gerrymandering of legislative districts that came with GOP redistricting will make Democratic wins more challenging, adding that he hopes to see federal redistricting and election reform that will restore “fair representation.” “I’m convinced the North Carolina Democratic Party is going to run very strong candidates,” Reisinger said. “But we’re going to have an uphill battle until we see some real redistricting reform.”
Carter Wrenn, the veteran GOP strategist, writes that raising teacher salaries, won’t necessarily buy the Republican legislature love in his blog post Talking About Politics. "After Democrats ran an ad in State House Districts, something akin to a shockwave rippled down the hallways of the General Assembly, unsettling the less stouthearted Republican legislators. "Last fall, after the last election House Republicans, riding high, assumed, We won. People love us. We can do what we want. They did. Then their poll numbers dropped. Then that ad hit. Then a cry went up from the unsettled, If we just give teachers raises – people will love us again.
Ellmers said she’s confident the shutdown will end before November. But if it does not, she will decline her pay. "I will stand with all federal workers and have my paycheck withheld," she said. In response to Ellmers’ change of heart, the North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement. "We appreciate the fact that Rep. Ellmers is living paycheck to paycheck, like so many hardworking North Carolinians, making it all the more unfortunate that she refuses to earn her paycheck and work toward a commonsense solution to end this self-inflicted crisis," Micah Beasley, a spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party said. "But what North Carolina really needs are elected officials who won’t fall asleep at the wheel as the economy tumbles off a cliff due to this Tea Party shutdown."
It’s been a long first week of the government shutdown with late nights for everyone on Capitol Hill. And for one member of Congress, the chaos appeared to have finally caught up to him. Rep. George Holding, R- N.C., was caught napping as he presided over the House floor Thursday evening. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, was speaking on the House floor when Holding appeared to doze off. Holding’s office responded to ABC11’s request for comment with this statement, "In reference to last night, Congressman Holding said: ‘It’s been a long week… It would’ve been wiser to stay on my feet.’"
Many civilian employees will return to work at Fort Bragg this week. Defense Department officials say the decision to recall the workers comes after a review of a law passed by Congress and signed by the president to ensure that military personnel are paid. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the law allows the recall of civilian workers if their jobs contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members. That includes employees who work in health care, commissaries and maintenance. About 7,200 civilians were furloughed at Fort Bragg in the dispute over the federal budget.
The government shutdown entered its second week with no end in sight and ominous signs that the United States was closer to the first default in the nation’s history as Speaker John Boehner ruled out any measure to boost borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama. Washington will be closely watching the financial markets on Monday to see if the uncompromising talk rattles Wall Street and worldwide economies just 10 days before the threat of default would be imminent. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that the budget brinkmanship was "playing with fire" and implored Congress to pass legislation to re-open the government and increase the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt limit. Lew reiterated that Obama has no intention to link either bill to Republican demands for changes in the 3-year-old health care law and spending cuts.
The federal government is shut down, we’re about to hit the debt ceiling (with disastrous economic consequences), and no resolution is in sight. How did this happen? The main answer, which only the most pathologically “balanced” reporting can deny, is the radicalization of the Republican Party. As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it last year in their book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” the G.O.P. has become “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” But there’s one more important piece of the story. Conservative leaders are indeed ideologically extreme, but they’re also deeply incompetent. So much so, in fact, that the Dunning-Kruger effect — the truly incompetent can’t even recognize their own incompetence — reigns supreme.
Attention will turn more sharply this week in the direction of the debt ceiling and the question of a possible default. We’re just 10 days away from D-Day, and since default is a much bigger deal than a shutdown, we’re going to have a week of cable debates about who’ll be to blame if the country defaults. It is with that in mind that offer you three arguments you’re sure to hear Republicans make. They’re all foolish or false or both, so clip this list and tape it to your refrigerator. The roof is finally starting to fall in on these serial liars, and I want you to be part of the growing army of Americans that knows a lie when it hears one.
Anyone who remembers the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. little more than five years ago knows what a global financial disaster is. A U.S. government default, just weeks away if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling as it now threatens to do, will be an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen. Failure by the world’s largest borrower to pay its debt — unprecedented in modern history — will devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression. Among the dozens of money managers, economists, bankers, traders and former government officials interviewed for this story, few view a U.S. default as anything but a financial apocalypse. The $12 trillion of outstanding government debt is 23 times the $517 billion Lehman owed when it filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. As politicians butt heads over raising the debt ceiling, executives from Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd C. Blankfein have warned that going over the edge would be catastrophic.
John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, weighs in on the US Justice Department’s decision to challenge to North Carolina’s recent voter laws. In his column he calls it a "political lawsuit" that seems more designed to help Democratic turnout in the 2014 midterm elections. "What’s the Obama administration trying to do?” Hood writes. "No, I’m not speculating about the president’s strategies for implementing his health care law or besting Congressional Republicans in budget battles. Today’s topic is closer to home: the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to file a lawsuit alleging that North Carolina’s new election law violates the federal constitution and Voting Rights Act.
North Carolinians who buy insurance through the exchange will pay more because of the Republicans’ temper tantrum. The extra cost is a mix of hard and soft numbers. One hard number is 3.5 percent. That’s the percentage the federal government adds to premiums to cover its cost for running an exchange. If North Carolina had run its own, the cost could have been lower and broadly dispersed across the state’s tax base – an allocation from the general fund, for instance – with little or no effect on premiums. On top of the 3.5 percent are higher premium rates attributable to diminished competition. The idea behind the health care law is that putting more younger and healthier people into the risk pool will attract more insurance companies, and their competition will keep rates as low as possible. But in North Carolina, that competition was discouraged by the state’s lack of involvement. Companies prefer doing business with a state-run exchange in which state officials know the market and can help companies fashion policies that fit it.
‘Face The Nation’ host Bob Schieffer grilled Republican Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) on the government shutdown on Sunday. Cornyn repeatedly blamed President Obama for refusing to negotiate on defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and ending the government shutdown. Cornyn referred to the president as "AWOL." "Don’t Republicans also have to do their job?" Shieffier shot back. "[It's] almost like I’m going to throw a brick through your window unless you give me $20." Cornyn disagreed, saying that "Ted [Cruz] and I share the concern about what Obamacare is doing to our economy." The CBS host responded: "But that’s besides the point. The law has been passed. Why not keep the government running and then everybody can sit down and decide what they want to do about it?" Cornyn again tried to lay the blame on Democrats for not allowing Obamacare cuts to be part of a shutdown solution, but Schieffer quickly cut him off.
Ever since the administration filed suit to freeze Louisiana’s school voucher program, high-ranking Republicans have pummeled President Barack Obama for trapping poor kids in failing public schools. The entire House leadership sent a letter of protest. Majority Leader Eric Cantor blistered the president for denying poor kids “a way into a brighter future.” And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal accused him of “ripping low-income minority students out of good schools” that could “help them achieve their dreams.” But behind the outrage is an inconvenient truth: Taxpayers across the U.S. will soon be spending $1 billion a year to help families pay private school tuition — and there’s little evidence that the investment yields academic gains.
Dome: State Education Board Member Wants Teacher Pay Hike
State Board of Education member John Tate wants the board to back a resolution to bring teacher pay in the state to the national average. Tate sprung his proposal on the board last week, calling teacher pay “flat pathetic.” Teachers and state employees have received one 1.2percent raise in the past five years. After years of concerted efforts to raise teacher pay to the national average, North Carolina was ranked 25th in 2008 by the National Education Association. The state has slipped since then and is close to the bottom of national rankings. “I feel like we have to send a message to our teachers as soon as possible,” Tate said.
Sounds like they might have their minds made up already. Organizers of an event discussing the abortion legislation in the General Assembly describe it this way: “A panel of experts and activists in North Carolina will discuss the state’s relentless assault on women’s reproductive rights for an event at the Duke University School of Law.” The forum, at 12:15 p.m. Monday in room 3037 of the Duke Law School, is sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Those scheduled to speak are Alison Kiser, director of affairs, Planned Parenthood of North Carolina; Sarah Preston, policy director, ACLU of North Carolina, Suzanne Buckley of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and Jedediah Purdy, Duke law professor.
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Sounds reasonable. Who could disagree? This year the North Carolina General Assembly did not consider legislation to install this guarantee, known as the Equal Rights Amendment, into the U.S. Constitution. That will happen at a later date. However, the 2013 legislature made plenty of decisions on issues affecting women — all adversely. Some object to the term “war on women,” but most of the casualties of these legislative actions are women.
The Republican Party could be in danger of losing control of the House in 2014, new polls on Sunday show. In a survey of 24 seats, Republicans fall behind in 17 head-to-head matches against “generic Democrat candidates” among registered voters and lag in an additional four districts when respondents are told the Republican candidate supported the shutdown, according to the surveys by Public Policy Polling that were funded by the liberal group, MoveOn.orgDemocrats would need to pick up 17 seats to take over the House — something the polling reveals could be within reach. One district that shows a favorable position for a Democratic challenger is New York’s 19th Congressional District, the high-profile contest in which Sean Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes, is looking to unseat the Republican incumbent, Chris Gibson. However, Eldridge’s name does not appear on the survey as the challenger.
Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.
The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.
While he hasn’t declared that he’s in the running, Florida’s Republican see Charlie Crist as a threat to Gov. Rick Scott in next year’s election. At a big dinner and meeting of state Republicans at Walt Disney World, there were jokes about Crist, there were warnings about Crist, and there was sharp criticism of the one-time Republican governor who is now a registered Democrat. Crist was mentioned more than President Barack Obama despite the ongoing federal government shutdown and wrangling over Obama’s health care overhaul that has divided Republicans at the national level. The focus on Crist comes as some polls show Crist winning a head-to-head matchup with Scott. During his three years in office, Scott has failed to claim the support of a majority of Floridians in independent polls.
In the clearest sign yet of the potent effect of the government shutdown on the Virginia governor’s race, Republican Ken Cuccinelli avoided being photographed with Ted Cruz at a gala they headlined here Saturday night—even leaving before the Texas senator rose to speak. Backstage, a source said, Cuccinelli urged Cruz to work with Democrats to end the federal shutdown. But he did not make that point, or even acknowledge Cruz, in short public comments to some 1,100 social conservatives. Cruz has become the face of GOP intransigence, and the conservative attorney general’s effort to distance himself from congressional Republicans reflects how damaging Cuccinelli realizes a prolonged shutdown may be for his campaign. For his part, Cruz heaped praise on his “friend” Cuccinelli and argued passionately in a 54-minute speech that their party can still win the messaging fight over the shutdown if the people just speak out loudly enough.
Republicans and Democrats have wasted little time trying to use the first federal government shutdown in a generation for political advantage ahead of next year’s midterm elections, seizing on the plight of furloughed workers and shuttered government services to cast blame on each other. A year out from Election Day and just days into the stoppage, the debate already is playing out in TV and radio ads in key congressional districts, newspaper editorials and fundraising pitches from campaign committees eager to pad their bank accounts early for 2014. And both sides are aggressively testing the political arguments they likely will try to make over the next year.
Karl Rove, the chief strategist for President George W. Bush, has recruited the past two Republican senators from North Carolina. Now he wants to help make Thom Tillis a senator. When Sen. Jesse Helms was in declining health, it was Rove who began lining up Elizabeth Dole, the two-time Cabinet secretary, to run for Helms’ seat in 2002. When Democratic Sen. John Edwards was preparing to run for president in 2004, Rove invited Richard Burr, a promising young congressman from Winston-Salem, to the White House and urged him to run for the Senate. Now, with the Republicans trying to retake control of the Senate in 2014, North Carolina is too important to be left to chance. So Rove – although no longer in the White House – is trying to make Tillis his Tar Heel hat trick.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Saturday he’s planning to run for governor in 2016 and told Democratic Party activists that policies adopted this year by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders have harmed the average state resident. Cooper used his platform as a speaker at the state Democratic Party’s Western Gala in Asheville to attack Republicans, who with McCrory’s election last year controlled the state’s legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a century. Asked whether he planned to run for governor in three years, Cooper told the Asheville Citizen-Times: “It’s a little early to make a formal announcement, but certainly that’s in the plans.”
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said Saturday he’s planning to run for governor in 2016 and told Democratic Party activists that policies adopted this year by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders have harmed the average state resident. Cooper used his platform as a speaker at the state Democratic Party’s Western Gala in Asheville to attack Republicans, who with McCrory’s election last year controlled the state’s legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a century. Asked whether he planned to run for governor in three years, Cooper told the Asheville Citizen-Times: “It’s a little early to make a formal announcement, but certainly that’s in the plans.” Cooper, a Nash County native, has declined similar gubernatorial bids in the past. The Democratic attorney general and former state senator said he wants to restore North Carolina’s reputation as a progressive Southern state after the policies implemented this year by GOP leaders.
Unless Republicans agree to my proposal for gun control, I will use my authority as commander in chief to scuttle one aircraft carrier a week in the bottom of the ocean. I invite Republican leaders to come to the White House and negotiate a deal to preserve our military strength. I hope Republicans will work with me to prevent the loss of our carrier fleet. If the Republicans refuse to negotiate, I will be compelled to begin by scuttling the U.S.S. George Washington in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, with 80 aircraft on board. In that situation, we would all agree that Obama had gone nuts. Whatever his beefs with Republicans, it would be an inexcusable betrayal to try to get his way by destroying our national assets. That would be an abuse of power and the worst kind of blackmail.
Cartoonist Garry Trudeau teed off on North Carolina in his Sunday "Doonesbury" strip — a massive take on the state’s recent legislative upheaval.The final window features a TV reporter saying: "North Carolina — Where progress is a dirty word!" as a lawmaker character in a bow tie says, "Psst! Ask about our new tax cuts for ‘job creators.’"
See the whole strip here.
Chris Fitzsimon, who blogs with the liberal NC Policy Watch weighs in on the shutdown in Washington and the GOP convention that will be held next year at Harrah’s at Cherokee. "Just when you think things couldn’t get any more absurd in Washington, where a small group of radical tea partiers in Congress is holding the country hostage, North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows weighs in. "Meadows has received some notoriety for drafting the letter that was signed by roughly 80 House members promising to oppose any effort to keep the government running that did not defund the Affordable Care Act—the law that was passed by Congress and signed by the president who was then handily reelected last year.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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