NCDP Clips for Wednesday, February 13, 2013


CHICAGO TRIBUNE – State of the Union analysis: Obama challenges Republicans to do more than just cut deficit
President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address on Tuesday night to try to push past the fiscal battles that plagued his first term – and still threaten his second – as he laid out an agenda he hopes will shape his legacy.
Obama’s overarching message was that other things matter beside the Republicans’ seemingly all-consuming drive for deficit cutting, embodied in a looming showdown just three weeks away over automatic across-the-board spending cuts.,0,4371415.story

THE WASHINGTON POST – Obama, in State of the Union, makes case that middle class is job one
President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday night to assist an American middle class squeezed by rising costs and stagnant wages, making clear that he will devote much of his second term to closing the income gap between rich and poor.
In his first State of the Union address since reelection, Obama called restoring the country’s middle-class promise “our generation’s task,” casting the ability to work and prosper as a basic American principle in jeopardy because of a changing economy and partisan dysfunction in Washington.

THE WASHINGTON POST – 5 takeaways from the State of the Union
THE FIX – President Obama’s fourth State of the Union address is in the books — a 6,000-plus word speech in which he laid out both the blueprint and the underlying justification for his vision of his next four years.
We live-tweeted the whole thing — and did a bit of pre- and post-game analysis — but also jotted down a few notable takeaways from the address. They’re below. What was your biggest takeaway?

USA TODAY – Fact check: Obama’s State of the Union
President Obama put a rosy spin on several accomplishments of his administration in his 2013 State of the Union Address.
The president claimed that “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.” But that’s only an estimate of deficit reduction through fiscal year 2022, and it would be lower if the White House used a different starting point.
Obama touted the growth of 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past three years, but there has been a net loss of 600,000 manufacturing jobs since he took office. The recent growth also has stalled since July 2012.

ABC NEWS – Transcript of Obama’s State of the Union Address
Following is President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, as prepared for delivery.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.”


CNN – Obama to Asheville, NC post State of the Union
Last night President Obama delivered his State of the Union address in front of the 113th congress. In his speech he called for the expansion of pre-school education for every 4-year-old, an increase in the minimum wage and a plan to create 15 “manufacturing institutes”. He reiterated his call for a program to repair the infrastructure of the nation’s roads and bridges. On the foreign policy front he announced 33,000 U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by this time next year.
Today the president will travel to Ashville, NC to highlight a Canadian auto parts company that has recently increased it’s investment in the U.S.

THE WASHINGTON POST – After State of the Union, Obama heads to NC to rally support for economic plan
President Barack Obama is kicking off three days of travel to rally support for the job-creation and economic proposals he unveiled in his State of the Union address.
Obama will launch the effort Wednesday in Asheville, N.C., with a visit to Linamar Corp., a supplier of engine and transmission components that has expanded its manufacturing operations.

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES – Obama to speak at Linamar plant
President Barack Obama’s fourth trip to the North Carolina mountains will be brief and feature a speech at auto-parts maker Linamar.
His arrival at Asheville Regional Airport and his speech at the plant on Wednesday will not be open to the public.
The president is expected to talk about proposals unveiled in his State of the Union address tonight, the White House said.
Linamar plans to hire 650 people eventually. It employs about 150 now and is increasing its workforce.

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES – Obama will find a different N.C. this time
When President Barack Obama lands here today, he’ll find a North Carolina politically different from the one that helped him win a first term.
Republicans control the legislature and the governor’s office for the first time in decades. State lawmakers are digging in their heels in rejecting his health care law.
GOP-led redistricting has meant more Republicans in Congress. They threaten a seat held by one of his allies in the Senate, Democrat Kay Hagan.
And Obama lost here last year, though not by much.


THE HILL – Poll: Sen. Kay Hagan leads all comers in North Carolina
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) leads all of her potential rivals in North Carolina, according to a new poll from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling.
Hagan leads Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) 45 percent to 40 percent, though McHenry has made no moves at this point toward a campaign. North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry (R) and North Carolina State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) each trail with 38 percent to Hagan’s 46 percent, and Rep. Renee Ellmers trails 47 percent to 38 percent.


WRAL – ‘Major modifications’ expected to state boards overhaul bill
Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that he expects “major modifications” to legislation that would essentially fire all sitting members of several key regulatory commissions before the bill emerges from the House.
In addition to eliminating several obsolete state boards, Senate Bill 10 would clear out all appointees to the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.

WRAL – McCrory: ‘Mistakes were made’ on Lightfoot
Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that he had no input into the hiring of Dianna Lightfoot as the state’s new pre-kindergarten chief.
Lightfoot’s appointment was announced last week by Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos. She was to lead NC Pre-K and other child care programs.

THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE – Gov. McCrory: NC not ready to expand Medicaid, manage state-run health exchange
Governor Pat McCrory said Tuesday that a state run health exchange, and Medicaid expansion “are not in the best interest of North Carolina.”
Faced with a Friday deadline to announce the state’s intentions, the governor released the following statement:


WRAL – Senate gives tentative OK to unemployment benefit cuts
The state Senate on Tuesday gave key approval to a sweeping rewrite of North Carolina’s unemployment system, including deep cuts to the size and duration of weekly jobless benefits.
The Senate voted 36-13 in favor of House Bill 4 on second reading. A final vote is expected Wednesday, after which the bill would go to Gov. Pat McCrory, who has already said he will sign it into law.

NEWS & OBSERVER – House panel rejects Medicaid expansion in NC
A House committee has rejected a Democratic proposal to use federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 500,000 low-income residents for three years, with Republicans saying it is unlikely that the state could drop the new additions once North Carolina was required to start shouldering some of the cost in 2017.


NEWS & OBSERVER – Bergercare vs. Obamacare
Ambition can get ahold of a fellow. Now in its grip, apparently: Phil Berger, the state Senate president pro tem, leader of the Republicans.
Berger certainly seems to be putting on quite a push for higher office. Rumor has an interesting run shaping up as Republicans maneuver to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s likely to run for re-election in 2014.

THE WASHINGTON POST – A progressive economic blueprint from an emboldened president
GREG SARGENT – Obama’s Inaugural Address laid out an expansive progressive agenda that was focused heavily on civil rights and rooted in the founding values of the country. His State of the Union speech was Chapter Two of this story. It laid out a progressive economic blueprint that was focused heavily on nuts-and-bolts policy ideas and rooted in a much more basic call for economic fairness, shared sacrifice in bringing down the deficit, and aggressive government action to help struggling Americans gain access to the middle class.
Obama — having been lifted to reelection by an ascendant majority coalition of minorities, young voters, and college educated whites, mostly women — gave very little ideological ground to his opponents. His speech built on the Inaugural address in the sense that it continued to reshape the conversation around the priorities of these core groups — only with a more direct focus on the economy.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – Obama’s new vision: Doable?
In his first State of the Union address of his second term, President Obama delivered the most forceful defense of liberal values uttered on this occasion by any president since Lyndon Johnson. Obama argued for progress on the environment, common sense on guns, decency on immigration. On those issues, he has the support of the American people.
Yes, there are problems left over from his first four years: high unemployment and slow economic growth. He rightly called on Congress to close the nation’s long-term budget gap by reforming entitlements and simplifying the tax code, rather than making across-the-board reductions that only chip away at the deficit. But it wasn’t clear how he’d get his ideas, many of them recycled from his first term, through a polarized Congress.,0,2077554.story


Clay Pittman
Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @ClayPittman