NCDP Clips for Wednesday, January 30, 2013


THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – McCrory wants to revamp higher ed funding, takes aim at UNC-Chapel Hill

Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday he wants to change the way higher education is funded in North Carolina, focusing more on careers for graduates and away from academic pursuits “that have no chance of getting people jobs.”

The remarks came in a national radio interview with conservative talk show host Bill Bennett, former President Ronald Reagan’s education secretary. The breezy, 10-minute interview, in which the Republican governor touched on hot-button issues, elicited a swift, angry response Tuesday from faculty and others.

McCrory declined to be interviewed about the details. By day’s end, his staffers were trying to temper his remarks.

WTVD RALEIGH – McCrory: NC colleges should focus on job skills

Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday he’s determined to get North Carolina’s public university system to focus on teaching what’s useful in terms of getting a job and criticized an "educational elite" for offering courses in subjects such as gender studies that don’t lead students onto clear career paths.

McCrory said he instructed his staff Monday to draft legislation "in which we change the basic formula and how education money is given out to our universities and our community colleges, not based on how many butts in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs."

The Republican governor’s tough talk on a radio talk show hosted by conservative Bill Bennett, President Ronald Reagan’s education secretary, signals a willingness to challenge the state’s education system in a way that Democratic governors rarely did and in language likely appealing to social conservatives. They also came as the state grapples with the country’s fifth-highest unemployment rate and the 17-campus University of North Carolina system crafts a new five-year plan.

WNCT GREENVILLE – Gov. Pat McCrory plans to overhaul education funding

Gov. Pat McCrory is stirring up controversy over comments about his plans for education.

In a candid radio interview Tuesday on conservative pundit Bill Bennett’s national radio show, McCrory said he plans to draft legislation that would drastically change the way public universities and community colleges are funded in our state.

He told Bennett he believes there is a major disconnect between our education system and commerce. He says he wants more emphasis on vocational training and subjects like science, technology, engineering and math.

McCrory continued by criticizing what he called an “educational elite” and UNC-Chapel Hill for offering courses like gender studies – courses McCrory believes don’t lead to jobs after graduation.


NBC NEWS – Obama’s gun plan begins slow, scrutinized trek through Congress

The Obama administration’s gun violence proposals are beginning their arduous path through Congress, as the opening act moves to the Senate Wednesday and lawmakers begin to pick apart some of the plan’s most ambitious gun control measures.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Tuesday vowed to bring up some version of President Barack Obama’s comprehensive gun violence proposal for a vote on the Senate floor when it is ready. But he said Republicans would also be free to offer amendments to the bill, which could lengthen the legislative process and strip stricter gun control measures of their teeth.

CBS NEWS – NRA vs. Giffords’ husband at Senate gun control hearing

Today, the debate over gun control gets its first congressional hearing since President Obama proposed sweeping reforms to help tackle escalating gun violence in the United States.

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre and Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who survived a shot to the head two years ago during an assassination attempt that left six people dead, are among those slated to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. One congressional source tells CBS News that Giffords herself is expected to attend the hearing; she is expected to accompany her husband and address the committee, although she’s not expected to take questions.

Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., "wants to move legislation, and he wants to do it quickly," his spokeswoman Jessica Brady told Today’s hearing will offer a platform for a "respectful and productive conversation" about "where there is potential for success in passing legislation this year."

THE WASHINGTON POST – Gabrielle Giffords to speak at Senate hearing on gun violence

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is expected to give an opening statement Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence, lending the emotional resonance of her experience with the issue to what had already promised to be a dramatic exchange between lawmakers and advocates for and against stricter gun-control laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on gun-related violence in 14 months on Wednesday morning, and observers expect that it will help set the tone for congressional debates over legislation introduced in the wake of the deadly shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 young children.


THE WHITE HOUSE – Statement from the President on the Confirmation of John Kerry as the next Secretary of State

I am pleased that the Senate has confirmed John Kerry as our next Secretary of State with overwhelming bipartisan support. From his decorated service in Vietnam to his decades in the Senate as a champion of American global leadership, John’s distinguished career has prepared him to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.

John has earned the respect of leaders around the world and the confidence of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and I am confident he will make an extraordinary Secretary of State. I look forward to his counsel and partnership in the years ahead as we ensure American leadership in the world and advance the interests and values that keep our nation strong.


THE BOSTON GLOBE – John Kerry sails in Senate voting

The Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Senator John F. Kerry to be secretary of state on Tuesday, handing the Massachusetts Democrat a redemptive career victory that ensconces him in an elite echelon of national leadership nine years after his failed bid for the presidency.

The 94-to-3 vote was the final hurdle for Kerry, whose nomination roared through the Senate after Obama’s first choice of UN Ambassador Susan Rice ­encountered stiff GOP opposition and never got off the ground.

Kerry met virtually no resistance, as his colleagues on both sides of the aisle lauded his 28 years of service in the Senate and his deep experience in international affairs, most recently as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is expected to give a farewell speech in the Senate on Wednesday.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – Kerry is easily confirmed as secretary of State

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to confirm Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as secretary of State, filling a crucial national security spot in President Obama’s second-term Cabinet.

Kerry, who ran for president as the Democratic nominee in 2004, will replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who steps down as America’s top diplomat Friday.

After the 94-3 vote, Kerry submitted a letter of resignation, effective Friday, to give up the Senate seat he has held since 1985. He will take the oath of office in a private ceremony.,0,3371213.story


THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE – Why ending the corporate income tax won’t create jobs

In his press conference yesterday, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis reiterated his desire to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax, expressing his earnest (but misguided) belief that abolishing the tax will ensure stronger job creation across the state. This belief is misguided because it rests on a fundamentally flawed assumption—that corporations will always reinvest the savings they get from the tax repeal into creating new jobs or paying existing workers higher wages inside North Carolina.

In reality, there is no guarantee that multinational corporations with locations and subsidiaries across the entire world will take their North Carolina state tax cut and reinvest it in their North Carolina operation. In fact, if we look at recent national corporate investment patterns, there’s actually no guarantee that these corporations will reinvest additional income in job creation (or higher wages) at all.

THE WASHINGTON POST – Same-sex marriage can help save the institution

Kathleen Parker – More than perhaps anyone else in America, David Blankenhorn personifies the struggle so many have experienced over same-sex marriage.

First he was agnostic, then he was against it, now he’s for it.

This is to say that Blankenhorn — a long-standing opponent of same-sex marriage — has shifted his energies to saving the institution of marriage, regardless of whom one chooses as a mate.

If you’re unfamiliar with Blankenhorn, it is because he hasn’t been barking his positions on television the way so many ideologues do. And this may be because he is not strictly an ideologue but one of those rare people who agonize in search of the right thing.


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