NCDP Clips September 12, 2013


News and Record: Report: McCrory approval rating dropping

Approval ratings for Gov. Pat McCrory are dropping, according to a report in The Business Journal.

NC Policy Watch: Renewing pay to play politics and the culture of corruption
The clear message from the new campaign–style commercial featuring Governor Pat McCrory misrepresenting the actions of his administration and the Republican General Assembly is that the folks in power in Raleigh are very worried about the overwhelming backlash against their right-wing agenda. No governor in North Carolina’s history has been forced to air television commercials to defend themselves just nine months into their first term. McCrory and his political team are obviously panicked about the governor’s plummeting approval ratings and the widespread protests against his agenda that are drawing huge crowds at Moral Monday events from Burnsville to Manteo. The disjointed commercial featuring McCrory delivering a number of carefully staged lines to a series of enthralled supporters at a faux reception was paid for by the Renew North Carolina Foundation, an advocacy group created by McCrory’s supporters that is organized in a way that allows its donors to remain anonymous.

Charlotte Magazine: The Pat McCrory Toe-Stepping Quote Generator

One of the most astonishing things about the modern media landscape is the ability to find out, rather rapidly, whether someone is saying the exact same thing in separate interviews with several media outlets. And so it was with that in mind that I did some research after reading a Washington Post story about the challenges North Carolina Mayor-Governor Pat McCrory is facing from his own party, namely Republicans in the state senate. This caught my eye (emphasis mine):“We’re stepping on the toes of a lot of the establishment that’s been controlling this state government for a long, long time, on both the left and the right,” McCrory said in an interview on Thursday in his office in the historic state capitol building. “I’m really an outsider coming in here, and a lot of the political insiders, the lobbying insiders, are pretty well established.” McCrory goes on to say that he once called Michael Jordan for traveling in an ACC all-star game. But the toe thing. I’ve heard that before. Many times. Luckily, I’ve created the Pat McCrory toe-stepping quote generator, made up of actual McCrory toe-stepping quotes, to help you in a pinch:

Politics: Special delivery

Well, we finally know what Pat McCrory does well. He delivers a line. Watch his ad. You know, the one that’s not coordinated with his campaign? He delivers his lines flawlessly. I wish we could say the same about his promises. In the ad, Pat McCrory is at a cocktail party with a bunch of old white people. He wanders through the crowd outlining all of his supposed accomplishments. He’s giving tax breaks that are creating jobs even though the unemployment rate is rising and people are leaving the workforce. He’s funding education at higher levels even though it’s lower than it was three years ago and per pupil spending is among the lowest in the country. He’s just making stuff up.

The Progressive Pulse: DHHS graphic brags about successes, no mention of recent controversies

N.C. Health and Human Services Sec. Aldona Wos may be feeling the heat over the statewide scrutiny of high salaries given to top employees. The department sent out an infographic today in a press release highlighting what DHHS sees as its top accomplishments. This came a few days after Wos sent a letter to several legislators defending her performance running the state’s largest agency.

Indy Week: Make amends, McCrory: a 12-step program for the governor

It was an extraordinary rebuke. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, vetoed just two of the dozens of bills passed by the General Assembly during its 2013 assault on progress in North Carolina—two relatively minor bills. Last week, Republican legislators flicked their middle fingers at McCrory, voting to override his vetoes by the required three-fifths majorities in the House and Senate. In the Senate, the "debate" was over in six minutes. R-E-S-P-E-C-T? McCrory got none from his fellow Republicans. Maybe it’s time for him to reach out to the independents and, yes, Democrats, who’ve been treated with such disdain by Republican leaders since the GOP seized control of state government last November.


WRAL: Lawmakers demand answers from DHHS chief

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus said Wednesday that they are fed up with problems at the state Department of Health and Human Services and want some answers from Secretary Aldona Wos. The group said they chose the 9/11 anniversary for a news conference because it has become a national day of service, and they said the best public service they can provide is to ensure DHHS is working properly for North Carolina residents. Lawmakers cited reports of large raises given to former staffers of Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign who now work at DHHS, hefty salaries pulled in by Republican insiders who work as consultants to the agency and continued problems plaguing computer systems that provide food stamp benefits to needy families and process Medicaid claims and reimburse health care providers."Enough is enough," said Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland.

WRAL: Legislative Black Caucus talks DHHS (VIDEO)

Members of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus discuss problems in the state Department of Health and Human Services during a Sept. 11, 2013, news conference.

News and Observer: NCDOT should share more power with locals, legislators say

Legislators complained Tuesday that the state Department of Transportation is not giving local elected leaders their fair share of the vote on spending decisions under the state’s new Strategic Mobility Formula law.Local priorities are supposed to count for 50 percent of the decision when transportation projects are approved at the local level, and 30 percent on regional projects. But DOT has said it will delegate half of this “local” vote to its 14 division engineers – regional administrators whose job description includes loyalty to the governor.

Fayetteville Observer: Moral Monday protest in Moore County, a Republican stronghold, draws hundreds
A strong turnout at a Moral Monday event in Republican-heavy Moore County shows that the movement goes beyond party lines, the head of the state chapter of the NAACP said. The Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was the featured speaker at the rally Monday at Downtown Park in Southern Pines. Many of the hundreds of people who attended held signs opposing laws enacted by the GOP-led General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory."We couldn’t turn it off if we wanted to," Barber said in an interview after the event.Issues raised in the rallies go beyond political parties, he said."Some stuff is just right or wrong," he said. "It has nothing to do with political party."

Indy Week: What the U.S. thinks of us

Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican state lawmakers may think North Carolina is hunky-dory, but the reality-based community feels differently.Two years ago, North Carolina was among the 10 most popular states in the U.S., according to a Public Policy Polling survey. After a pivotal and controversial legislative session, both Democrats and Republicans are bummed out about the state—and its national image is hurting. Less than a third of 803 registered voters view North Carolina positively, according to a nationwide survey conducted in August. That’s down from 40 percent who felt good about N.C. in 2011.In the most recent poll, 23 percent viewed the state unfavorably—double the 11 percent who said so two years ago. Forty-seven percent of voters polled last month weren’t sure how they feel about the Tar Heel state.

Rolling Stone: The Seven Most Extreme State Laws Proposed This Year

Here are seven more of the worst bills proposed since November 2012 that you’ve probably never heard of: 1. North Carolina’s "Establish an Official State Religion" resolution North Carolina became known as the most extreme state of the union this year, with the legislature refusing to expand Medicaid, curtailing unemployment benefits, putting hurdles on the right to vote and even potentially closing almost every abortion clinic in the state. One thing they didn’t quite manage to pull off? Establishing Christianity as the official state religion. However, that wasn’t for lack of trying. House Resolution 494 would have allowed the state to establish an official religion. The bill went down when everyone realized it would be in direct violation of the Constitution. No worries, though – North Carolina passed an absurd "no Sharia law" bill instead.


Politico: Lawmakers remember Sept. 11

Members of Congress gather to commemorate the loss of lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

Washington Post: House Republican leaders delay vote on new budget bill until next week

“Republican leaders spent all week pledging to jam through a temporary funding measure that defunds the Affordable Care Act, wreaks havoc on Medicare, and extends the life of the Republican sequester,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Wednesday, adding, “But division in their own ranks scuttled this latest gambit.”

Politico: John Boehner, Eric Cantor struggle to lead House

There are times when it looks like Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have no idea how to run the House Republican Conference.In just two frantic days, rank-and-file House Republicans sidelined leadership’s plan to fund the government and take another nonbinding, quixotic vote on defunding President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. These Republicans said the leadership plan is too weak, lacks a long-term strategy and is akin to waving a white flag on Obamacare. The skirmish is yet another example of how few Republicans are willing to follow Boehner and Cantor’s lead during tough legislative fights. And in practical terms, the rejection of what became known as the Cantor Plan — a continuing resolution, with an unattached provision to defund Obamacare — makes it more likely that the House and Senate will be at loggerheads with a government shutdown looming on Sept. 30.

ABC11: Ellmers accused of trying to sabotage Obamacare
Accusations have surfaced that a North Carolina lawmaker is among those trying to hinder the efforts of nonprofits helping people understand new healthcare options. October marks enrollment in Obamacare and there are still no clear answers about how it will directly affect families. There are several organizations ramping up their efforts to help people navigate the new law and sign up for coverage. A letter issued last week by a house congressional committee could slow their efforts. Fifteen Republican lawmakers are requesting thousands of pages of documents detailing their work. They want detailed responses on everything from how grant money will be spent to training methods and supervising policies. Rep. Renee Ellmers R-N.C. is a part of that group and defends the request. She denies accusations of harassment and intimidation.


New York Times: The Rich Get Richer Through the Recovery
The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago, according to an updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty. The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax. The figures underscore that even after the recession the country remains in a new Gilded Age, with income as concentrated as it was in the years that preceded the Depression of the 1930s, if not more so.


News and Observer: GOP Senate field is wide open

The Republican Senate field is very unsettled as Senate leader Phil Berger weighs getting into the race, according to a new poll. Most Republicans(43 percent) say they have not yet made up their mind, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh. Berger has the support of 13 percent, followed by House Speaker Thom Tillis with 12 percent, and former U.S. Ambassador Jim Cain with 11 percent. Other candidates or potential candidates include Heather Grant(8 percent), Mark Harris(7 percent) Greg Brannon(6 percent) and Lynn Wheeler(6 percent.) Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan would defeat Berger by a 53-36 percent margin and would defeat Tillis by a 51-36 percent margin.

Dome: Morning Memo: Harris to enter Senate race; Black Caucus wants DHHS inquiry

Rev. Mark Harris plans to tell supporters Thursday that he’s decided to enter the race for Republican U.S. Senate nomination early next month, party sources told the Charlotte Observer. Harris, pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, has been on a "listening tour" around the state.

News and Observer: Polls shows Berger farthest behind Hagan

Public Policy Polling backs up my view (at this point) that Democrat Kay Hagan would beat Republican Phil Berger in a Senate race next year.The funny thing is that, among Republicans, Berger is the top choice for the GOP nomination (although with just 13 percent support against several other contenders). Yet in a head-to-head match with Hagan, Berger fares worst. He’s down 53-36.

ABC11: Cannon to face Peacock in Charlotte mayor’s race
Democrat Patrick Cannon will face Republican Edwin Peacock in a race to decide the next mayor of Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer reports that the 46-year-old Cannon, a council member who was first elected in 1993, edged James Mitchell in a hotly contested Democratic primary. Unofficial returns show Cannon received 56 percent of the primary vote. Meanwhile, Peacock easily defeated David Michael Rice in the GOP primary. The financial adviser and former two-term council member received more than 90 percent of the vote.

Charlotte Observer: What we learned from Charlotte’s primary
Some lessons from Tuesday’s Charlotte primary elections:
• Negative ads can backfire.
• Big-name endorsements don’t always work.
• And one vote does count, at least for Democratic City Council candidate Greg Phipps.Fewer than 7 percent of Charlotte voters turned out for primaries that nominated two mayoral candidates – Democrat Patrick Cannon and Republican Edwin Peacock – and essentially elected four City Council members, including two newcomers.

Huffington Post: Kentuckians Have Had Enough

When most people think of Kentucky, their minds drift to horses, basketball and rolling hills. These beloved symbols of the Bluegrass State do begin to tell our story, though I can assure you there is far more behind the hardworking families of my home state than meets the eye. As the third of five daughters, I had to find my voice and strength early. My parents and grandparents taught us that no matter what disagreements we might have as sisters, we had to find a way to get along and make our world a better place. I learned that we are all bound together and that turning your back on a coal miner, a veteran, a senior, a single mom or a child is not what we do in Kentucky. We are a proud people who take care of our own and help lift each other up. And that’s what I’ve tried to do over the course of my life — during my work outside of state government and as Kentucky’s Secretary of State.

Politico: GOP fears fundraising disaster
Senate Republicans have high hopes heading into the 2014 midterm elections, since President Barack Obama’s approval rating is down, his polarizing health care law is about to go into full effect and the economic recovery is dragging along.But Republicans have a problem: cash. GOP outside groups are struggling to keep up with the breakneck fundraising pace necessary ahead of the high-stakes election. Next year will be the Republican Party’s best shot at taking the Senate for years to come, since they would need to net six seats, while Democrats have seven seats to defend in states that Mitt Romney won last year.

NBC12: Cuccinelli donates Star cash, says Williams never got special treatment
In an about face- Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) made a big move Wednesday. After weeks of turning back calls to do so, he decided to donate the value of gifts given to him by Jonnie Williams the CEO of Star Scientific to charity. Cuccinelli said it is the "right thing to do" even though he believes initially receiving the gifts was not unethical. Democrats call the move purely political. The issue is hanging over his campaign for Governor and Cuccinelli knows it.

Roll Call: DCCC Taking Sides in 2014 Primaries
House Democrats are taking a calculated risk to help some candidates in contested, open primaries this cycle — despite the potential blowback that could come down the line.
The minority party faces one of the smallest House playing fields in a decade, so the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hopes that extra support for its top-tier recruits in primaries will yield the best odds of picking up the relatively few competitive seats attainable in 2014.


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC

Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.