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Entries for 'Gary Pearce'

01
Governor McCrory is the Missing Man in Republican campaign ads.
 
Thom Tillis campaigns with John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Mitt Romney. Wake County Republicans line up beside Sheriff Donnie Harrison.
 
But no Pat. No “endorsed by Governor McCrory” boasts. Not many rallies featuring the Gov. The only ads about McCrory attack him on coal ash.
 
He’s as scarce in GOP ads as President Obama in Democrats’ ads. Which says it all.
 
The Elon Poll found their job ratings about the same. McCrory’s are 37 approve, 47 disapprove; Obama’s, 40 approve, 52 disapprove.
 
Not a good sign for a Governor whose reelection battle begins Wednesday.

 

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31
Don’t ever say campaign ads aren’t educational. We’ve learned a lot this year, for example, about what judges do.
 
Judging (so to speak) from their ads, judges spend a lot of time reading things out of big books and copying them down on paper. They apparently must do this by hand, which seems laborious and time-consuming and may explain why it takes the courts so long to do anything.
 
This work may sound easy, but try doing it while sitting down in your choir robe.
 
Also, judges apparently spend a lot of time conducting serious conversations with serious-looking people who pay close attention to what they say. That makes sense, as the judge can throw them in the pokey for looking at His or Her Honor wrong. Many of these conversations occur when the judge is sitting at a bench, and some happen as they walk along marble-lined corridors.
 
I personally had no idea before this campaign what judges really do. So look for these qualities before you cast your ballot in the judicial races.

 

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30
Chad Barefoot must have asked his team: “What can we do that will so anger and offend women that they’ll vote AGAINST me?”
 
They came up with an ad that has backfire potential approaching the “child molester” ad against Justice Robin Hudson. It portrays Sarah Crawford’s husband as a cigar-smoking lobbyist laughing about how his little woman will vote the way he tells her to in the Senate.
 
Kimberly Reynolds of the Senate Democratic caucus pounced: “Evidently in Senator Barefoot’s world, corporate lobbyists rule and women are expected to simply follow their husbands’ orders.”
 
The ad could be a caricature of the Negative Ad. It’s not only sexist and over-the-top, it’s hypocritical: Yes, Sarah’s husband is a lobbyist – for the League of Conservation Voters. And, I’m told, Chad Barefoot’s mother-in-law also is a lobbyist – for the outfit that passed Amendment One.
 
In a district where women already are motivated – and make up a high number of swing voters – Chad & Co. may have pulled off one of the biggest bonehead plays of this election year.

 

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30
The term is new to me, but dog whistles are the oldest thing in Southern politics. This election, like all of them, comes down to race.
 
In 1950, it was “White People Wake Up…Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and daughters in your mills and factories?”
 
In 1984, it was “I oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. Where do you stand, Jim?”
 
Today it’s mailers linking Gary Pendleton’s opponent Kim Hanchette to a scary-looking photo of the Rev. William Barber. And Phil Matthews’ supporters criticizing Matt Calabria for supporting UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies when he ran for UNC student body president in 2004.
 
Same old, same old.
 
Republicans, as always, will say it’s Democrats who are “playing the race card.” They’ll say it’s racist for Democrats to link Republicans like Thom Tillis to Stand Your Ground laws, President Obama’s impeachment and voter-suppression laws.
 
Where you come down on this divide pretty much defines where you stand in American politics.
 
Just like it has ever since the Civil War, it still comes down to race.

 

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30
If you’re tired of ads, tired of contradictory punditry and tired of conflicting, confusing and cooked-up polls, here’s a prescription for sanity: Take a dose of the Elon University poll.
 
A warning about side effects: It will calm Democrats and give Republicans heartburn. (Hagan is up 45-41.)That aside, it gives you as clear, comprehensive and unbiased a look at the North Carolina electorate right now as you’re going to get. It isn’t a quickie poll to get the sponsor a headline, and it isn’t a cooked-up poll from a partisan.
 
Best of all for us poll junkies, they give you the full crosstabs. You can see the racial and religious breakdowns, the difference between NC natives and non-natives, voters’ opinions about issues from gay marriage (opposition is up) to abortion restrictions (opposition is also up).
 
You can see what has to be the number of most concern to Thom Tillis and the Republican legislature: 30 approve, 55 disapprove (worse than Obamacare). Nor will Governor McCrory find much comfort: he gets 37 approve, 47 disapprove.
 
A tip of the TAP hat to the Elon poll team!

 

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29
Thom Tillis faces a big obstacle as he tries to catch up in the final days: Thom Tillis.
 
If you turn off the sound and just watch Tillis, you’ll see the problem he has swaying undecided voters, especially those Walmart (or Target) moms who haven’t made up their minds yet.
 
Tillis can look cold, mean, even cruel. His countenance has the air of the management consultant he was, a tough guy who tells the CEO to eliminate that operation and lay off those employees.
 
He can’t help it even in his own positive ad. He addresses the camera, and it seems that we’re going to see a soft, friendly side. Then he sticks it to Senator Hagan, calling her a rubber-stamp. Where did Mr. Nice Guy go?
 
Contrast Tillis with another US Senate challenger, Scott Brown in New Hampshire (by way of Massachusetts). Clearly, Brown is a carpetbagger, a brazen opportunist and dumb as a bag of rocks. But, just as clearly, he seems to be a fun, friendly guy, a guy you’d like to have a beer with, as they say.
 
At this point in this race, undecided voters are looking for something to hang their hats on. It may not be an issue or a new piece of information. It may just be that human intuition about who you like and trust.
 
Tillis loses that test.
 

 

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27
An African-American minister proclaimed that a gay person should not be a judge. He also joined Rep. Skip Stam-and apparently 27 other House Republicans-in proclaiming that magistrates, who are officers of the court, should not have to carry out laws and court decisions they don’t like.
 
Forty years ago, several magistrates in North Carolina refused to perform interracial marriages, which they said violated their religious beliefs.
 
A question for the minister: What is the difference?
 
And a question for Rep. Stam, since he apparently did not take issue with the minister’s statement about gay judges: Let’s say, hypothetically, that there is a judge in North Carolina who is Republican and gay. And let’s say that judge is on the ballot for a court office. Should that judge resign and abandon his or her candidacy?
 
Just asking.

 

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24
The Republican effort to suppress votes at Appalachian State University may have backfired.
 
More than 700 people voted yesterday at the Student Union polling place that the State Board of Elections tried to shut down. Now we know why the board didn't want it.
 
An App student said, “It sends a clear message about how we respond to being suppressed. College students are obviously listening.”
 
A tip of the TAP hat to the 20-somethings in the ASU College Dems and the 20-plus-somethings in the Watauga County Dems who fought so hard for this.
 
Ian O’Keefe, the coordinated-campaign manager, was supposed to be on Rachel Maddow’s show last night to talk about it, but got bumped by Ebola.
 
Now Republicans might get bumped by an epidemic of their own making.

 

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23
Time Warner Cable News made more news than it intended with the “empty chair” debate.
 
One media critic said TWC “orchestrated a phony scandal and boosted Thom Tillis's North Carolina Senate campaign by placing an empty chair for his opponent, Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, at an event it billed as a ‘debate’ -- though it had known for months Hagan would not attend. TWC's stunt resulted in widespread negative media coverage of Hagan and helped amplify GOP attacks on the senator in the midst of a race some experts consider a toss-up.”
 
The criticism came from Media Matters, a watchdog group that leans left. Yes, you could dismiss its critique as “liberal bias,” but reporters and editors here are asking the same questions.
 
The empty chair – one of the oldest and tiredest clichés in politics – led The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer to pull out of the debate.
 
The N&O’s executive editor, John Drescher, said, “We had an honest miscommunication with Time Warner Cable News. We wanted to have a serious discussion with Mr. Tillis about the issues without any gimmicks. My understanding was that we would tell viewers every 15 minutes that Sen. Hagan had declined our invitation but that we would not have an empty chair.”
 
TWC’s interviewers certainly didn’t kowtow to Tillis. Tim Boyum and Loretta Boniti asked tough questions and had a chance to follow up and pin him down. Some viewers may think Tillis lost the debate to the empty chair, much like Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention.
 
TWC may have lost the debate, too. It’s in the difficult position of making news, not just reporting it. And the affair gave Media Matters a chance to dredge up “accusations of a cozy relationship between Tillis and the telecom company.”

 

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22
My last blog raised the possibility that big money and negative TV ads increase voter turnout. Now let’s consider the radical idea that the same two evils have another happy effect: increasing the level of voter information.
 
Denouncing the money and the ads, an N&O editorial said, “The ‘assault ads’ that bombard the viewer with dubious claims about the other candidate aren’t about informing voters at all but about appealing to the worst instincts of Republicans and Democrats, going for the emotional jugular.”
 
True, the ads go for the jugular. But is it true they don’t inform voters?
 
Actually, if you paid attention to every single ad in the U.S. Senate race, all the candidate ads and outside-group ads, you’d know everything there is to know about both candidates, good and bad: their voting records, their attendance records, their positions on issues, their past statements, their business records, you name it.
 
Now, are all the ads true? Of course not. They slant and distort. They gild the lily and stretch the truth. As do all paid ads, whether for cars, brokerage companies or weight-loss products.
 
But that’s not true of just “assault ads.” Sometimes the biggest lies are in the positive ads. See the ad where the Duke Energy President talks about the company’s commitment to the environment? That’s a positive ad. Do you believe that everything he says is true?
 
No, because we’re smarter than that. Smart enough to sift through what we hear and make up our own minds.
 
Of course, we’re not all paying attention to every ad. Maybe we’re like the Walmart moms that Rob Christensen wrote about: “Despite all the TV advertising, the moms could not recall much about Hagan or Tillis. They could only remember a few of the TV ads, other than they were bashing each other. These are busy people whose lives revolved around their families and their jobs, and watching the news didn’t seem to be a high priority, and they have only a passing interest in politics….Several mothers said they planned Googling for information on the Internet on election eve.”
 
That makes sense. Because everything on the Internet is true. Unlike TV ads.

 

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