Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Articles

Six of us sat down for our weekly lunch and an ethical  perplexity landed on the table: Does a Republican have to defend Donald Trump, no matter what he says, because if he doesn’t he’s helping elect Hillary? Eric, an attorney, asked.

No one liked Hillary but no one liked Trump either and then Eric continued, Trump will appoint better Supreme Court Justices. He’s the lesser of two evils – and it seemed the ends of defeating Hillary justified the means of standing behind Trump to everyone except Richard – who asked:

Do you think Trump regrets his bragging and bullying and saying Ted Cruz’s father and Lee Harvey Oswald were friends?

I wouldn’t go that far, Eric laughed.

So isn’t it wishful thinking to think, Richard asked, those vices will sow seeds that bear good fruit?

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


Sitting in a century old steakhouse staring out at the Brooklyn Bridge thirty years ago Hank Greenburg (the pollster not the baseball player) explained an election that could only happen in the grubby circus of New York politics: Given a choice between a Crook and a Fool, he said, voters take the Crook.

His theory was simple: You can predict what a Crook will do but you never know what a Fool may do.

Back then – during the final chapter of the Cold War – from where I sat in the world of southern politics I saw two kinds of candidates: Conservatives and everyone else. And Hank’s idea that crooks and fools had a unique role of their own to play struck me as perverse.

But three decades later Hank’s theory has stood the test of time: We have two New Yorkers running for President and the last fifteen polls show Hillary Clinton leading.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


The most devastating TV spot in political history was the “Daisy ad” in 1964.

This year, Hillary Clinton’s campaign needs an ad that makes one simple point: If Donald Trump is elected President, he will have sole, unchecked power to start a nuclear war.


Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


Hillary Clinton has been to North Carolina. President Obama has been here. Bill Clinton is back here. Tim Kaine has been here.

It’s time to send the Big Gun: Michelle Obama.

She was the biggest hit of the Democratic Convention, excepting Khizr Khan. Of course, Donald Trump hasn’t attacked Michelle. Yet. Maybe Melania is planning to use Michelle’s speech from this convention too.

A recent PPP national poll found that Michelle is the most popular Democratic figure in the country, with a 56-39 favorable rating. Next is Joe Biden at 50-39 and then her husband, at 50-47.

Michelle’s work with military families has always been a big hit here. She’s popular with women Independents, who admire a woman who has raised two exemplary children in the White House spotlight. (Yes, Barack deserves some credit, but we know who does the heavy lifting.)

She’s smart, she’s strong, she’s classy and, above all, she’s real.

So memo to the Clinton campaign: North Carolina is the Big Show, and we want the Big Star.

Send us Michelle.


Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


Pat McCrory is acting more and more like Donald Trump.

Like Trump, he’s thin-skinned and sensitive. Like Trump, he personally and viciously attacks anybody who disagrees with him. And like Trump, he can’t stop digging his hole deeper.

McCrory had his chief of staff call a late-night press conference to accuse a career state scientist of “lying under oath.”

That’s a serious charge. And the story demands serious attention.

It looks like McCrory’s political appointees pressured scientists to water down (so to speak) health warnings about drinking water near Duke Energy’s coal ash dumps. The scientists refused to buckle. So the political people just changed the warnings themselves.

This isn’t just politics. It directly affects the health and lives of hundreds of North Carolina citizens.

It’s clear why this would happen. McCrory already is hurting from his career with Duke and because he agrees with Duke that consumers should pay for the coal-ash cleanup.

So, just as with Hate Bill 2 and the NBA All-Star Game, and just like Trump, McCrory doubles and triples down.

Which raises once again the old adage: The worst wounds in politics are self-inflicted.

The Clinton and Cooper campaigns might heed another adage: When your opponent is busy shooting himself in the foot, stay out of the line of fire.



Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


It’s an odd sort of logic: UNC-Chapel Hill lawyered up and made its case to the NCAA: It admitted it held phony classes that never met; it admitted football and basketball players were in the classes – but said none of that’s a problem because phony classes don’t violate NCAA rules.

It’s an unusual argument coming from the ‘crown jewel’ of higher education – but that’s how UNC Chancellor Carol Folt sees it: We did it. We’re guilty. But we shouldn’t be punished.

And the responsibility doesn’t stop with Folt: Not one member of the Board of Governors, the Trustees, or  Margaret Spellings has said: Wait a minute. Hold on. This doesn’t pass the smell test.

Posted in: General, Issues
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


We knew that when a woman ran for President there’d be talk about being temperamental, overly emotional, overly sensitive and subject to mood swings that might be dangerous in the Oval Office and Situation Room.

We just didn’t know that talk would be about the man in the race.

But since he won the Republican nomination two weeks ago, Donald Trump has given us reason to question not only his judgment and temperament, but his very mental and emotional stability.

Questions about mental health aren’t new to presidential races.

In 1964, Democrats suggested Barry Goldwater was crazy enough to start a nuclear war. In 1968 and 1972, there were rumors about Richard Nixon’s treatment by a psychiatrist. In 1972, Thomas Eagleton had to drop off the Democratic ticket after he admitted to undergoing electric-shock therapy for depression. In 1988, Lee Atwater said Michael Dukakis had been “hooked up to jumper cables” and President Reagan said “I’m not going to pick on an invalid.”

And we’ve seen a plethora of pop psychoanalysis of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

But never has a candidate given us more reason to question his (or her) sanity than Donald Trump does daily.

The most striking thing is how self-destructive his behavior is.

The day after he accepted the GOP nomination, Trump launched off again on Ted Cruz and whether Cruz’s father had a hand in JFK’s assassination. But, then, nobody likes Cruz.

It’s another thing altogether to attack – and keep attacking – the parents of an American soldier who died heroically in combat.

Carter tagged Trump right a few weeks ago when he noted that everything he says is either bragging or bullying.

But now it has gone even farther.

It’s not just ignorance: “Putin isn’t in Crimea. Oh, well, maybe he is.”

It’s not just rampant lying: Then: “I have a good relationship with Putin.” Now: “I have no relationship with Putin.”

It’s a pattern of behavior that is temperamental, overly emotional, overly sensitive and subject to mood swings that might be dangerous in the Oval Office and Situation Room.

As Barney Fife once said of Ernest T. Bass, “He’s just a nut, Andy.”

But this nut could be elected President.


Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


During the conventions the past two weeks, The Charlotte Observer published daily posts by Carter and me. We thank Taylor Batten and Peter St. Onge for the invitation and the guidance.

We’ve been honored to do it, we’ve had great response and our blog got new readers.

But we’re glad it’s over. Writing for a daily newspaper is hard work. I remember now why I left it 40 years ago.


Posted in: General
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


What exactly did Donald Trump mean when he said Vladimir Putin is a “better leader” than President Obama and “is doing a better job”?

Does he mean Russia is a better country? That it has a stronger economy? A fairer society? Better government? Or is more respected and admired around the world?

Or does he mean Putin is “stronger” than Obama? Because Obama abides by the Constitution and must deal with a Congress controlled by his political opponents, while Putin is a self-appointed dictator who imprisons, intimidates and assassinates his political opponents?

Why don’t we ask the Russians to hack Trump’s tax returns? Then we’ll see what he’s hiding. Deals with the Russian government, maybe?

Is Putin funneling rubles to Trump?


Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |


The Democratic and Republican conventions offered two starkly different visions of America. Here’s how this old Democrat sees them.

Hillary Clinton’s is bright and optimistic. Donald Trump’s is dark and pessimistic.

Clinton says there’s hope. Trump says he’s the only hope.  

Clinton is about love and unity. Trump is about fear and loathing.  

Clinton says America is great and can be greater. Trump says only he can make it great.  

Clinton says the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Trump says be afraid, be very afraid.  

Clinton has an army of surrogates and validators: Bill, Chelsea, Obama and Biden. Trump has Ivanka, Chris Christie and Vladimir Putin.

Clinton was Secretary of State, and the world didn’t blow up. Trump, who knows?

We know most everything about Clinton. We have a lot to learn about Trump.

August will be about each candidate defining himself or herself – and their opponent. Clinton has the money and discipline to do that. Does Trump?


Actions: E-mail | Permalink | RSS comment feed |

Page 30 of 476« First...1020...293031...4050...Last »
Carter & Gary
Carter Wrenn
Gary Pearce
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
Follow Gary

Follow Carter


Order The Book


Carter's Book!

Purchase Carter's Book:

Spirits of the Air

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Copyright (c) Talking About Politics   :   Terms Of Use   :   Privacy Statement