Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moore poaching McCrory's turf?

Some blue-chip contributors are raising money for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Moore, right in the backyard of a possible rival.

Moore is holding a fundraiser Monday in Charlotte's Myers Park neighborhood. That's not far from the home of Republican Mayor Pat McCrory, who's apparently weighing his options for a gubernatorial race.

The list of hosts for the fundraiser includes at least a half-dozen McCrory contributors including banker Amy Brinkley, investor Nelson Schwab and businessman Tom Nelson.

Whether or not McCrory runs, the fundraiser could be bad news for the three Republicans already in the race and hoping to tap Charlotte money.
The list includes people known more for contributing to Republicans than Democrats.

Among them: attorney Russell Robinson, retired bankers Cliff Cameron and Hugh McColl Jr., philanthropist C.D. Spangler and businessmen Chuck Hood, Rusty Goode and Charlie Shelton. For good measure, Moore's also lined up Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson.

His campaign hopes to raise at least $100,000.

Moore is running against Democrat Beverly Perdue in the primary.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Edwards digs Hillary's 'plants'

Democrat John Edwards has launched a new Web site that takes digs at questions planted for rival Hillary Clinton by her campaign.

The site, called plantsfor hillary.com, mocks the questions that were planted for Clinton at at least two appearances by the New York senator. It features a photo of an oversized potted plant and instructions labeled "Spotting a Hillary Plant: A Field Guide."

The "guide" includes tips such as, "Questions begin 'what is your superfantastic solution to'..." and "You see folks carrying a small binder of 'Safe and Approved Questions for Hillary.'"

Edwards' aides say the site is tongue-in-cheek. But it's the campaign's first Web site to go after a rival Democrat and continues Edwards' drumbeat of criticism on Clinton.

Clinton's S.C. spokesman Zac Wright said the campaign won't "deign to comment" on the site.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Edwards: Stretching presidential power?

When it comes to health care, John Edwards is promising to play hardball with members of Congress. The problem is, they might not play.

The former N.C. senator launched a new ad Tuesday in Iowa, where he's locked in battle with Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with barely seven weeks to go before the state's crucial caucuses.

“When I’m president," he says in the ad, "I’m going to say to members of Congress and members of my administration, including my Cabinet: I’m glad that you have health care coverage and your family has health care coverage. But if you don’t pass universal health care by July of 2009 — in six months — I’m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you. There’s no excuse for politicians in Washington having health care when you don’t have health care."

Clinton's campaign called the proposal "unconstitutional."

"That's not the way we're going to get universal health care in America," spokesman Phil Singer said. "We'll get universal health care by electing someone who has the strength and experience to actually get it done -- Hillary Clinton."

Edwards' campaign, which has been upping its attacks on Clinton, gleefully responded by saying, "she defends health care for politicians while millions of Americans and their families go without care."

But how would Edwards take away congressional health care? After all, he can't do it by executive order.

A spokesman said a President Edwards would have legislation introduced and, in effect, dare Congress not to pass it.

"If any member of Congress wants to argue that they should have health care while the American people don't, he should find a new line of work," said spokesman Eric Schultz. "When he’s president, John Edwards is going to demand accountability from Congress and he’s going to get it."

As for the constitutionality, Schultz cited the opinion of University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, an Obama adviser quoted in a Politico blog.

"If legislation is introduced and Congress enacts it, that's fine,"
Schultz quoted Sunstein saying.

But Sunstein went on to call the Edwards' plan "a stunt."

"Congress isn’t going to enact legislation taking away its own health care," he said.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Charlotte mayors' statewide: 0-6

If Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory runs for statewide office, he'd try to do something none of his four predecessors did - win.

McCrory, who was just re-elected Tuesday to a seventh term, says he's keeping the doors open to a statewide run. But every Charlottte mayor for the last three decades has walked through that door, only to have it slam in their face. Some more than once.

Success in Charlotte doesn't necesarily translate across North Carolina, as these mayors found out.

Richard Vinroot, 1991-95
He lost a 1996 Republican gubernatorial primary to Robin Hayes. He won the 2000 nomination but lost to Democrat Mike Easley.

Sue Myrick, 1987-91
She lost the GOP’s 1992 U.S. Senate primary to Lauch Faircloth. Elected to the U.S. House in 1994.

Harvey Gantt, 1983-87
He won Democratic Senate nomination twice, in 1990 and 1996. He lost twice to Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eddie Knox, 1979-83
He lost the 1984 Democratic gubernatorial primary to Rufus Edmisten. Edmisten, by the way, went on to lose to Republican Jim Martin.

Martin, who, though not a mayor, had been a Mecklenburg County commissioner. But he claimed his lake house made him an Iredell County resident.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Edwards rips Clinton on YouTube

John Edwards began running his first ad on TV stations in Iowa this week. It's called "Heroes" and pays homage to working Americans. It doesn't mention any of his rivals.

Not so with another ad that also began this week. It's called "The Politics of Parsing" and takes direct aim at New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. It airs solely on YouTube.

The second ad splices pictures of Clinton from Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia giving seemingly contradictory answers to questions about Iraq, Social Security and immigration. To underscore the point, the "Blue Danube" waltz plays in the background.

Like other candidates, Edwards has used YouTube videos before to showcase an ad. But this is the first one that's offered direct criticism of a Democratic rival. It continues a drumbeat he began even during the debate of accusing Clinton of "double-talk."

Edwards' ad is a response to one Clinton's campaign posted YouTube ad after the debate. It's called "The Politics of Pile On."

"Four years ago, John Edwards told voters that if they wanted someone to attack other Democrats, he wasn't their guy," Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said Saturday. "As his poll numbers continue to slip, he's unfortunately become that guy."

As of Saturday, Edwards' video had already been viewed more than 143,000 times. That's not bad reach for an ad that's essentially free to produce and post.

"Those aren't 143,000 people in Iowa or New Hampshire," says Andrew Taylor, a political scientist at N.C. State. "But it's still a pretty cost-effective way of getting a message across."

Edwards' spokeswoman Colleen Murray said YouTube offers "an innovative and immediate way to communicate our message."

"In this case, it immediately showed voters that this wasn't about the 'politics of pile-on,'" she said. "It was about Senator Clinton practicing the 'politics of parsing.'"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bush challenger takes on Myrick

During an appearance in Charlotte 18 months ago, President Bush may have regretted calling on a man who'd raised his hand in the balcony at Central Piedmont Community College.

"I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened, by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency," Harry Taylor told the president. "And I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself."

Taylor's public scolding of the president made news around the world. It brought him interviews on network news shows and made him a darling of the liberal blogosphere. He prompted one blog called simply: thankyouharrytaylor.org.

Now the Charlotte businessman plans to run for Congress against Republican Rep. Sue Myrick.

Taylor's formal announcement is scheduled for mid-November. But a message from him is posted on the Democratic Web site BlueNC.

"I am not a politician, nor have I ever sought to become one," he writes. "But now, I am so seriously concerned about what is happening to our beloved America, I have decided to run for the U.S. Congress.
We face a very divisive partisan incumbent who has been a rubber stamp for Bush's policies on such issues as Iraq and children's health care. Success will take enormous effort, and I cannot do it alone. Simply and honestly, I need your help!"