Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Playing chicken in Charlotte's mayoral race

Around lunchtime today, someone came into John Lassiter's campaign headquarters and asked Perry Lucas a question: What's with the chicken?"

Lucas, Lassiter's campaign manager, went out to find a person in a yellow chicken suit parading in front of their Morehead Street office carrying a sign.

"Just Debate! Foxx is no chicken," it said.

The reference was to Monday's cancellation of a planned Oct. 27 League of Women Voters' debate between Lassiter, a Republican, and Democrat Anthony Foxx. It was to be televised on WTVI and WSOC. The League cancelled the hour-long debate when Lassiter wouldn't agree to six rebuttals, saying he wanted only three.

The person in the chicken suit -- a widespread tradition in debate politics --- was a volunteer for the Foxx campaign.

"This whole thing ... was just so ridiculous the way John was trying to take control of the conversation," said Foxx campaign manager Bruce Clark. "We thought this (chicken) was a way for the story to live on."

Said Lucas: "It was hysterical, but I was like, I cannot believe they're actually doing that it seemed a little below where I thought we'd be by now."

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pharmeceutical interests leave it to Beaver

When the Partnership for Prescription Assistance “Help is Here” Express pulls into Eastland Mall next week, it will have a special guest -- Jerry Mathers, aka The Beaver.

The Partnership is an outreach effort of an industry trade group known as PhRMA. The program is designed to raise awareness of programs that help patients with prescription needs.

State Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Charlotte Democrat, helped organize the visit. She says people can bring their current prescriptions for free advice or to see if they qualify for assistance. The tour is visiting areas hard hit by unemployment and the the recession.

The bus will be at the mall from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mathers, who suffers from diabetes, will appear at 2.

PhRMA and its CEO, former Republican U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, have come under fire from Republicans for supporting President Obama's health care reform efforts. The group has said it's willing to $150 million on a pro-health care-reform advertising campaign.

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio accused Tauzin and his group of "appeasement" and bowing to Democrats.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Poll says no N.C. politician very popular

With raucous debates over health care and a bevy of new state tax hikes, we know it's a tough market out there for N.C. politicians. But a new poll shows just how tough.

The survey by Raleigh's Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, shows neither of the state's two U.S. senators or the governor tops 40 percent in new approval ratings.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr came in at 38 percent while his Democratic counterpart Kay Hagan's approval stands at 32 percent. And Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue? Her approval is at 27 percent.

Of the 14 states in which the company has polled -- including Illinois, Ohio and Louisiana -- North Carolina has the lowest average approval rating for its senators and governor.

"North Carolinians like their politicians less than any other state we've polled this year," said company spokesman Tom Jensen. "All of the rest had at least one with an approval rating in the 40s....

"It will be interesting to see if a Jim Hunt or Jesse Helms arrives on the scene any time soon and is able to retain the affection of a majority- even a bare majority- of North Carolina voters for an extended period of time."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Huckabee helping Dole retire campaign debt

Two months ago Republican Elizabeth Dole was in Charlotte for a fundraiser for groups associated with Mike Huckabee. Now the former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate is repaying the favor.

Huckabee is helping Dole retire a $356,000 debt from her unsuccessful re-election bid. North Carolina's former U.S. senator loaned her campaign more than $2.1 million.

"The Nation lost a great hard working advocate for conservative values when her race was swept up in the Obama tide," Huckabee wrote in a fundraising e-mail this week. "I believe it would be a travesty if she were left with a debt after all her hard work as a public servant."

Huckabee is expected to run for president again in 2012.