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31
One of Walter Dalton’s biggest challenges is winning Independent women voters in the Charlotte media market. How does he do that? Take them to school.
 
Dalton can go after on education Pat McCrory two ways.
 
One, McCrory will rubber-stamp whatever the legislature does to the public schools.
 
Senator Josh Stein did a good job summing up the damage so far: $650 million in K-12 cuts, eliminating 6,400 teachers and teacher assistants at the same time student enrollment is increasing; eliminating proven programs like the Teaching Fellows; cuts in funding for textbooks, technology in the classroom, PTAs and counselors for children in military families.  Plus the biggest cuts ever to the UNC system, cuts in financial aid, cuts in the community colleges and increases in tuition.
 
That’s a lot in two years. What’s next?
 
Two, show that McCrory favors charter schools and private schools at the expense of public schools.
 
A lot more families have kids in public schools.  How do they feel about taking money from their kids’ schools to support charter schools – or, worse, to subsidize families that send their children to private school? (That’s a subsidy Republicans like.)
 
Four years ago, there were a lot of Obama-McCrory voters in the Charlotte market. Dalton can’t let that happen again. 

 

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31
The State Medicaid Department has a Public Integrity Section to root out fraud which sounds fine only according to the State Auditor the department paid IBM and SAS $8 million to help find fraud but then only recovered $427,000 – so, at the end of the day, instead of fighting fraud the department compounded fraud with waste and dug the hole $7.5 million deeper.
 

 

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31
Mitt Romney’s running an ad that shows Barack Obama saying, If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that, and it sure looks and sounds and smells like the truth but Obama says there’s not a word of truth in it – that Romney edited a piece of video of his speech, took what he said out of context, and made an ad that’s just plain wrong.
 
And this time, for once, it looks like Obama’s right: He fumbled and stumbled in that speech but when he said the word ‘that’ in the line ‘you didn’t build thatit sure looks like he was talking about roads and bridges and not businesses.
 
But, when it comes to ads, Obama has his own problems – like the ad he ran that The Washington Post gave “4 Pinocchios.” Which leads to a conundrum: Here we have two accomplished men, both graduates of Harvard, both, no doubt, able to look at an ad and tell if it’s true, and who both, respectively, looked at their ads and told their campaigns, ‘Go on – air it.’
 
 

 

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31
Republican legislators may be anti-government, but they’re obviously not anti-grabbing government goodies for themselves.
 
Ex-Rep. Stephen LaRoque ran a program that received federal money. Now he faces federal charges of money laundering and theft from the program. Among those who got money from him are two Republican colleagues: former Senator Debbie Clary and Rep. Mark Hilton.
 
Clearly, they found a way to overcome the Republican opposition to federal spending.

 

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30
Republicans in the state legislature cut Planned Parenthood’s state funding by $125,000 but, to give the devil its due, in the blink of an eye Planned Parenthood turned a cut into a three-fold blessing by persuading the Obama Administration to give it $426,000 – as one Republican legislator said, I guess we can thank our lucky stars we didn’t cut their budget more.

 

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30

One: Representative Stephen LaRoque was indicted.

Two: Speaker Thom Tillis advised LaRoque to resign.

Three: LaRoque didn’t.

Four:  Tillis appointed a bi-partisan committee to investigate.

Five:  LaRoque resigned.

One. Two. Three. No deals. No double-talk. No dodging. Scandal over.

 

 

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30
It’s one thing for Mitt Romney to dis the Brits at their Olympics. It’s another thing altogether to distance himself from his wife’s role in the Olympics. Together these are disturbing signs of a man who doesn’t want us to see who he really is.
 
Romney’s disastrous NBC interview in London got attention mostly for his coldly critical appraisal of the Olympic preparations. He seemed to be saying: “They’re not as smart as me.”
 
His campaign, which had been boasting about how he understood the shared “Anglo-Saxon heritage” of America and the U.K., had to backflip and start spinning that real Americans don’t care what Brit twits think. A high degree of difficulty there.
 
Less noted were the gyrations Romney went through to act like he didn’t know the first thing about his wife’s involvement in Olympic “dressage,” which apparently is a French word meaning “horse dancing.”
 
He professed not to know when the event was, nor have any interest in such a fancy-dancy rich people’s event nor intend to pay any attention to it at all. But, in fact, he attended an Olympic qualifying dressage event in 2008, and he and his wife took a $77,731 loss on their 2010 tax returns for their share of their horse’s care.
 
This is all of a piece with Romney distancing himself from another crucial part of his life: his religion. He obviously is a man of serious faith, but no way is he going to tell us about it.
 
Again, he suspects many Americans don’t like that part of him. So instead of explaining it to us, he tries to hide it from us.
 
This is a man who (1) leads a life totally alien to that of most Americans, (2) knows it down deep and (3) is dishonest with us about it.
 
Not good qualities in a President.
 

 

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27
Two of my guilty pleasures are Snoopy’s hot dogs and Chick-Fil-A. So what’s a good Democrat to do when the Snoopy’s owner attacks President Obama and Chick-Fil-A’s owner condemns gay marriage?
 
I’m reminded of McDonald’s some years back. The founder and owner, Ray Kroc, was a big buddy and big contributor to Richard Nixon. Many Democrats, as a result, elected to eschew Big Macs.
 
Kroc died in 1984. In 1987, his widow Joan gave the Democratic Party $1 million – to that date, the party’s biggest donation ever.  Over the years, she also gave millions more to hospitals, universities, children’s charities and nuclear-disarmament groups.
 
The lesson: Eat up. Enjoy the hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. Good karma will come around.

 

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26
A Democrat concerned about Obama’s allegedly anti-small business statement (“you didn’t build that”) asks: “What did he really say? The quote sounds bad.”
 
It does indeed, and Republicans have jumped all over it.
 
Obama made the statement on July 13, in a campaign speech in Roanoke, Va. Here’s the full quote:
 
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
 
Read by itself, the line sounds bad: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” But defenders of the President say “that” refers to the sentence before: “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.” He was saying that the business owner didn’t build the roads and bridges, somebody else did. Which is true.
 
So all of this would have been avoided if he had said: “You didn’t build those roads and bridges.”
 
Of such small twists of the tongue – and ambiguities – are political flaps made.
 

 

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26
The Republican (Civitas) poll says Pat McCrory leads Walter Dalton 47-37. The Democratic (N.C. Citizens for Progress) poll says McCrory’s lead, once 12 points, has been cut in half – from 46-34 in April to 45-39 in July.
 
So what does this really tell us?
 
First, McCrory’s five-year campaign has given him an edge. Second, the race conforms to the inelastic contours of North Carolina’s split electorate. Third, nobody really knows these guys yet. And, fourth, McCrory still leads in the other number that counts: cash.
 
According to the Democratic poll, by Garin-Hart-Yang, “(McCrory’s) drop is due largely to the TV ads raising questions about his special interest connections and failure to release his taxes that would shed light on which interests he has actually worked for. This means Walter Dalton is now well within striking distance.”
 
The other side has its spin:  “Any one poll is a snapshot of voter sentiment,” said Francis De Luca, Civitas president. “More important are the trends over time, and those trends show McCrory maintaining a significant lead.''
 
So both agree McCrory is ahead. But the Democratic poll sees hope: “…our survey finds that Barack Obama holds a 46% to 44% advantage over Mitt Romney, and in a VERY positive sign for Dalton, undecided voters in the governor’s race prefer Obama by a two to one margin.”
 
In other words, the Democratic vote is eventually going to coalesce for Dalton, making it essentially a tie. Which, of course, makes sense in a state where some 90-plus percent of the voters already know how they are going to vote in November.
 
The race comes down to which candidate does a better job of defining himself and the other guy. That is, who has the best TV. And the most.
 
Right now, it looks like McCrory will have the most money to spend. That’s the (multi) million-dollar elephant in this room.

 

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