Under the Dome

Perdue tries to whistle up a Mayberry miracle

October 28, 2008 

Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue is looking for a Mayberry miracle.

Andy Griffith is in a new TV ad supporting the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, who is in a tight race with Republican Pat McCrory, may-or of Charlotte.

Appealing to North Carolinians' strong attachment to the 1960s TV show that chronicled life in the fictional town of Mayberry, Griffith says in the ad: "You know I like to whistle on my way to the lake, but this is no time for whistling. This is a time to gather around a strong leader -- Bev Perdue."

The famed North Carolina actor goes on to say: "She loves this state like I do. ... With her help, times'll get better for whistling again."

Griffith filmed an ad for Perdue during the primary. Last week, he starred in a Web video with Ron Howard, who played Opie in the TV show, in support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

He did a similar ad for Gov. Mike Easley in the closing weeks of the 2000 campaign for governor. The ad, which some believe helped Easley win, became known in political circles as "the Mayberry miracle."

Perdue and Obama are side-by-side in a new mailer.

The N.C. Democratic Party paid for the mailer, which features the party's gubernatorial and presidential candidates and the words "Democrats we trust to fight for us."

The photograph of the two is from the run-up to the May primary, when it was used by the Perdue campaign in a mailer targeted at black voters.

In a sign of how competitive North Carolina has become, the new mailer was sent to a larger group of voters, including unaffiliated and white voters.

McCain, Obama run even

The presidential race in North Carolina is a dead heat, according to the latest survey by Public Policy Polling.

The Democratic firm surveyed 1,038 likely voters Oct. 25-26 and found that Obama, with 49 percent, and Republican John McCain, with 48 percent, are virtually tied. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

The survey found, though, that Obama has a strong lead (51-39) among unaffiliated voters and is doing well (63-36) among people who say they have already voted.

The same poll shows that the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina continues to be close.

Public Policy Polling says its latest survey shows that Democratic challenger Kay Hagan is the choice of 48 percent, while Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole is the choice of 45 percent.

Libertarian Christopher Cole was the choice of 4 percent.

Professors make plea

Communication professors from across the country have signed a statement calling on the campaign of Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin to stop "incendiary mendacity" and "false and inflammatory" statements about Obama.

The statement on the Web site http://politicalcommunication.info/ urges both presidential campaigns to halt "blatant misrepresentations of their opponent's positions." But the professors say the McCain/Palin campaign's discourse -- on the stump and in robocalls -- "is unethical and stokes the fires of racism."

"We see an effort to color-code the election as between an urban, African-American Obama falsely linked to terms like 'terrorist,' 'unpatriotic,' and 'welfare,' versus small town, white 'patriotic' Americans like the mythical Joe the Plumber," the statement said in part.

The statement was signed by 140 professors, including 14 from North Carolina. The N.C. signers are: Carole Blair, Renee Alexander Craft, Lawrence Grossberg, Dennis Mumby, Della Pollock, Michael S. Waltman and Eric King Watts, all from UNC-Chapel Hill; Jessica Katz Jameson, William J. Kinsella, Craig Allen Smith and Sarah Stein, all from N.C. State University; Spoma Jovanovic and Chris Poulos from UNC-Greensboro; and Kathleen J. Turner from Davidson College.

(By staff writers Ryan Teague Beckwith, Jane Stancill and Bill Krueger.)

ryan.teague.beckwith@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4944

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