Under the Dome

Marshall opposes more troops for Afghanistan

December 13, 2009 

Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall said she opposes President Barack Obama's move to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

"I acknowledge that there are no easy answers in Afghanistan and I respect the time and consideration that the president took in making his decision," Marshall said in a statement. "I disagree that now is the time to commit 30,000 additional men and women to prop up a corrupt government that has shown no real effort to reform itself.

"The mission that we are about to undertake has too much to do with building a nation that has not had a stable or responsible government in decades and too little to do with keeping us safe at home," said Marshall, the secretary of state.

In opposing the Afghanistan buildup, Marshall appears to be trying to position herself to the left of former state Sen. Cal Cunningham of Lexington, an Iraq war veteran, who was recruited into the race by Washington Democrats.

Also running in the May Democratic primary is Kenneth Lewis, a Chapel Hill lawyer.

Hearing set on court nominees

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nominations of two North Carolina judges for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judges Albert Diaz and Jim Wynn will appear before the committee at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The hearing offers senators the chance to question the nominees about their backgrounds and judicial philosophy. A vote isn't likely until a later committee meeting.

Wynn and Diaz were nominated this fall to sit on the 4th Circuit, the court immediately below the U.S. Supreme Court. They must be confirmed by the full Senate.

Rally against health reform

North Carolina's chapter of Americans for Prosperity has signed up more than 300 residents for a "Code Red" rally in Washington on health care reform.

The group, which opposes the Democrats' reform bills, plans to rally Tuesday on Capitol Hill. The national protest is being promoted by radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, along with several political organizations.

Dallas Woodhouse, director of the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said he hopes to get as many as 500 people traveling in buses to Washington and has asked U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to address the group.

Obama down in N.C. poll

About half of North Carolina voters remain happy with the job President Barack Obama is doing, according to a new poll.

The Civitas Institute surveyed 600 likely voters Dec. 1-3 and found that 48 percent had a favorable opinion of Obama. That is down from earlier in the year, when a Civitas poll found that 64 percent of likely voters in North Carolina had a favorable opinion of Obama.

In the recent poll, 38 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of Obama; 14 percent had no opinion.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

By staff writers Rob Christensen, Barbara Barrett and Bill Krueger

robc@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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