Under the Dome

Dome: Fox News asks Berger about Perdue gaffe

September 30, 2011 

N.C. Senate President Phil Berger appeared Thursday afternoon on Fox News, which took notice of his tongue-in-cheek statement after Gov. Bev Perdue stuck her foot in her mouth.

Perdue on Tuesday suggested suspending congressional elections for two years so Congress could focus on economic recovery rather than the next election. She later said she was being sarcastic.

Berger, in response, dropped this one-liner: "If anything, we may need to move up next year's gubernatorial election." He added that when you're governor, you don't make those kinds of comments, joking or not.

"I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt until the audio tape came out," Berger said. "Listening to the audio tape, it's pretty clear. She was soliciting support for the proposal."

Sarah Palin even mentioned Perdue's gaffe in a Facebook post Wednesday evening, tying her to President Barack Obama and saying that "nothing should surprise concerned Americans anymore."

Perdue's ratings are low

Meanwhile, a new survey shows that Perdue has her lowest job ratings in nearly two years. The poll of North Carolina voters found that 42 percent approve of the job that Perdue is doing as governor, while 48 percent disapprove, according to a survey conducted for the Civitas Institute, a conservative advocacy group. That is the lowest approval rating for Perdue in a Civitas poll since October 2009.

At a Civitas luncheon Thursday, former N.C. GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer made a bold prediction: Perdue will not be the Democratic Party nominee for governor. "You heard it here first," he said.

Perdue hires re-election chief

Because we can't stop talking about Perdue: Fiona Conroy, former director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, has gone to work as campaign manager of the governor's re-election campaign.

Conroy, 27, has worked for the Pennsylvania House Democrats for the past couple of years. She worked in numerous campaigns in 2008, including serving as a consultant to the Perdue campaign.

She has a master's degree in political management from George Washington University.

Perdue's key consultants and strategists are expected to be general consultant Marc Farinella of Florida, who ran Obama's North Carolina campaign in 2008, media consultant Saul Shorr of Philadelphia, and pollster Fred Yang of Washington.

GOP has 'A Special Evening'

Celebratory House Republicans booked nearly a dozen banquet rooms Thursday night in the Sheraton Hotel and the Capital City Club in downtown Raleigh, and invited some folks to come and talk. It was promoted as "A Special Evening" in three parts.

House Speaker Thom Tillis was to be at both events. He also was to have his own room at the Capital City Club from 6:30 until 8 p.m.

Staff writers John Frank, Rob Christensen and Lynn Bonner

jfrank@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4698

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