DNC Edition

Dome: Maryland's governor calls McCrory an ideologue

FROM STAFF REPORTSSeptember 5, 2012 

The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association said he expects the national group to do what it takes to help elect Walter Dalton in North Carolina.

“We are very dedicated to helping Walter Dalton,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told The News & Observer in an interview Tuesday. “It’s certainly a top-tier race for us.”

O’Malley said of the 11 races for governor in the nation, North Carolina ranks in the top five. But he couldn’t put a figure on the DGA’s financial commitment, which is expected to top $5 million. “The fact that it’s a presidential swing state, and a state with an open seat following a Democratic governor, makes it a top-tier priority for us certainly,” he said.

On the day he spoke, the DGA-backed N.C. Citizens for Progress bought about $900,000 in television advertising time, likely to aim at Republican rival Pat McCrory. It’s unclear how much of this money came from the DGA, whose funds have already helped buy $1.4 million in TV commercials attacking McCrory.

O’Malley, the former Baltimore mayor, worked with McCrory on the U.S. Council of Mayors. “I know Mayor McCrory and I served with him in the U.S. conference of mayors and you will not find a ...” he said before cutting himself off mid-sentence.

Asked to continue, O’Malley leveled a critique of McCrory’s bipartisan claims on the campaign trail.

“He was one of the few ideologues in the conference of mayors,” O’Malley said. “He was always fronting for the Bush administration.”

McCrory’s campaign, which is getting more than $5 million in TV advertising from the Republican Governors Association, rejected the suggestion.

“It’s highly ironic that national partisan Democrats attack Pat McCrory while enjoying the facilities and atmosphere in the city he helped build,” spokesman Brian Nick said. “While Walter Dalton and his partisan cronies spend the day attacking Pat at the convention, Pat is across the state at a small business discussing his vision for fixing North Carolina’s broken economy.”

N.C. pols greet delegates

Tuesday morning, a large bank of TV cameras from national and local media descended on a sleepy North Carolina delegation, weary from two nights of parties and two days of political meetings. Their breakfast speakers included a perky Gov. Bev Perdue, U.S. Reps. Mike McIntyre of Lumberton and Brad Miller and David Price of Raleigh.

Miller told the delegates that the Republicans are waging class warfare on the middle class. He said the GOP wants to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy while vowing to cut programs that help the middle class, such as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

“I could never have imagined at a time when corporate profits are up and wages are headed down, that they would be calling for even more tax cuts for the richest Americans, including the biggest corporations and calling for greater taxes on everybody else,” Miller said.

“Warren Buffett is right. There is class war going on and his class is winning.”

Sam Ervin IV, a candidate for the state Supreme Court, also spoke. Judicial races are nonpartisan and David Parker, chairman of the state Democratic party, noted that Ervin is not running as a Democrat, but said, “he’s our candidate.”

Ervin, who sits on the N.C. Court of Appeals, is challenging incumbent Justice Paul Newby, who is getting help from Republicans.

“You do not want (a judge) with any ideological or political agenda,” Ervin said.

Eating with special interests

Who’s making sure the N.C. delegation is well fed and entertained? A conglomeration of special interests, including many with business before the state legislature and congress.

Wednesday’s N.C. delegation breakfast is sponsored by State Farm and the National Alliance of Manufacturers. At noon, the delegates – plus lawmakers and elected officials – can take a boat ride on nearby Lake Norman, courtesy of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The afternoon cocktail hour is paid for by TE Connectivity and the after-hours party by McGuire Woods, a lobbying firm in Raleigh.

The food and drink sponsors from Tuesday: Fidelity Investments and nuclear power company Areva.

At Tuesday’s breakfast the sponsors took the microphone for a short infomercial. “This North Carolina delegation is very important to State Farm,” the company’s representative said from the stage. “I want to take a little time to tell you about State Farm. ...”

Stadium gets Obama field office

The Obama campaign will open a field office inside Bank of America stadium Thursday to reach the roughly 60,000 people expected to attend President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech.

The campaign gave The News & Observer an exclusive sneak peek Tuesday at the effort, a tangible example of how the campaign is using the Democratic National Convention as an organizing tool for the fall campaign. (Consider it North Carolina field office No. 47 1/2.)

The office is across from the entrances to Section 101 and 102. It features nine picnic tables where volunteers can make phone calls to North Carolina voters from their cellphones and a social-media area where people can tweet and post Facebook photos of themselves holding a whiteboard explaining why they came to the speech.

“It will be a grass-roots experiences from the moment you get here,” said Cameron French, an Obama campaign spokesman.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen

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