Under the Dome

Dome: Newby supporter provides 'letter to the editor' for others to use

October 9, 2012 

A former law clerk to state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby is encouraging others who support Newby’s re-election to send in canned, pre-written letters to the editors of their local newspapers. He also provides the letter, and a suggestion that they not be sent to The N&O.

Trey Allen, now an attorney with Tharrington Smith in Raleigh, says in an email circulated last week that he’s asking an influential lawyer in his home town of Lumberton to send the letter because that lawyer’s name carries more weight there than his.

Form letters to the editor are common, but editors try to avoid publishing them.

Mike Davis, a spokesman for Newby’s opponent, Judge Sam Ervin IV, said his campaign encourages supporters to write letters based on their own opinions. “We don’t put words in their mouths,” Davis said.

Allen says the emails were a private correspondence that he sent to other former law clerks or interns who worked in Newby’s chambers since several asked what they could do to help.

“It reflects my personal desire to offer those individuals – each of whom has a connection with the chambers – a way of encouraging others to vote for Justice Newby,” Allen said in an email to Dome. “The e-mail plainly describes the ‘letter to the editor’ attached thereto as a ‘draft.’ The former law clerks and interns who received the e-mail were certainly free to rewrite or ignore the draft altogether.”

GOP tries tying Perdue, Obama

Gov. Bev Perdue isn’t seeking re-election – but you wouldn’t know it from the mailers the Republicans are sending this year.

The latest flier links the unpopular Democratic incumbent to President Barack Obama, showing the two of them embracing on an airport runway. “What have President Obama and Governor Perdue done to North Carolina?!” it asks on the front.

The mailer was sent by the N.C. Republican Party in coordination with the Mitt Romney campaign, whose logo appears on the flier.

It also attempts to blame Obama and Perdue for the state’s economic woes, and hits both for raising taxes. The governor is certainly a big cheerleader for the president, but the mailer stretches the connection between the two Democrats’ policies and proposals.

Rove vs. Gibbs

Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs will square off at Duke University before the presidential debate Oct. 22 – but don’t expect to catch this one on television.

Only the audience at the university’s Page Auditorium will get to see Rove, the former Bush administration strategist, and Gibbs, the former spokesman for President Barack Obama, debate because cameras and other recording devices are banned.

The media – and others – may record only the introductory remarks and the first five minutes of the debate. Photography is permitted only for the first 10 minutes.

Duke professor Peter Feaver will moderate the 5 p.m. event, titled “What’s at Stake for America’s Global Role in the 2012 Election.” The Rove-Gibbs debate takes place just hours before the 9 p.m. presidential debate about foreign policy between Obama and Mitt Romney.

The event is free, but tickets are required. They can be obtained at the Duke Box Office in the Bryan Center or, for a $6 processing fee, at www.tickets.duke.edu. Parking will be available for $5 in the Bryan Center parking garage.

Burr targets VA official

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., joined with Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida to call for the removal of a high-level member of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A report last week by the department’s Inspector General highlighted $762,000 in wasteful spending, including $50,000 for production of a video parody of the movie “Patton.”

Chief of Staff John Gingrich was singled out in the report.

In a letter addressed to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Burr and Miller called for Gingrich’s removal and said the spending is especially bad “against the backdrop of the fiscal crisis our country is in.”

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, John Frank and Austin Baird

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