Dome: Top stories for readers? Gaffes, clues and one big announcement

jfrank@newsobserver.comJanuary 1, 2013 

What made the biggest splash on Dome in 2012? The top 5 items – in terms of reader clicks – reflect how North Carolina played a major role in the national political scene and the Washington-driven penchant for little news bits that speak to a larger narrative. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the biggest news of the political year, but rather what generated interest in the blogosphere.

Here are the five:

1. Beau Biden takes shot at Mitt Romney, hits Gov. Bev Perdue, June 16

Gaffes spread like wildfire in the online political sphere, and Beau Biden’s family gene created an awkward moment at the N.C. Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner. The son of the Democratic vice president went off script – his words – to offer a zinger at Mitt Romney for not seeking a second term as Massachusetts governor. “I’ve never met a successful politician who didn’t run again,” Beau Biden said. Sound familiar? It did to the crowd, who collectively groaned, knowing that Gov. Bev Perdue is the state’s first governor in the modern era not to seek re-election.

2. North Carolina excluded from the latest round of Obama ads, Oct. 24

A three-line post in the closing days of the 2012 campaign generated a good bit of attention. Political analysts were looking for signs of the election map narrowing, and this small indicator provided enough fodder for many to consider the state out of reach for Obama, even though he had other ads still airing in the state.

3. Romney campaign begins moving staff out of N.C., confident of victory, Oct. 18

As with the TV advertising post, campaign staff moves are closely watched in a national campaign as an indication of where a candidate feels strong or weak. The movement of one Romney staffer, spokesman Rob Reid, a development broken on Dome, sparked a round of national stories and debate about whether it was a gimmick or a reflection of actual confidence.

4. Sources: Perdue won’t seek re-election, Jan. 26

The News & Observer cited Democratic sources to independently confirm the news that Gov. Bev Perdue wouldn’t seek another term, moments after rumors began flying on Twitter. The 8 a.m. major political story drove the day – if not the entire political year – in North Carolina politics.

5. Obama opposes Amendment One, March 16

President Barack Obama’s campaign issued a statement ahead of the North Carolina referendum on a constitutional ban for gay marriage, expressing his opposition. It foretold his later, bolder statements supporting gay marriage – statements that came too late to help gay marriage advocates in North Carolina. The state passed the ban with a strong vote.

Staff writer John Frank

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