Under the Dome

Dome: Berger TV ad looks like Senate campaign ad

From Staff ReportsSeptember 8, 2013 

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North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) sits and calmly listens as the Senate follows the House and overrides Gov. Pat McCrory's vetoes Wednesday Sept.4, 2013 in Raleigh, N.C.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

State Senate leader Phil Berger is airing a TV spot beginning this week highlighting the passage of the elections bill this past session.

The advertisement raises the question: Berger is running for U.S. Senate, isn’t he? The Eden Republican has yet to announce a decision about seeking the GOP nomination to run against Sen. Kay Hagen.

But the TV ad looks very much like a campaign ad. It features Berger as a key player in the voter ID bill, which he was, and tosses in the requisite barbs at Hagan and President Barack Obama.

The Washington Post’s GovBeat blog says Berger aides put the price on the TV spot at more than $100,000, running in the Greensboro market.

Here’s a look at it.

Health care commercials to air

The Obama administration will begin a TV advertising campaign in North Carolina and a dozen other states this month to encourage people to sign up for the new health care law, Politico is reporting.

The ad campaign is largely aimed at states led by Republican governors who do not have state health care exchanges. The Center for Medicare Services has reserved at least $12 million in airtime starting Sept. 30 in North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Michigan.

The administration has awarded a $41 million public relations contract to the firm Weber Shandwick to promote participation, according to Politico.

The conservative group, YG Network, has called on the administration to stop using taxpayer money to sell what Republicans refer to as Obamacare. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called it “blatant misuse of federal tax dollars.”

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led legislature have declined to participate in the state exchange, leaving it up to the federal government to set up an exchange in North Carolina.

The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group started by the Koch brothers, is running a TV campaign in the Charlotte market raising questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Tillis tapped for award

The Arc of North Carolina, which lobbies for people with disabilities, is awarding state House Speaker Thom Tillis its “legislator of the year” award. “His outstanding dedication and leadership during the 2013 session has improved the lives and welfare of people with disabilities,” the group said in a statement.

This is the first time since the award began that a House speaker has received it.

ACLU recognizes Kinnaird

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina released its 2013 legislative report card, showing only one lawmaker scored a perfect 100 percent by its standards. The honor goes to state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird – who abruptly retired in August after the session.

The ACLU reports that its report card “rates legislators based on how they voted on legislation in five issue areas: voting rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, privacy rights, and religious liberty.”

More from the news release: “While the ACLU-NC supported several bills this year that would have improved protections of or expanded civil liberties, many with bipartisan support, none of the bills were given a final vote in the House and Senate. As a result, the report card rates legislators exclusively on how they voted on legislation the ACLU-NC opposed.

“In the House, 15 members, or 12.5 percent of the body, had a 100 percent voting record in line with ACLU-NC positions, while 57 House members, or 47.5 percent of the body, had a 0 percent voting record.

“In the Senate, 24 members, or 48 percent of the body, had a 0 percent voting record in line with ACLU-NC positions, while only one member … had a voting record that was 100 percent in line with ACLU-NC positions.”

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, Rob Christensen and John Frank

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