Morning Memo: Will Hagan’s new tough talk on health care work?

Posted by John Frank on November 12, 2013 

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is distancing herself from the White House and its signature health law – but will it work? The Democrat will hold a conference call Tuesday to push for a inquiry into the problems with healthcare.gov. It's a way to help inoculate her campaign from the program's troubles as Republicans in North Carolina see the issue as a main tenant of the 2014 campaign. The call is scheduled for 10:15 a.m.

The move that shows how much the new federal health insurance program may affect her re-election bid, a point Republicans are pressing hard. The question is whether Hagan’s new tough talk about the healthcare law will work with voters, many of which are not enamored with the new law.

Republicans already are calling it a "phony probe." "The voters of North Carolina will see right through Kay’s Hagan’s desperate political stunt to distance herself from Obamacare," said Daniel Keylin, a spokesman for the N.C. Republican Party. "No matter how desperate Kay Hagan gets in attempting to run away from the Obamacare disaster, North Carolinians know she owns it.”

*** More North Carolina political news and notes below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

TODAY IN POLITICS: Gov. Pat McCrory will get a taste of beer with this politics Tuesday on a tour of Novozymes at 4:30 p.m. The Franklin County business makes an enzyme that takes gluten out of beer, among others.

The Revenue Laws Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in room 544 of the legislative office building to look at more questions about the new tax law and other issues. Agenda here.

TOMORROW: The N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform will hold a 7 p.m. forum in Raleigh to talk redistricting. Titled “End Gerrymandering Now,” the forum is part of the advocacy group’s push for an independent panel to draw partisan lines. The event will be held at the Martin Street Baptist Church.

STAN WHITE TO MAKE BID FOR OLD SEAT: Dare County real estate developer Stan White formally announced his candidacy Monday for the state Senate seat in the 1st District, continuing his quest for a potential rematch with incumbent state Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort. Read more here .

MARK HARRIS RELINQUISHES HIS POST AHEAD OF SENATE RUN: AP -- The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is wrapping up its two-day annual meeting and saying goodbye as its president, the Rev. Mark Harris runs for the U.S. Senate. The meeting of churches largely aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention finishes Tuesday in Greensboro. Delegates called messengers will elect officers, hear about convention ministries and gather for singing and prayer.

Southern Baptist Convention president the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. was slated for Tuesday night's keynote sermon. He's the convention's first black president. Harris is completing his second one-year term as state president. The senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlotte announced in September he would seek the Republican nomination for Senate. The state convention has about 4,300 churches, although representatives of a small fraction were expected to attend.

LIVELY DISCUSSION OF SPYING: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman and ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden debated domestic spying and intelligence-gathering in front of an overflow crowd at Duke University.

Hayden: “I don’t think Snowden was an innocent who went into government service and was suddenly offended by something he discovered,” Hayden said. “To use the metaphor, he was not a gatherer, he was a hunter. And he hunted NSA systems for the better part of a year trying to find things that he felt would be useful to be made public for a preconceived notion, not being offended by the discovery of something that was presented to him. I would have loved for him to be an actual whistle-blower.”

Gellman: He said a whistle-blower’s personal motivations shouldn’t come into play when deciding what information to be released to the public. “My goal as a reporter is to maximize the information available to the people for the purposes of self-governing,” Gellman said. Read more here.

NEW UNC PR CHIEF WILL MAKE $300,000: UNC-Chapel Hill has hired an alumnus and public relations executive to oversee its public communications strategy, the university announced Monday. Joel Curran, managing director for the New York office of public relations firm MSLGROUP, has been named the university’s first vice chancellor for communications and public affairs.

Curran, 50, is a Lexington, N.C., native and a 1986 graduate of the university with a degree in journalism. He begins the job Dec. 2 at an annual salary of $300,000. The appointment was approved by the Board of Trustees and announced by Chancellor Carol Folt after a national search. Read more here.

ASHEVILLE UPSET ABOUT NEW GUN LAW: To comply with state law, Asheville City Council tonight likely will pass an ordinance allowing concealed carry permit holders to tote guns on city playgrounds and near athletic fields while games are ongoing. “We’re pre-empted on gun issues by the state,” Councilwoman and Mayor-elect Esther Manheimer said.

Council also has on its agenda a protest resolution to express its disapproval over the matter with the General Assembly. Read more here.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Former Congressman Allen West is the special guest at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Republican Women annual Christmas luncheon Dec. 5. Details here.

MOONEYHAM: The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services public relations expansion is inexcusable. Read more here.

N.C. GIRL CONTINUES TO GET GOOD PRESS: Under the headline, “This 12-year-old will give you new hope in politics,” North Carolina’s Madison Kimrey’s speech about the state’s new election law continues to get better press than the lawmakers who passed it. This time she appeared on a San Francisco Chronicle blog. Read more here.

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