Morning Memo: McCrory caught in ‘Crossfire’ managed to smile

Posted by John Frank on February 25, 2014 

Gov. Pat McCrory went on CNN’s “Crossfire,” an unusual venue for a governor who does not like confrontation, and managed to smile when he wasn’t shaking his head.

Van Jones, a Democrat and host, suggested North Carolina is rigging the election system with the new bill limiting early voting period and requiring a voter ID. He also poked holes in McCrory’s argument about the same number of hours available.

When asked about the state’s new abortion legislation, McCrory continued to suggest that it didn’t add “one new regulation which restricts abortions.” Others disagree, pointing out that new legislation denies coverage for abortions to local government employees and prohibits them from being offered on the federal health care exchange, among other provisions.

McCrory also said he would veto Arizona’s “religious freedom” law. Read more about that story here.

See the key exchange here.

***Get more North Carolina political news and analysis below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

TODAY IN POLITICS: The state chapter of the NAACP will hold a press conference at its offices in Durham at 9:30 a.m. to discuss its legal effort to fight recent election and education laws.

THE BIG STORY – BIG NC INTERESTS CONTRIBUTE BIG TO HAGAN: Facing a tough re-election season, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is relying on some vital home-state interests to fuel her campaign for a second term, according to federal fundraising reports.

The pharmaceutical, and securities and investment industries are among the top contributors to the North Carolina Democrat, widely viewed as one of the more vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections. ...

Employees and political actions committees associated with the pharmaceutical industry have contributed more than $400,000 to Hagan since her Senate career began in 2009, including more than $60,000 in the last three months of 2013, federal campaign finance reports show. ...

Among the top 20 contributors to Hagan from 2009 through most of last year, nearly half were banks and security and investment firms, according to the center.

The securities and investment industry alone, through employees and PACs, has directed more than $440,000 so far to her campaign, including at least $147,000 in the final quarter of last year, according to data compiled by both McClatchy Newspapers and the center. Read more here.

SPEAKING OF HAGAN: AP – Hagan officially began her re-election bid Monday, saying she’ll keep seeking bipartisan solutions within Washington’s gridlock and warned conservative interests hoping to defeat her would push an extreme agenda if successful. Read more here.

DENR QUIETLY REVERSES COURSE ON DAM PROJECT: North Carolina’s environment agency, challenged in court, has quietly erased its waiver of a state permit for a controversial water-supply reservoir in Cleveland County.

In an unprecedented move last year, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources waived a state permit to certify that a dam across the First Broad River wouldn’t hurt water quality.

The waiver meant the project could seek federal approval without state-level public hearings, despite vocal opposition, or environmental studies. Now DENR has reversed course. Read more here.

A STORY WITH A BIG N.C. IMPACT: Looking beyond America’s post-9/11 wars, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday proposed shrinking the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, closing bases and reshaping forces to confront a “more volatile, more unpredictable” world with a more nimble military. Read more here.

MARRIAGE EFFORT LAUNCHED: More than a dozen organizations launched an initiative Monday committed to legalizing gay marriage in the South and put $1 million toward the effort. “Our investment in the South comes at a pivotal time in the marriage movement,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, in a statement. “The South is home to hundreds of thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples – and to a majority of the nearly 50 federal marriage cases now underway in courts across the country.” The honorary co-chairman in North Carolina is Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

WHO HAS THE CASH? The N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation recently looked at the state lawmakers sitting on the most campaign cash to start the 2014 election. The leader is no surprise: Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. The Republican from Eden has $560,000 in the bank. The rest of the top five: Sens. Josh Stein of Raleigh at $303,000, and Harry Brown of Jacksonville at $289,000, Reps. Nelson Dollar of Cary at $254,000 and Tim Moore of King’s Mountain at $243,000. Stein is the lone Democrat on the list. See the House rankings here and the Senate here.

PERSONNEL FILE: The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research recently added three to its board of directors. From the release: Addy Jeffrey of Greensboro, Lori O’Keefe of Wake Forest, and Kelly Williamson of Raleigh. Jeffrey is a Spanish/English interpreter at the UNC-Greensboro Center for New North Carolinians and a member of The Cone Health Foundation Board of Directors. O’Keefe is President of Triangle Community Foundation, and Williamson is Senior Vice President at APCO Worldwide.

QUICK HEADLINES –

Governors erupt in partisan dispute at White House. Read more here.

DENR sampling fish from Dan River. Read more here. http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/24/3651323/denr-sampling-fish-from-dan-river.html

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