Last night at UNC, Chapel Hill Rep. David Price and Dr. Lawson squared off in a debate, drawing a sharp contrast in their approach for the direction of our country. Dr. Lawson presented a clear and concise message to the students — restore common sense.
A video will be made available in the next day or so of the full debate, and I am confident you all will be as excited as we were last night.
“I blame Congress more than the President because we really have not brought the issue before Congress as to whether or not the President should or should not have so much authority.” — Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) on executive power
There aren’t many in Congress who are willing to take strong stands against bad policies no matter who is sitting in the White House. Democrats were once strongly supportive of civil liberties, but now that President Obama is in the White House, there is little criticism to be found. And while expansive executive power and an aggressive foreign policy were popular during the Bush Administration, Obama’s expansion of these policies have started a conversation amongst conservatives.
Yesterday, I spoke with Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, about President Obama’s State of the Union address, foreign policy, and executive power.
Rep. Jones, who has served in Congress since 1995, has been at the forefront of questioning foreign policies decisions made by previous and current administrations. While he expressed disappointment that Obama didn’t talk in detail about the deficit, Rep. Jones explained that he was happy with the annoucement that 34,000 troops would be coming home from Afghanistan.
Just days after the end of the Democratic National Convention, it looks like President Barack Obama has managed to pick up a few points in national polling, which skews the view of the race because it’s a head-to-head match-up against Mitt Romney. With that said, however, there hasn’t been any real movement in the electoral vote count compared to our last few looks at the race.
Romney’s campaign is urging Republicans not to get too worked up about recent polling, but an internal memo shows that they are in a bit of a panic over the last numbers. President Obama has his own problems to worry about as a new poll out of New Mexico shows Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, getting some support from Democrats, putting Romney within five points. Johnson, who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico, has also managed to pull support from Obama in Colorado.
While we have gotten off on another distraction thanks to Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and rape, swing state voters may wish the national focus of the election was back on the economy. According to recent jobs numbers, the unemployment rate went up in 44 states, including many that will play a factor in determining the presidential race:
The jobless rate climbed in July in nine of 10 battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the presidential election, even though employers added workers in most of them.
The unemployment rates rose in Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The rate also increased very slightly, in Colorado and North Carolina, and held steady in Ohio, ending 11 months of declines there, the data show.
Nevada’s 12% unemployment was highest among all 50 states. Michigan’s rate hit 9% for the first time since January, and Florida’s rate, now at 8.8%, increased for the first time in more than a year.
The state figures largely tracked the national jobless rate, which ticked up to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June.
Separately, Gallup notes that 56% of voters in swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago. Only 40% say they are better off. The number of voters who say they aren’t better off is up slightly from when the same question was asked back in January. Who do they blame? Twenty percent point their finger at President Barack Obama, while only 7% blame his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Vice President Joe Biden isn’t know for being a soft-spoken guy. Let’s face it, he is pretty gaffe-tastic. During a campaign stop yesterday, Biden told the crowd, “With you, we can win North Carolina again.” The only problem was that he was in Virginia, another crucial swing state. While this makes for a good laugh at Biden’s expense, there was also a pretty pathetic shot taken at the Romney-Ryan ticket and Wall Street.
During his remarks, Biden told supporters that Wall Street is going to put Americans “back in chains” if the Romney-Ryan ticket manages to win in November:
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a rally at the Institute for Advanced Learning in Danville, Va., said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), are going to put the American people “back in chains.”
Biden said Romney promised in his first 100 days to “let the big banks once again write their own rules–unchain Wall Street. They’re gonna put you all back in chains,” Biden said.
Biden explained that his father used to say, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value.”
“Don’t tell me you value women in the workplace and don’t hire any women. Don’t tell me you value – and so on. Well let’s take a look, because now we got a real clear picture – we got a real clear picture of what they all value. They’ve said it,” Biden said.
We haven’t been paying attention to many general elections polls around here lately. Why? Because none of it really matters until around 60 days before voters casts their ballots. But there has been a narrative that Mitt Romney is performing poorly in swing states and President Barack Obama is well on his way to re-election. But a poll released by CNN earlier this week shows that Romney is up in the states that will decide the presidential election:
Mitt Romney has a sizeable lead in 15 battleground states, according to a CNN/ORC poll released late Monday.
The Republican candidate leads President Obama 51 percent to 43 in 15 states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.
Obama won 12 of these battleground states in 2008 — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — and will need to keep about half of those in 2012 if he’s to secure reelection. The poll also included Missouri, Indiana and Arizona as battleground states.
That’s good news for Romney, showing he has a base of support in those states, though the blanket poll of 534 registered voters doesn’t give an indication of which candidate leads in an individual state, or by how much.
Obama holds a slim lead over Romney nationally in the CNN/ORC poll, 49 percent to 46, which is within the poll’s margin of error and unchanged from the same poll in May.
Many gun rights advocates will open their discussion about gun rights by pointing out that they don’t believe convicted felons should have guns, a position I have some issues with. Most will also say that those who are found to have guns in their possession should go to jail. The question is, what about those who are imprisoned for being felons with guns but weren’t really felons?
USA Today had the story yesterday.
A USA TODAY investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun.
Many of them don’t even know they’re innocent.
The legal issues underlying their situation are complicated, and are unique to North Carolina. But the bottom line is that each of them went to prison for breaking a law that makes it a federal crime for convicted felons to possess a gun. The problem is that none of them had criminal records serious enough to make them felons under federal law.
Still, the Justice Department has not attempted to identify the men, has made no effort to notify them, and, in a few cases in which the men have come forward on their own, has argued in court that they should not be released.
As a way of trying to combat the idea of childhood obesity, there is apparently a law in North Carolina where school officials check lunch boxes for the nutritional value of the lunch, then offer up a lunch that meets USDA guidelines. However, an incident at the West Hoke Elementary School is getting a lot of attention lately.
From the Carolina Journal:
RAEFORD - A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs - including in-home day care centers - to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl’s mother - who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation - said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
I don’t usually give into notions like “Our democracy is being destroyed!” and “This administration is going to lead us straight into fascism!” (Or that they already have.) But lately, two events have stood out that really make me question where America is going.
The first is a really asinine comment made by the governor of North Carolina, Beverly Perdue:
As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years.
“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, N.C., according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.”
Perdue said she thinks that temporarily halting elections would allow members of Congress to focus on the economy. “You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things,” Perdue said.
And I thought I was insane.
Public Policy Polling, the Democratic-leaning firm, has new numbers in the race for the Republican nomination for president. As you may have guessed, Rick Perry still has a solid lead over Mitt Romney, but there is bad news for Michele Bachmann:
- Rick Perry: 31%
- Mitt Romney: 18%
- Ron Paul: 11%
- Newt Gingrich: 10%
- Michele Bachmann: 9%
- Herman Cain: 8%
- Jon Huntsman: 2%
- Rick Santorum: 2%
- Other/Not sure: 8%
Perry and Romney are actually down by 2 points from the last Public Policy Polling survey in the race of announced candidates (ie. excluding Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan). Paul is up 5 points. Bachmann dropped by 7 points and has been surpassed by Gingrich, who may do a decent job in debate; but his share of the vote to his name recognition is small.
If other polls show a similar fall for Bachmann, she’s going to have a hard time justifying her campaign’s existence; not that this would discourage her from continuing along. However, this is more evidence that her thunder as been stolen as other, more electable candidates have entered the race.
Separately, Public Policy Polling notes that Perry is up big in the states of North Carolina and West Virginia, both of which will hold their primary on May 8th.