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McCrory continues candidate dance as he blasts Perdue

Republican Pat McCrory is apparently amplifying his efforts to criticize Gov. Bev Perdue's leadership as he continues his candidate-but-not-a-candidate dance.

In an interview with editors and reporters at the Salisbury Post, McCrory highlighted the contradiction behind his rationale not to formally declare his bid, saying he first needs to campaign for more money and support while at the same time calling the campaign cycle too long and expensive. "I wanted to ensure that I have both public and financial support before I officially announce," he told the paper. "Also, I think the full-time campaign season is far too long and far to expensive... And I think people are tired of politicians’ long campaign cycles."

As for his agenda, McCrory aligned himself with the GOP legislative leadership and attacked Perdue's vetoes of a voter identification bill, among others. "We need a leader who actually has a vision of how to proceed in the future and also a strategy to get there," McCrory said. "I have no idea what the vision is that Gov. (Bev) Perdue has been espousing for the last two years. It’s been very reactionary as opposed to proactive."

As Perdue continues to focus on education as a link to economic development -- likely her main campaign talking point -- McCrory is beginning to counter by saying that the state's academic goals need to be tied to job needs in North Carolina, as he told the paper. “I want a direct correlation between what our academic curriculum is to what the employers’ needs are,” McCrory said.

Anthropology majors, beware. Read more from the Post interview here.

OFA North Carolina hosts tweet up

Organizing for America (OFA) will host its first North Carolina tweet up this evening as it begins to marshal digital ground forces for the 2012 presidential campaign.

President Barack Obama's grassroots machine is likely to play a paramount role in helping Democrats win the state again. The meeting will discuss the campaigns' digital strategies to win. Those in attendance will be live tweeting the event. (OFA's twitter handle is @OFA_NC.)

For those interested in attending, it runs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at OFA's local headquarters (130 E. Morgan St. Raleigh). A press release lists Anthony Nagatani at 919-413-1896 as the organizer.

GOP congressional delegation backs McCrory for governor

Pat McCrory's campaign announced today that the entire Republican congressional delegation is supporting the former Charlotte mayor's bid for governor.

Led by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, the delegation's endorsement helps dispel the notion of a GOP challenger. The names of a number of top Republicans have floated through political circles lately, from Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to state Sen. Pete Brunstetter. Neither is expected to run.

McCrory is expected to make a formal announcement about his rematch bid against Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue in early 2012. But he already is busy raising money, making the rounds with Raleigh supporters and media today.

Erskine for President?

Our colleague Jim Morrill at The Charlotte Observer has an interesting blog post about a new POLITICO parlor game that suggests Erskine Bowles as a presidential candidate.

Here's a slice of what POLITICO wrote about Bowles:

"Many voters seem open to, if not hungry for, a real discussion about tough changes. Ask Republicans and Democrats alike to name a serious and responsible thinker who could lead this discussion and the name Erskine Bowles often tops the list.

"Bowles, 66, is far from an inspirational figure. In fact, he can be as dull as a butter knife in public settings. But he knows budgets, and numbers, and tough choices (he's the man who asked Dick Morris to resign in the Clinton years) and, unlike most, has slapped his name on ideas that upset leaders of both parties but excite deficit hawks on both sides.

"The Bowles pitch would rest on a rarity in modern campaigns: a very specific proposal for the tough budget choices the country should make. He came up with a truly bipartisan plan that took a real whack at America's long-term deficits, only to see the plan abandoned by Obama, who had appointed him to make those choices in the first place."

McCrory: Announcement on governor's race won't come until 2012

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory won't make a formal announcement about another run for governor until 2012.

But in a new YouTube video released Tuesday, the Republican contender left little doubt he'd get in the race, saying "I intend to be a part of (the state's) better future."

"I'm hoping to make a formal announcement sometime after the first of the year," McCrory says. "So why the delay? Well, in the first place, campaigns have become too long and too costly. You know what i mean? Elections are barely over before candidates are off and running again. Frankly, the continuous political season wears on everybody, especially during these tough times."

McCrory, ironically, hits the same tones as Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue when she commented about the never-ending campaign -- though in a less artful way that drew national attention.

He also jokes about the previous video he released in which he didn't seem to know his dog's name -- handling his recent gaffe in a much different way than Perdue.

Pat McCrory goes to the DMV

UPDATED: Pat McCrory is (apparently) breaking new ground: the presumed GOP candidate for governor in 2012 used Twitter to share his experience at the DMV and promised better service if he gets elected.

It started about 11:15 a.m. when McCrory, according to his tweets, jumped in line to renew his drivers license. After standing in line for 15 minutes, he remarked: "Our state in action. Nothing has changed since I was 16." Later he sent this update: "30 minutes and counting ... Sitting on curb. Thank goodness nice weather."

McCrory's spokesman later clarified that the former Charlotte mayor was emailing updates to his staff -- who posted them to Twitter and Facebook. He didn't tweet himself.

A number of political observers amusingly followed his 140-character observations -- such as "Nice pic of Governor Perdue on the wall" -- including dozens of McCrory fans who commented about them on his Facebook page. (Democrats mocked that McCrory's Republican Party cohorts are responsible for budget cuts that prompted the long lines.)

In the end -- after waiting an hour and passing the test -- McCrory wrote this: "My new drivers license will expire in 5 yrs. Will DMV service be the same then as it was today &when I was 16? Not if we have new Gov!!"

Was it a policy announcement? A declaration of his long-expected candidacy? The disclosure of his first priority if elected? Who knows.

McCrory takes advantage of the 'gotcha' politics he laments

UPDATED: Gov. Bev Perdue's likely 2012 challenger, Pat McCrory, quickly jumped on her comments about suspending elections -- and now Democrats are quick to point out what they see as his hypocrisy.

On his Facebook page at 4:26 p.m. Tuesday, McCrory (or a staff member) wrote this: "Not only does this bizarre commentary suggest ignoring the Constitution, but does Governor Perdue forget her own inability to work with the Legislature, regardless if controlled by Democrats or Republicans?"

But McCrory is now benefiting from the "gotcha politics" he lamented in his unsuccessful 2008 campaign against Perdue.

He did so as recently as June when he appeared on Chad Adams' "Morning Beat" radio show: “It’s a sad commentary. What they’re looking for me to do is have a slip up. They’re looking for me to say something politically incorrect or have someone say something to me that’s politically incorrect and not respond to in the politically correct way. And believe me it may happen sometime down the road and that will be the YouTube, that’ll be a commercial. And it’s gotcha politics. And that’s what Perdue did to me three years ago and they’ve already started.”

In October 2008, at a Jewish community event, McCrory said “that’s the type of politics I frankly don’t like. I wouldn’t dare do that to my opponent and I think this political gotcha has got to stop in politics.”

Despite this, McCrory is using Perdue's remarks to boost his latest fundraising email. This one went out Wednesday. "The only problem is that today an audio link was released with her commentary.  It was loud and clear folks, and far from a joke," McCrory wrote.

McCrory's camp responded Thurday with this: "The spin from the Democrats on Governor Perdue's comments continues to make everyone dizzy.  Pat has referred to gotcha politics like taking words out of context to use in negative political ads, such as the ones Governor Perdue ran in '08 that had no basis in fact.  Obviously, when Governor Perdue says something Pat disagrees with such as her call to suspend congressional elections, he will not be shy to offer his own opinion." 

Rufus Edmisten declares Rick Perry: "Beef toast"

An editorial in today's News & Observer about Rick Perry's barbecue gaffe recalls the 1984 gubernatorial campaign of Rufus Edmisten who stuck his foot in his mouth when he said he was sick of barbecue. (He lost the race, but not entirely because of the barbecue comment.)

If anyone can relate to Perry, it's Edmisten. To rectify his gaffe, Edmisten called a press conference to declare "the devil made me say that," Edmisten recalled this afternoon in a phone interview. He made light of it by saying he had undergone and exorcism and he was cured.

So does Edmisten think this will hurt Perry? "He's had it. He's done. He's beef toast," Edmisten said with a hearty laugh.

DNC ad buy reached near $500,000 in North Carolina

The Democratic National Committee renewed its television ad buy in North Carolina, as Dome reported earlier today, with a fresh plug of the American Jobs Act. And if the previous ad campaign is any indication, TV viewers will see it often.

Based on figures provided to Dome, the DNC spent $461,535 to run TV spots in the Raleigh and Charlotte markets in the two weeks after his address to a joint session of Congress. From Sept. 13 to Sunday, the DNC spent about $200,000 on Raleigh broadcast and cable and $260,000 in the Charlotte market.

A DNC spokesman refused to comment on the figures.

Smithfield's ships 2 pounds of barbecue to Rick Perry

A N.C. barbecue restaurant is looking to convert Texas Gov. Rick Perry into a fan of eastern-style barbecue after he once said it tasted worse than "road kill."

Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q sent the 2012 Republican presidential frontrunner a letter today after reading about Perry's remark in The News & Observer. Along with the letter, SCNB included two pounds of barbecue, one pound of slaw and a pint of hot sauce. 

"I strongly encourage you to revisit your experience with Eastern North Carolina Bar-B-Q and give you the opportunity to rectify your statement," the letter asks. "We hope you enjoy this sample and perhaps sway your opinion originally based on the snapshot experience you had with Eastern N.C. Bar-B-Q."

As a commenter on SCNB's blog suggests, “Gov. Perry, clearly all those jalapeños have destroyed your taste buds.”

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