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In North Carolina, gun ads coincide with rallies

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns group released the two television ads expected to hit North Carolina in the next two weeks as it ramps up the effort to require more comprehensive background checks for gun buyers.

Both ads -- "Responsible" and "Family" -- feature a bearded man in a hunting camouflage hat sitting on a pickup truck tailgate holding a gun while his family plays in the background. The man says he supports the Second Amendment but also background checks to keep criminals and the "dangerously mentally ill" can't purchase a gun. (One ad above and the other below.)

Local mayors appear in video to boost gun control effort

A national mayors group is trying to keep the pressure on Congress to take action on gun laws following the Newtown school shootings with a new public service announcement.

The 1:26 minute video features Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Durham Mayor Bill Bell. The two get small cameos in the spot. "No more makeshift memorials," Kleinschmidt says in the quick-cut piece. "Demand action," Bell adds later in the spot.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the producer of the spot, said it represents a shift in the group's campaign for tougher gun laws as it asks Congress to take action to pass legislation requiring background checks in all gun sales, limit high-capacity ammunition magazines and toughen penalties for gun trafficking.

National debt debate comes to North Carolina

A couple of former governors, a mayor and business executives will be on hand Tuesday when The Campaign to Fix the Debt comes to Raleigh.

Erskine Bowles and former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson started the national, bipartisan campaign to bring public pressure to lower the national debt.

Former governors Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, former GlaxoSmithKline CEO Bob Ingram, and Clear Defense CEO Tonya Cockman will be at the campaign's North Carolina launch.

Raleigh mayor endorses Obama

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane endorsed President Barack Obama on Tuesday, overlooking the site of where Raleigh's new transit hub will be built.

White House enlists Tar Heel Dems in debt ceiling fight

The White House, as part of its effort to pressure Congress to adopt a compromise on its debt ceiling, this afternoon released a list of public officials urging congressional action including several from from North Carolina.

“The logjam in Washington has taken us too close to the brink,” said Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue on the White House blog. “Our federal officials need to come together now to reach a balanced compromise that will avert a rating downgrade or payment default before it's too late.”

In a statement signed by eight mayors of major North Carolina cities including Bill Bell of Durham and Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, they wrote, “failure to successfully moderate the discussion and bring the parties together to resolve the debt ceiling crisis is unacceptable. Our cities cannot withstand a deeper recession. We cannot weather instability in the municipal bond market which will further slow infrastructure investments and job creation.”

State Treasurer Janet Cowell, a Democrat, said “it is critical that the president and Congress act now by developing a credible, long-term plan to reduce the budget deficit. A downgrade could have a harmful effect on the North Carolina Pension Fund and North Carolina investors who invest in Treasury bonds.”

Cunningham gets two Durham endorsements

Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham has picked up the endorsement of veteran Durham County commissioners Joe Bowser and Michael Page.

“Speaking with Cal, it is clear that he is man of character and virtue,” said Page, chairman of the commissioners board. “And he is simply the best candidate to beat (Republican Richard) Burr in the fall.”

Rob Christensen reports that the endorsements are important for Cunningham, because his rival in Tuesday's Democratic runoff, Elaine Marshall, has picked up a slew of endorsements in Durham including the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, former Senate candidate Ken Lewis and Durham Mayor Bill Bell.

Lewis to get Durham mayoral endorsement

Durham Mayor Bill Bell Monday is expected to endorse Democratic Senate candidate Ken Lewis in the May 4th primary.

Lewis, who practices law in Durham, had earlier picked up the backing of former Mayor Wib Gulley and former Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, Rob Christensen reports.

Lewis is among several Democrats seeking the right to face Republican Sen. Richard Burr in the fall. Among them are former state Sen. Cal Cunningham of Lexington and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Define 'liaison'

State Rep. Larry Hall is holding a reception and fundraiser tonight in Durham.

Dome's collective eyebrows rose when we saw a copy of the e-mail invite addressed to "Legislative Liaisons," the title generally given to lobbyists for state government agencies. Lobbyists, of course, are forbidden by law from contributing to candidates for the legislature or statewide office.

Hall told Dome Thursday that the event is a holiday reception and contributions are not necessary for attendees (hear that, fans of hors d'oeuvres?). And the "legislative liaisons" label on the e-mail is how his e-mail contacts are organized, he said. The term refers to anyone, registered lobbyist or not, who might have talked to him about issues before the legislature.

"We're certainly not encouraging anyone to violate a regulation and if we were, we certainly wouldn't be sending out an e-mail encouraging people to violate a regulation," Hall said, adding that he has never received and wouldn't accept a contribution from a lobbyist.

The event is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Durham Arts Council, and will feature Speaker Joe Hackney, an Orange County Democrat and Durham Democratic state Reps. Mickey Michaux and Paul Luebke and Durham Mayor Bill Bell.

N.C. mayors to push for stimulus

Ten North Carolina mayors are going to Washington this weekend.

The group will join over 250 mayors from across the country to call for local help in the upcoming Congressional stimulus package.

Expected to attend are Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the former GOP gubernatorial candidate; Durham Mayor Bill Bell; Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne; Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines; Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy; and the mayors of Asheville, Concord, Gastonia, Salisbury and Waxhaw.

They will be attending the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The conference will release a report this weekend on projected job losses in metropolitan areas, a particular concern for McCrory, who founded the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition to concentrate on urban issues.

Dellinger lobbying for U.S. attorney

Hampton DellingerHampton Dellinger is lobbying to become a U.S. attorney.

As previously noted on Dome, the former candidate for lieutenant governor and legal counsel to Gov. Mike Easley is one of a number of names that has been put forward for federal prosecutor.

Over the weekend, The Durham Herald-Sun reported that Dellinger is lobbying to become U.S. attorney for either the Middle or Eastern districts of North Carolina:

Dellinger — the son of Duke University law professor emeritus and former acting U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger — recently contacted Durham Mayor Bill Bell to ask Bell for help in securing the appointment.

"I've known the mayor and think highly of him and know he's highly regarded," Hampton Dellinger said on Friday. "I wanted to let him know of my interest and relevant experience."

Bell, an early supporter of Barack Obama's, said he didn't see any reason not to support Dellinger.

"I'm sure other people are going to be looking at it, too," he told the paper.

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