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Morning Memo: Moral Monday protesters in court ahead of 8th rally

MORAL MONDAY PROTESTERS GO TO COURT, RALLY AGAIN: The 8th Moral Monday protest starts about 5 p.m. today and Democratic Congressman David Price will attend and boost its profile. Earlier in the day, about 17 protesters are expected to appear in court -- the first hearing for any of the nearly 500 people arrested at the N.C. General Assembly during protests against the state's Republican leaders. They are likely to plead not guilty to three charges stemming from their arrest at the first demonstration in April. N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber will be one of those in court. More from AP here.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House and Senate convene at 7 p.m. The House has a handful of routine legislative matters on the calendar but the Senate is scheduled to take a final vote on the landfill bill, which critics say would create mega-dumps for out-of-state trash in North Carolina. Earlier in the day, the House Finance Committee will hold a much-debated public hearing on Senate Bill 315, a measure regarding water and sewer lines to a controversial development in Durham County. Gov. Pat McCrory will attend the Red Hat headquarters opening in downtown Raleigh at 10:30 a.m.

***Good Monday morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Read about the Democrats' "Daddy Warbucks fantasy" and business experts reaction to the tax proposal below. ***

Last-minute push by Dole to win GOP support for UN disability treaty fails

Elizabeth Dole was in Washington on Tuesday with her husband, Bob Dole, who was trying to convince GOP senators to adopt a treaty that promotes the rights of people who are disabled.

Dole's effort had no effect. The measure ended up short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify a foreign treaty.

Elizabeth Dole gets top lifetime safety award

Former North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole has received the Flame of Life Award as one of the century's foremost leaders in safety.

Elizabeth Dole calls inaction on Camp Lejeune water problems 'unconscionable'

Former GOP U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole penned an opinion piece in today's News & Observer that calls inaction on water contamination at Camp Lejeune "unconscionable and indefensible."

She also applauds the work of Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Congressman Brad Miller for their legislation to provide medical care to those who suffered health problems after drinking contaminated water. Read the piece here.

Elizabeth Dole endorses Mitt Romney

Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole has endorsed Mitt Romney in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said in a statement that he was humbled by her support.

Dole served one term in the U.S. Senate representing North Carolina. Her husband, former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, endorsed Romney about two weeks ago.

In a letter released by Romney's campaign, Elizabeth Dole wrote:

“America is facing some of the greatest challenges in our nation’s history, in particular with regard to our economic future. It is vitally important that we nominate an individual with both a steady hand for these difficult times and the experience and capabilities to get our country back on track.”

“In a phone call Monday afternoon, I advised Governor Romney that I’m supporting him and will do whatever I can to be of assistance between now and the November election. I’ve been in all of Iowa’s 99 counties twice and have met hundreds and hundreds of dedicated voters. Endorsements may not matter, but hopefully my friends in Iowa will also offer their support to the Governor, a man of experience, leadership and unassailable character.”

Elizabeth Dole's biography plagiarized by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown

Who knew Elizabeth Dole and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown were so alike? Brown used part of a speech from the former U.S. senator from North Carolina for his inspirational biography on his website, the Boston Globe reports.

From the story: "A Democratic group has unearthed a bit of inspirational autobiography on Senator Scott Brown’s official website that was lifted verbatim from a 2002 campaign speech by Elizabeth Dole.

In a message to students, the senator uses the exact language as remarks delivered by the former North Carolina senator at her campaign kickoff and contained on her own website.

Brown’s staff acknowledged yesterday the words originally were Dole’s and said their presence in Brown’s message was the result of a technical error.

"I was raised to believe that there are no limits to individual achievement and no excuses to justify indifference," said the message from Brown, which was removed later yesterday. "From an early age, I was taught that success is measured not in material accumulations, but in service to others. I was encouraged to join causes larger than myself, to pursue positive change through a sense of mission, and to stand up for what I believe."

Aside from the omission of an opening line -- "I am Mary and John Hanford’s daughter" -- in Dole’s speech, the Bay State Republican’s language is the same throughout."

Read the full Globe story here.

Doles open Watergate home for McCrory fundraiser

Former U.S. Sens. Bob and Elizabeth Dole hosted a fundraiser at their home last night for Republican Pat McCrory, reports Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer.

The Doles hosted the former Charlotte mayor at their condo in the Watergate in D.C., allowing McCrory to tap into some Washington donors.

McCrory is an unannounced candidate for governor, hoping for a rematch of his 2008 race against Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

The cost of Tuesday's reception: $4,000 a couple or $2,500 per individual.

"A lot (of people) have been invited, I'm just looking forward to seeing a lot of good friends," said Elizabeth Dole. "Pat is ... a very articulate guy with a good message."

Chairs now rock to the right

The two old codgers in rocking chairs who famously helped sink U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's re-election bid have switched sides.

Rob Christensen reported today that the two guys from a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad have now cut a spot in support of Republican Sen. Richard Burr. Here's the new ad followed by the 2008 ad.

SBI blood lab had no leader, policies

NO ONE IN CHARGE: For 21 years, a key group of State Bureau of Investigation agents tasked with interpreting bloodstain patterns at crime scenes operated on their own, without leadership or written policies. (N&O)

HEAVY IS THE CROWN: Attorney General Roy Cooper's political future likely rests on how he handles problems in the SBI lab. (N&O)

NEW SIDE OF THE PORCH: The old fellas from the rocking chairs who helped defeat former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole are now working for U.S. Sen. Richard Burr. (N&O)

PPP: Burr 39, Marshall 37

North Carolina Senate race has tightened up with Republican Sen. Richard Burr maintaining only a slight lead over his Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall, according to a new poll.

Burr leads Marshall by a 39 to 37 percent margin, according to a new survey released by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh. Libertarian candidate Michael Beitler has the support of 7 percent, Rob Christensen reports.

The race has tightened up since the last PPP survey showed Burr up by five points.

The survey of 524 North Carolina voters was conducted July 27-31 and had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

The Senate race is closer at this point than the 2008 Senate race, when Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole was leading her Democratic challenger Kay Hagan by a 49 to 40 percent margin.

The survey found that the race is closing up because the public perception of Burr has declined, with 32 percent approving of his job performance and 44 percent  disapproving.

The poll was taken after the airing of an extensive TV campaign paid for by labor and environmental groups tying Burr to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and oil companies.

Burr now has the second lowest approval rating among Republican senators up for re-election after Arizona Sen. John McCain, and the third lowest among all incumbents facing re-election after Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, according to the poling firm.

Marshall is still largely unknown across the state with 58 percent saying they have no opinion of her.

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