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McCrory calls strategy memo shameful

On Fox News this morning, Gov. Pat McCrory expressed dismay that nonprofit groups in the state were trying to brand him after only six weeks in office.

McCrory was responding to a question about a Charlotte Observer article last week about a strategy memo that called for weakening Republican's ability to govern and used language like "eviscerate" and "cripple."

Hunt urged Obama to break with Wright

A new documentary about Barack Obama's presidential campaign in North Carolina, discloses that former Gov. Jim Hunt urged Obama to distance himself from his controversial pastor.

In April 2008, at the height of the controversy over Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Hunt called Obama's North Carolina campaign and told him he needed to publicly profess his Christianity, love of country and denounce his pastor if he was to have any chance of winning the state's May 6 primary, reports Rob Christensen.

“I made it very clear...you can either win this campaign, or you can lose it,” Hunt told the film's producer, journalist Cash Michaels.

At the time, the four-time governor was neutral in the primary between Obama and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Within a day of Hunt's call, Obama held a news conference in Winston-Salem to condemn Wright and to leave Wright's church.

Michaels produced the documentary, "Obama in NC: The Path to History," which will premier at 3 p.m. Saturday at the YWCA of the Greater Triangle, 554 E. Hargett Street. Michaels is the editor/chief reporter for The Carolinian newspaper in Raleigh and a frequent television commentator.

The Great N.C. Robocall Round-Up

The robocalls are coming fast and furious now.

After the jump, a list of recent automated phone calls to North Carolinians based on reader submissions.

As always, send your reports of robocalls to dome@newsobserver.com

On Wright, then and now

"The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats."

— Republican presidential candidate John McCain, in an April 23 e-mail to the head of the N.C. Republican Party, after it announced it would air an ad about Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country."

— Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, in an Oct. 6 column by conservative thinker William Kristol in The New York Times 

Burr promotes McCain on Fox News

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said that John McCain will win on the issues.

The Winston-Salem Republican promoted his Senate colleague on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" show on Friday, saying he is a "known entity by the American people."

"They know his background as a war here hero, as a prisoner of war. He's got a solid foundation and more importantly, he's got a track record that the American people have endorsed over and over again," he said.

Asked about Barack Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Burr noted his own childhood as the son of a Presbyterian minister.

"It would be disingenuous to suggest that my dad didn't have an influence on me but I'm not sure that that's an element of my election or my re-election," he said.

Still, he stopped short of openly criticizing Obama. 

"That's an issue that the American people are going to have to sort out on their own," he said. 

CNN: Voters split on Wright

CNN says North Carolina voters were split on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The cable news network reports that its exit poll of voters today showed that 50 percent thought Wright's views were not important, while 48 percent thought they were important.

Those who thought they were important tended to vote for Hillary Clinton, while those who thought they weren't voted for Barack Obama.

In addition, the network said that voters who go to church regularly tended to think that Wright's views were more important.

Choose-Your-Own Adventure Primary

Dome loved Choose-Your-Own Adventure books as a child.

We like to think of tonight's Democratic primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton along the same lines. Here's our take on the possibilities:

If Clinton wins Indiana and Obama North Carolina:

Nothing changes. Both candidates were expected to win those states, both will claim victory in their own ways, and the national press moves on to West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon. Clinton is still an outside chance for the nomination.

If Clinton wins Indiana and North Carolina:

A game-changer. Clinton argues she is the only candidate who is electable, while some superdelegates begin to worry that the damage from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, etc., is too great. Obama is red-faced before thousands at Reynolds Coliseum.

If Obama wins Indiana and North Carolina:

Less of a game-changer. Obama argues he has won over the elusive blue-collar vote in a state favored for Clinton while hanging on to college students and black voters. Clinton rebuts that Indiana has not gone for a Democrat since 1964 so it doesn't really count.

If Obama wins Indiana and Clinton North Carolina:

Mass confusion. Both campaigns charter last-minute flights to the other state. Dan Rather comes out of retirement to coin a metaphor for the situation involving corn cakes and griddles but no one understands what he's talking about.

If Mike Gravel wins anywhere:

Hysteria. Reporters wander around in a daze. Pollsters jump out second-story windows. Bloggers say they saw it coming all along. Plagues of locusts swarm the earth. A third of Democratic voters turn red. Mike Munger reveals he is the anti-Christ.

Easley: Wright not an issue in North Carolina

Gov. Mike Easley said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright will not be an issue for North Carolina voters. 

Easley appeared on Wolf Blitzer's CNN Late Edition with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Easley supports Hillary Clinton. Richardson supports Barack Obama. Blitzer asked Easley about Wright, Obama's controversial former pastor, according to a transcript of the show.

EASLEY: It's not going to be an issue in North Carolina in the primary. We don't take that race state. We know the Republicans down here, maybe you don't know that Republicans are running ads on that already and trying to -- some are trying to tie it to our Democrats running for governor to replace me. But it will be an issue in the fall if he's the nominee. But it's not going to be in this primary. And Senator Clinton has not tried to make any political gain out of it. I admire her character for that.

The most important thing, I think, is that Senator Obama finally did what he had to do. He has two competing interests here. He's got a spiritual adviser and friend for 20 years on one hand. On the other hand, he's got a man who said some things that he just cannot condone, needed to denounce.

Those are the kind of tough decisions you have to make in politics and in executive positions. I think he made the right one this week. But it's not going to -- it's not going to be an issue.

The only thing I want people to understand is that the African- American churches in North Carolina, this is not emblematic of that. They are -- they're welcoming, they're open, they're uplifting. It's based on scripture. It's about forgiving God, a good god and I don't want people across the country to get the wrong idea about the African-American churches.

Carter: Race 'fading away'

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter thinks the Democrats could carry North Carolina in 2008.

The former president, who was the last Democratic candidate to win the state's presidential contest in 1976, said in a phone interview today that he thinks the party has a shot this year again, Peggy Lim reports.

"I think we have a good chance to carry the Southern states," he said.

A supporter of Barack Obama, he also said that he did not think that race would cut against the Democratic nominee this time around.

"The race issue — it's still important, but for a lot of people it's fading away," he said.

Carter argued that the connections between Obama and his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, have been oversold.

"It's been greatly exaggerated on CNN and in news coverage," he said. "I think in a week or two, it's going to fade away."

Clarification: Carter has not officially endorsed Obama, although he has made favorable comments about him. 

Obama losing ground in N.C.

Barack Obama is losing ground in North Carolina.

The Democratic presidential candidate was once figured to do well here, but three recent public opinion polls show Hillary Clinton closing the gap.

Raleigh's Public Policy Polling found his one-time lead of 25 points had decreased to 12. A SurveyUSA poll shows him ahead by 5, and Rasmussen Reports has his lead at 14.

Most of the loss has been among white voters, which voters attribute to the recent flare-up over Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"The more Obama becomes a black candidate or the candidate of blacks, the more support that we see falling off among some segments of the white population," said Duke University politics professor Kerry Haynie.

Ace Smith, Clinton's state director, said she still has an uphill battle. (N&O)

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