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Pat McCrory plays stand up comic, mocks his new city

Pat McCrory, don't quit your new day job. The governor-elect started his speech at the Economic Forecast Forum on Wednesday playing the part of stand up comedian but bumbled the jokes. (Listen to the audio below.)

He walked to the podium with a list hitting at the Capital City -- fitting with Charlotte residents thinking that their city is really the center of the state's universe, if not the entire Eastern Seaboard.

The setup: Since being elected, McCrory said he's "learning the Raleigh ways." ("Because I'm an outsider," he explained, trying to perpetuate his campaign mantra.)

His first Raleigh joke: "The definition of an elevator in a state government building really means take the stairs," he said to mixed laughter.

Institute for Emerging Issues cranking up for entrepreeurs programs in Raleigh

The Institute for Emerging Issues will focus its annual forum next year on manufacturing and it is beginning is begin this week with a series of programs that begin exploring the issue.

On Monday at 3:45 the Institute at NC State University will host a virtual panel discussion on manufacturing and its importance to Generation Z. The discussion will be broadcast live online and available for viewing via the Emerging Issues website and YouTube.

Congressman Brad Miller makes his basketball loyalties clear

Democratic Congressman Brad Miller represents Raleigh, home to the N.C. State Wolfpack. But he is clear about his Carolina basketball loyalties.

Here's what he told AP's Christina Rexrode: "The way I deal with it is, I scream my lungs out for Carolina," Miller said. "I make no pretense that I am at all half-hearted in my support for Carolina. Nobody in North Carolina would trust a politician who claimed to be neutral on a matter as important as college basketball."

Miller told the AP that he cheered for N.C. State against Georgetown. But Duke -- no way.

"I have said very publicly that if Duke was playing against the Taliban," Miller said very publicly again, "then I'd have to pull for the Taliban."

The kicker in the AP story: "Guess who's not running for re-election." 

N.C. State students look for economic help, 2012 cues

As he waited for President Barack Obama to speak at N.C. State University, senior David Chung captured the mood among students.

"I'm somewhat optimistic," said the computer science major, a registered Democrat from Charlotte. "But at the same times, I'm still a little worried."

With Reynolds Coliseum split in half, as if for a concert, students filled most every seat hours before the president was expected to arrive to tout his American Jobs Act, a $447 billion stock pot filled with tax cuts, spending and other projected aimed at stimulating the stagnant U.S. economy. 

Chung entered college in 2007, just before the state's housing market stumbled. He acknowledged that his academic pursuits have shielded him from feeling the brunt of the economy in the past four years. But now, as he prepares to graduate in May, is thinking more about how it will affect him. "There's jobs in computer science but it's a tough economy that we're in," he said.

At the top row, perpendicular to a stage draped in campaign style banners, Colt Pierce, a sophomore from Statesville, is anxious to hear about way to protect teaching jobs. He is a teaching fellow at N.C. State, a program that pays part of his education costs in exchange for four years teaching in a N.C. school. He is one of the last classes after state lawmakers cut the funding for the program in this year's budget.

"It'd be nice to hear about some job security for teachers," he said. 

Pierce is a registered Republican and he will cast his first ballot in the 2012 election. "My views vary, especially after coming to college," he said. "I want to listen to what he says."

The crowd overwhelmed expectations and by 11:30 a.m., organizers lifted a hanging barrier to allow more seating. Former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt and a bevy of state lawmakers sat along the edges.

Using a bullhorn, Sara Potter energizes the crowd waiting outside Reynolds Coliseum.

Using a bullhorn, Sara Potter energizes the crowd waiting outside Reynolds Coliseum (staff photo by Shawn Rocco).

Beer and party money

Say What?
"The students have openly admitted that it's beer and party money."
— Then state Sen. Beverly Perdue, on a proposed $200 surcharge to tuition at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University in 1993. The surcharge, which would have paid for improved libraries, student aid and higher faculty salaries, failed. Quoted in a May 7, 1993, article by the Associated Press and in an ad attacking Perdue by rival Richard Moore.

Easley's plug-in plug

Say What?
"Let's get off the gas and get on the juice."
— Gov. Mike Easley, announcing the creation of a transportation center at N.C. State that would work on lighter, more efficient batteries for plug-in hybrid cars, at the Emerging Issues Forum on Feb. 12, 2008.

Bob Etheridge

A North Carolina Congressman says ethanol is key to national security. In this podcast, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge talks about biofuels, the role of farmers in energy policy and when government subsidies will not be needed.

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