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Morning Memo: The recasting of Gov. McCrory? Unraveling his shifts

PAT McCRORY LINKS MEDICAID REFORMS TO TEACHER PAY HIKES -- Governor pledges big announcement in coming months: Speaking at the Cary Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Wednesday evening, Gov. Pat McCrory promised "controversial" proposals to change the state's Medicaid system. Overruns in Medicaid costs are a huge burden on the state and have drained funding for education, he said.

Citing issues with federal regulations, "a lack of waivers from the feds, and frankly, some of the politics within Raleigh here," McCrory said he wanted to change the state's implementation of the federal health program for people with low income.

"I'm going to have to bring up some fairly controversial proposals to change Medicaid, or we're going to continue to have some very, very serious issues here in North Carolina," McCrory told the crowd. "That's coming in the next three, four months. I'll probably introduce them while the legislature's out of town, between now and May," he said, drawing laughs. Changes to Medicaid, he said are " the way we're going to get raises to the teachers."

***McCrory appears to be charting a new course, but the administration is backtracking on a different education announcement. Read it all below in today's Dome Morning Memo***

Morning Memo: What Pat McCrory and Bev Perdue have in common

SENATE OVERRIDE VOTE EXPECTED: The state House on Tuesday took little more than half an hour to override the governor’s vetoes of two bills, on immigration and drug-testing welfare recipients. The resurrected legislation now passes to the Senate, which will vote Wednesday morning and is expected to easily override. Gov. Pat McCrory lobbied House members to sustain the vetoes to little success -- but he didn't try a similiar effort with lawmakers in the Senate, a chamber that he has been at odds with for most of the legislative session.

HOW PAT McCRORY AND BEV PERDUE ARE ALIKE: From Catawba College political expert Michael Bitzer: "What appears to be constant between the two governors is the distaste by independent voters. While (former Gov. Bev) Perdue faired worse earlier than (Gov. Pat) McCrory has, they both have reached a similar point of nearly 50 percent disapproval among independent voters. While the Perdue-McCrory gap is pretty noticeable among independents expressing their disapproval, the convergence in August, after the dust of the legislative sessions had settled, is pretty striking." See his analysis of polling results and the one chart that tells the McCrory story.

***Read more on the override votes in the House and where the N.C. delegation stands on Syria below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Parody Twitter account puts McCrory in the middle of the action

It was bound to happen.

Someone started a parody Twitter account that plays off Gov. Pat McCrory's claim that he has mingled with protestors in Raleigh.

Patwasthere is a gathering place for photoshopped images that put McCrory - Zelig-like - in interesting spots.

Not only does one image put McCrory in the Legislative Building next to Rev. William Barber of the NAACP during a "Moral Monday" protest, others have McCrory on the balcony with Prince William and Kate after their wedding, and standing in front of Clint Eastwood during last year's Republican National Convention while Eastwood addresses the empty chair.

Morning Memo: Gift ban repeal dead, Hahn investigation seeks motive

TILLIS SAYS LOBBYIST GIFT BAN WILL REMAIN INTACT: House Speaker Thom Tillis took to Twitter this week to declare Republican Robert Brawley's bill to lift the ban on lobbyists giving lawmakers gifts is dead. "Benny, does the fact that the bill is dead give you any idea?" @thomtillis wrote. The speaker's office confirmed the 10:10 p.m. Tuesday tweet was legit. Tillis addressed the response to Benjamin Ray, an operative at the N.C. Democratic Party pushing Tillis on the issue and tying it to his office's controversial past with lobbyists and the fact the bill came from one of his committee chairman.

MOTIVE FOR JAMIE HAHN'S STABBING TURNS TO CAMPAIGN MONEY: As the Triangle mourned slain political strategist Jamie Hahn on Wednesday, attention turned to whether the man who police say stabbed her had made questionable campaign finance reports while working for Hahn’s firm. More on the story below.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- click below for much, much more from a busy day in N.C. politics. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. ***

D’oh-me: The not-so top 5 moments from Dome in 2012

The political year included its share of odd stories and not-so-flattering headlines. Here's a look at the top 5:

1. @GovBevPerdue makes a splash: A Twitter parody account for Gov. Bev Perdue (real handle: @ncgovoffice) caught a number of national media outlets looking silly. MSNBC and Huffington Post were among those fooled by the account that has steadily mocked all things Perdue. The account is labeled as the “first female governor of North Carolina, and probably the last.” The background image, and often point of discussion, is Bojangles’ Bo-Berry Biscuits. Nonetheless, HuffPo in May quoted the faux Perdue as apologizing to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant for a quip the real governor made after the state approved an amendment banning marriage between same-sex couples. During the Democratic National Convention, MSNBC was caught sleeping when they aired some of the fake Tweets on live TV.

Cherie Berry embraces her Elevator Queenhood in new TV ad

Republican Cherie Berry is embracing her moniker as the Elevator Queen.

A new TV ad posted to her campaign website this week shows her talking from her picture inside the elevator. The 15-second spot starts with the sound of an elevator and touts workplace safety.

Morning Roundup: Twitter defines debates, Obamacare defines insurance race

For millions, the liveliest chatter about Tuesday night’s presidential debate will arrive 140 characters at a time – free of pundits in pancake makeup. With smartphones, tablets and laptops, debate-watchers will log onto Twitter.com and form a nationwide peanut gallery, adding instant context, fact-checking and gags to passive TV-watching.

Read more about social media's role in the debates and a preview here.

More political headlines:

--As Mike Causey pitched his take on homeowner’s insurance rates at a recent campaign appearance, he received little more than nods and smiles from the crowd. Then he invoked a line that’s been popular for Republicans: “People ask me my position on Obamacare; I’m opposed to Obamacare,” he said. Thunderous applause. The next insurance commissioner will play an important role. Read a profile of the race here.

Fake Gov. Perdue tweets show up on TV

MSNBC fell for the fake Gov. Bev Perdue on Twitter, more than once, a tweet-curating website reports.

The TV news program is trailing political tweets across the bottom of the screen during some of its coverage of the Democratic National Convention, as it did with the Republican convention last week.

During host Chris Matthews’ show one trailer attributed to “@GOVBEVPERDUE” remarked: “Welcome to North Carolina, Democrats! Can’t wait to tell everyone about NC’s great economy, low unemployment and my high approval.”

Fake Gov. Perdue apologizes to Miss. governor -- real Perdue did not

UPDATED: So news broke this afternoon that Gov. Bev Perdue issued an apology to Mississippi's governor for a comment she made last week that drew rebuke. Perdue told a TV reporter that the passage of the constitutional amendment on marriage makes North Carolina "look like Mississippi."

Huffington Post broke a story Monday about the apology citing Twitter -- the account of @GovBevPerdue. The problem? The account is a parody, a spoof, one of the many that ridicule politicians on the social media network.

Fake Perdue wrote this: "Called the Mississippi governor today and apologized for my remarks. Offered to send him some Bojangles Bo-Berry biscuits to make amends."

A spokesman for the real Perdue (@ncgovoffice on Twitter) said Perdue did speak with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Monday but she didn't apologize. The spokesman didn't elaborate but said "they had a very good discussion."

The Huffington Post later owned the mistake, admitting they fell for the fake, saying its "story embarrassingly took Bev Perdue's spoof Twitter account at face value." And it turns out that CNN also fell for the spoof. More on the debacle here.

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.

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