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Morning Memo: Vice President Biden to raise money for Kay Hagan

VICE PRESIDENT TO HEADLINE HAGAN FUNDRAISER: Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. The more than two-dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600. The host list includes big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

***Read more about the 2014 Senate race and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Cooper's unofficial debut; peek inside GOP voters' minds

ROY COOPER'S DEBUT: Attorney General Roy Cooper is the featured speaker Saturday morning at the N.C. Democratic Party's Western Gala. The speech at the women's breakfast will serve as his unofficial debut in the 2016 governor's race. In recent weeks, Cooper has made his intentions to run clear and the event will give him a platform to begin gathering Democratic support as other party challengers emerge. Later in the evening, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and R.T. Rybak, the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will speak at the party fundraiser.

***A must-read analysis of Republicans and its potential impact on the N.C. Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: McCrory's approval slips again, as he defends voter ID and prepares veto pen

ALERT: PAT McCRORY'S APPROVAL RATING FALLS TO 39 PERCENT A new Public Policy Polling survey set for release later Thursday shows the Republican governor's approval rating dipping to the 30s for the first time in his term. It's a slight slip from a month earlier but indicates his approval rating is not improving as he signs controversial legislation on abortion, voter ID and guns. The Raleigh-based Democratic firm found McCrory's approval at 39 percent and disapproval at 51 percent. Another 10 percent are unsure. The numbers represent a huge point slide from when he took office in January with a 45 percent approval and 19 percent disapproval rating.

Another number in the poll suggests half of voters believe he broke his campaign pledge on abortion. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Check Dome later today for more numbers.

NEW YORK TIMES A1 HEADLINE: North Carolinians fear the end of a middle way: The story rehashes the rightward shift from the legislative session and focuses on Pat McCrory's tough spot. Campbell Robertson writes: "In an interview, Mr. McCrory said that critics had obscured what he called a pragmatic and fiscally responsible agenda. “It’s a combination of people on the two extremes wanting to bring up and exaggerate controversial issues,” he said, adding that he had pushed back against earlier versions of the abortion and tax bills, and was planning to veto other bills this week." Read the full story here.

***The governor keeps threatening a veto. Find out the likely target below in the Dome Morning Memo. And get his thoughts on the voter ID bill.***

1376508601 Morning Memo: McCrory's approval slips again, as he defends voter ID and prepares veto pen The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Morning Memo: Tillis dodges shutdown questions; McHenry pressed on Obamacare

TILLIS DODGES GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN QUESTION: Republican Thom Tillis is emphasizing his opposition to the federal health care law in his campaign for the U.S. Senate but at the same time he's avoiding answering some questions on the issue. A Democratic Party operative recently asked the Republican House speaker about whether he agrees with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others who suggested shutting down government to defund the federal health care law.

While walking to a recent D.C. fundraiser, Tillis didn't offer a direct answer -- even though if elected he may face similar circumstance. "It's not my decision to make but anything we could do to slow down or eliminate Obamacare would be good for the nation," he said in a video posted online. (Watch above.)

Does Tillis agree with North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr that a shutdown is the "dumbest idea" ever? Again no answer. "I'm going to leave that to the duly elected senators but i think we can do to stop Sen. Hagan and President Obama from creating all the uncertainty and cost that comes with Obamacare it would be a good thing," he said. Expect both questions to return soon.

***See the Tillis video below in the Dome Morning Memo, along with another video from Republicans punking people at the "Moral Monday" rally.

McCrory: North Carolina's 'very good business climate' lured MetLife

Gov. Pat McCrory told Fox Business what lured MetLife to North Carolina: "the great quality of life, a very good business climate and a great workforce."

The message is interesting for two reasons. 1) "Good business climate" was not the mantra of McCrory's campaign, in which he repeatedly said the state's brand is tarnished and massive tax breaks are needed to revive it. 2) McCrory didn't mention the $94 million in incentives that his commerce secretary said were key to the deal.

Commerce secretary defends use of incentives in MetLife deal

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker Tuesday sought to allay concerns about the timing of Mecklenburg County incentives for insurance giant MetLife, calling the incentives “crucial.”

Some Mecklenburg commissioners have suggested that the company knew it was coming to Charlotte before the board voted to approve $2 million in local incentives. “The process was ongoing until the end,” Decker told a Senate committee.

McCrory separates himself from MetLife incentives deal

As questions persist about the governor's office negotiations with MetLife, Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday he remained at arms length in the effort to lure the insurance company's 2,600 jobs to North Carolina.

"My commerce secretary led that recruitment effort," the Republican said after an event Monday, according to a WRAL-TV video. "My first direct involvement with the company was a day or two before the announcement, where I called the CEO when they told me a basic agreement was agreed upon."

McCrory's remarks, five days after the big jobs announcement, are his first describing his role in the deal -- which is coming under scrutiny because the $94 million incentives package MetLife received was negotiated by the governor's former employer, Moore & Van Allen.

In the video, McCrory said he had no interaction with MetLife when he worked for the Charlotte law firm as a senior director of strategic initiatives. "Not all all," he said, shaking his head.

Morning Memo: McCrory in spotlight in MetLife deal

BIG JOBS DEAL PUTS McCRORY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Charlotte law firm Moore & Van Allen, where Gov. Pat McCrory was employed until just days before taking office, helped the New York-based insurance company negotiate with state and local governments to receive more than $94 million in taxpayer-funded incentives in return for the promise to add more than 2,600 jobs in the next three years. The connection raises questions in the minds of Democrats about McCrory’s role in the deal and again shines light on his employment at the law firm, which also runs a lobbying practice in Raleigh. Republicans used similar concerns to reject a major economic development project under Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, citing how the company hired a Raleigh law firm that employed her son.

TODAY IN POLITICS: McCrory will tout the MetLife deal at another event in Charlotte Friday. The U.S. Labor Department reports the national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, a four year low. The full N.C. Mining and Energy Commission meets Friday as the debate about what to do with fracking waste remains unresolved and lawmakers are getting involved.

Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Much more on the MetLife deal and the political implications below. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Have a good weekend and Go Heels!

Site Selection Magazine ranks NC top business climate

North Carolina, the state with the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country, has the best business climate in the nation, according to Site Selection magazine.

It's the second time in three years the Tar Heel state has finished first in the magazine's rankings, which are based on a survey of corporate site selectors and various other criteria, including capital investment and tax burdens. Gov. Bev Perdue touted the ranking in a statement Thursday.

North Carolina edged out Ohio, which was followed by Texas, Georgia and Virginia. Nine of the top 10 states are in the South or Southeast.

Konnichiwa, y'all

Gov. Bev Perdue is on her way to Japan to drum up business for the state.

Perdue and state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco are leading a delegation to the 35th annual Southeast U.S./Japan joint meeting in Tokyo, according to her office. While there, Perdue and commerce officials will meet with export clients and businesses seeking new investments. After he leaves Japan, Crisco will take a two-day business recruitment trip to China.

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