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Bill Maher on North Carolina: So much for a comedian to work with

Bill Maher used North Carolina as his comedic spittoon a week ago, generating a good bit of attention.

Maher will undoubtedly offer a few more barbs when he performs his standup routine Saturday in Durham. Previewing his visit, staff writer David Menconi talked to Maher about the state's politics. From today's N&O: When told he’s being interviewed from North Carolina, Bill Maher guffaws for a good long while. “Ah, North Carolina,” he says with relish. “So much there for a comedy show to work with!”

So what does he think of North Carolina politics right now? Read below.

Congressmen to talk money in politics at Duke forum

Democratic Congressmen David Price and John Sarbanes will talk about the affects of big money in politics in a forum Thursday at Duke University.

The free event starts at 5 p.m. at Fleishman Commons at the Sanford School for Public Policy. Also on the panel: Anita Earls, the executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and state Rep. Larry Hall, the House minority leader. Gunther Peck, associate professor of history and public policy, will moderate.

Magazine lists PPP's Tom Jensen among 36 most powerful people in politics

Raleigh pollster Tom Jensen landed on Business Insider magazine's list of the 36 most powerful people in politics, joining the likes of Bill Clinton, Chris Christie, Michelle Obama and Karl Rove.

Jensen, a Chapel Hill resident, is the chief pollster at Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm that does automated polling. Business Insider writes: "Largely unknown prior to the 2012 campaign, Jensen's North Carolina-based firm ended up being the most reliable public pollster of the election. The firm correctly predicted the winner of the presidential race in all 50 states, and at the end of the election, PPP was rated as the most accurate polling company of the campaign.

The most-clicked Dome posts of 2012 show N.C. in national spotlight

What made the biggest splash on Dome in 2012? The top 5 stories -- in terms of reader clicks --reflect how North Carolina played a major role in the national political scene and the Washington-driven penchant for little news bits that speak to a larger narrative. It doesn't necessarily reflect the biggest news of the political year, but what generated interest in the blogosphere.

Click below to see the top 5.

Gov. Perdue still mum on her future plans

Gov. Bev Perdue remains mum on her future once she leaves the mansion.

In a recent interview, Perdue said her plans are "beginning to come together" but she refused to provide specifics. 

One possibility floating through political circles is a position at the UNC-Chapel Hill. (Perdue lived in Chapel Hill for a time.) But she demurred when asked about it. "A lot of people talking to me about a lot of things. but again. I would do nothing until I talk to my team and Bob obviously," she said referring to her husband.

Morning Roundup: Candidates clash in first governor, presidential debates

North Carolina’s candidates for governor, Walter Dalton and Pat McCrory, engaged in a sharp-edged televised debate Wednesday, offering barbed exchanges on taxes, businesses, fracking, race and voter ID that reflected the state’s political polarization.

Dalton most often was in the role of the aggressor, portraying McCrory as someone who would be more responsive to the interests of the well-to-do, whether it came to taxes or big oil companies. McCrory portrayed himself as the reformer who would make much needed changes in the state, while painting Dalton as part of a failed “good ol’ boy and good ol’ girl system."

Read the full story here and three fact-checks from the debate.

More political headlines:

--President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney squared off in primetime. Analysis: Romney relaxed, Obama out-of-sync. Fact checks. Reaction from voters in Charlotte at watch parties and from undecided voters.

Morning Roundup: Dalton, McCrory tax plans define governor's race

A defining question in the governor’s race will affect the pocketbooks of every North Carolina resident: Who should pay taxes and how much?

Democrat Walter Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory are traveling the state touting wildly different tax plans as part of their pitch to revive the state’s economy and remedy the persistently high jobless rate. Dalton offers modest tweaks to the tax code with a combination of incentives and tax breaks, while McCrory is pushing for a complete overhaul that could shift the state’s tax burden by billions of dollars.

Read the full story here and get a breakdown of the candidates tax plans. Also read about how McCrory and Dalton have a record of supporting tax hikes.

More political headlines:

--Rob Christensen: Last week vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was briefly in the state. On Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be in North Carolina. The Wisconsin-North Carolina connection is not an obvious one. But the states are more alike than one might imagine at first blush.

Sunday reads for the Democratic convention

Two good Sunday long reads ahead of the Democratic convention in Charlotte:

From Politico's Jonathan Martin: "Ever since his national debut at the 2004 Democratic convention, Barack Obama’s calling card has been that he practices consensus-oriented politics that transcend traditional divisions. But four years after his historic presidential election, the country he sought to bring together is even more divided than when he launched his candidacy. And no place is more polarized than the South."

From National Journal's Beth Reinhard: "North Carolina crystallizes a key question looming over the 2012 election and those to follow: Can Hispanics translate their growing numbers into greater political clout on relatively unfamiliar ground? Although Hispanics’ voting participation lags their population numbers almost everywhere, states with long-standing Latino communities—such as California, Florida, New York, and Texas—boast battle-tested political infrastructures of liberal, minority, and labor groups that sweep Hispanic voters to the polls every Election Day."

Morning Roundup: A North Carolina political primer ahead of the DNC

North Carolina Democrats enter the national convention in their home state with much to prove. More than anything, the state’s partisan faithful must demonstrate that President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory in this traditionally Republican state was not a fluke – that North Carolina deserves to host the Democratic convention and merits a spot among the more traditional campaign battleground states like Florida and Ohio. Read the full story here.

More politics from the News & Observer and Charlotte Observer below:

--A complete North Carolina political primer from one of the experts, UNC Journalism Prof and former N&O writer Ferrel Guillory: "Once viewed as falling below the norm in many national comparisons, North Carolina’s mixture of civic and economic strengths and weaknesses now are more in keeping with mainstream America. The state has become less a lagging and more a leading indicator of national issues and trends."

UNC journalists launch new mobile politics site

Political junkies have a new fix with the UNC School of Journalism's launching earlier this month of a mobile-specific website, Touted as an exploration of “the emerging trend of two-way communication” and new technology in journalism, the site aims to take an in-depth look at the state’s politics.

It’s part of the school’s Reese Digital News Project, which launched in November 2010 with funding from a $4.1 million estate gift. Student journalists are encouraged to try new ways of reporting through innovative technology, according to the project. “WhichWayNC is filling a void in the conversation,” Sarah Glen, team captain for the project, said in a news release. “We are crafting stories that encourage engagement among users.”

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