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Morning Roundup: The N.C. political year in review

While North Carolina experienced a predicted blockbuster political year in 2012, the details weren't as anticipated by some.

Charlotte hosted North Carolina's first-ever major party national convention. A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in North Carolina passed by a whopping 22 percentage points. And although it wasn't shocking that former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory was elected governor, the ease of his victory was surprising, as was his Democratic rival - Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, not Gov. Beverly Perdue. Read AP's political year in review here.

More political headlines below:

--North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which has spent nearly $1 billion to clean up polluted waters and protect untainted ones, will face a dicey future as legislators convene in January.

--The N.C. House’s new Republican majority whip believes he has the votes to stop North Carolina’s green-energy mandate – the first in the Southeast when it was enacted in 2007 – in its tracks. Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County views the mandate as the government unfairly “picking winners and losers” in the marketplace. As chairman of the Public Utilities committee, Hager would like to freeze it at the current 3 percent level.

Morning Roundup: Candidates rhetoric in governor's race intensifies

Saying “there’s no more important governor’s race in the America,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie touted fellow Republican Pat McCrory and bashed his opponent Thursday at a rally. Christie joined McCrory in front of around 250 people at Catawba College, McCrory’s alma mater.

The visit underscores the GOP investment in the North Carolina race. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also are expected to campaign with McCrory in coming weeks. Read full story.

More political headlines:

--Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton sharply escalated criticism of his Republican opponent, Pat McCrory, on Thursday, portraying him as beholden to special interests, against public schools and likely to target state workers.

--Charlotte’s host committee paid for one of the biggest Democratic convention expenses – $5 million for use of Time Warner Cable Arena – from a fund that accepted cash from corporations, even though President Barack Obama had instructed convention organizers to not use business money for the actual convention.

Morning Roundup: Obama camp says it's not leaving North Carolina

Democrats on Monday dismissed a suggestion by the top pollster for Republican Mitt Romney that President Barack Obama’s campaign is “laying the groundwork for a stealth withdrawal” from North Carolina.

The dueling claims came four days after the Democratic convention in Charlotte – and 56 before Election Day – as both sides jockeyed for the upper hand in North Carolina, a state Politico called Monday one of nine remaining presidential battlegrounds. Read more here.

Other political headlines this morning:

--Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton on Monday offered a jobs plan that he said avoids “rigid ideology” but includes a series of practical ideas that he said would help address North Carolina’s high unemployment rate.

Morning Roundup: The election battle is defined by 10 states

Get ready for an all-out brawl in 10 too-close-to-call battleground states as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney begin a two-month sprint to Election Day.

They will deluge those states with personal visits, stacks of direct mail, automated phone calls and an unprecedented barrage of TV ads in tossup states Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan and Ohio. They'll probably all but ignore the rest of America. Read a breakdown here.

More political headlines:

--Young voters in North Carolina less excited than other age groups, poll shows.

Morning Roundup: Obama makes case for second term, DNC ends

President Barack Obama closed his party’s convention in Charlotte on Thursday night by laying out a case for a second term and casting the election as a choice between “two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

Speaking to a national audience and an overflowing uptown arena, the president – joined by over 40 other Democratic speakers – offered a spirited defense of his record and a sharp contrast to Republican Mitt Romney on issues, from Medicare to mending the economy. Read the full story here.

More political headlines:

--Rob Christensen: Democratic convention showcases the new North Carolina.

--DNC wrap: What it's like to be the N.C. delegation. A final night photo gallery. Charlotte man arrested for Twiter threats against the president. Truth is the casualty at conventions. How did Charlotte do, compared to Tampa? Many at arena turned away. Sharp choice in campaign ahead. 10 protesters arrested in final day. DNC star sightings. Local candidates get a DNC boost, too.

Post-convention, the work begins for Democrats

Now the work begins. Democratic National Convention delegates who cheered their political heroes late into the night this week are headed home to try to turn their brimming enthusiasm for President Barack Obama into votes.

Convention-goers leave this city with marching orders to intensify their effort. They know it will be tougher this year and expect to encounter many more fence-sitters than in 2008. It would be a shame “if we come and are excited for a week and we don’t then go out and do the work,” said Lee Storrow, a Chapel Hill Council member.

That message made it into nearly every official convention speech. Read more here.

President Obama praises N.C. volunteers, regrets speech change

President Barack Obama said North Carolina "is exhibit A of the unbelievable work that is being done at the grassroots level."

"You guys are just blowing it up when it comes to registering voters," he said in a seven-minute conference call with supporters Thursday.

The kind words are a consolation prize for thousands of N.C. supporters who planned to attend his acceptance speech in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte until it was moved indoors.

Obama said "we can't let a little thunder and lightning get us down -- we're going to have to roll with it."

Morning Roundup DNC edition: Obama's challenges entering big speech

CHARLOTTE -- Republicans were so certain of carrying the Tar Heel State last time, that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina famously boasted: “I’ll beat Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina."

As Obama accepts the nomination Thursday night in a state that he improbably carried four years ago, Republicans are once again certain that the state will go red. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, the state’s ranking Republican, doesn’t even think North Carolina should be considered a presidential battleground. Read Rob Christensen's column about Obama's challenges in North Carolina.

More political headlines below:

--This is a critical week for Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who lags behind his governor’s race opponent, Republican Pat McCrory, in voter polls and campaign donations.

North Carolina's cameo in Michelle Obama's video

Nine-year-old Will Cunningham's friends at school don't believe him when he tells them about his summer.

But now he has video proof. Will, the son of former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, and his sister Caroline, 10, met First Lady Michelle Obama in a private event in the Raleigh backyard of state Rep. Grier Martin. The Aug. 1 private visit was featured in the eight minute video introducing Obama at the Democratic convention Tuesday night. (Click below for video. 3:33 mark)

Romney pollster says North Carolina race within margin of error

Just blocks from the site of the Democratic convention, Republican national chairman Reince Priebus Sunday geared up for a GOP response effort that he said would “shame what they did to us.” 

Republicans plan to open a “rapid response center” Monday at NASCAR Plaza, an operation Priebus said would dwarf the Democratic response effort in Tampa. “We’re going to put them to shame,” he told the Observer Sunday. “Whatever they did to us we’re going to do to them 10 times over.”

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