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Obama surrogates tout economic growth

President Barack Obama's campaign surrogates said today there was evidence that North Carolina's manufacturing economy was coming back.

“Things are slowly getting better,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. “We have just seen our unemployment rate in Forsyth County drop to 8.8 percent which is well below the state average.”

In every one of the last 23 months, Joines said the private sector has added jobs.

In North Carolina, manufacturing exports grew by over 19 percent from 2010 and 2011, he said.

State Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro, said “the last thing we can afford is to go back to the same exact tried and failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place. That is the real choice for North Carolinians and all Americans this fall.”

“Governor (Mitt) Romney's budget proposes to cut critical investments in our community colleges and  infrastructure and clean energy sources, that have been vital to job growth in North Carolina,” Harrison said.

The teleconference was set up by the Obama campaign in conjunction with the president's appearance at a Boeing plant in Seattle today in which he was talking about the growth in manufacturing jobs.

Marshall attends White House event

Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall attended a White House Christmas Party Tuesday night.

Marshall, who is secretary of state, was one hundreds of state officials from across the country invited, Rob Christensen reports. Other Democratic North Carolinians attending included state Rep. Verla Insko of Chapel Hill, state Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro, Durham Mayor Bill Bell and state Treasurer Janet Cowell.

So that means on Tuesday, three North Carolina Senate candidates were having some sort of interaction with President Barack Obama.

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr was appearing at a rally to protest the president's health care plan, Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham was taking a call from Obama in his hometown in Lexington, and Marshall was attending a White House party.

Insko to attend White House event

State Rep. Verla Insko plans to attend a White House reception next week that is being held to recognize state lawmakers working on health care reform.

Insko, a Chapel Hill Democrat, is one of 40 lawmakers participating in the White House State Legislators Working Group on Health Care Reform, according to a news release.

The group of about 40 state lawmakers from around the nation plan and initiate state-level activities in support of President Barack Obama’s health care reform efforts. In North Carolina, state legislators held community meetings to discuss health care and met with Sen. Kay Hagan and their members of Congress to discuss the cost to states of delaying health care reform.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, also plans to attend the Dec. 15 reception.

More in the crowd at Obama rally

The VIPs in the crowd in Greensboro were more local.

At a rally for Barack Obama today, the highest-ranking candidate for state office was Agriculture Commissioner candidate Ronnie Ansley.

Obama gave him a shout-out and recognized Congressional candidates Roy Carter and Teresa Sue Bratton, Greensboro Mayor Yevonne Johnson and state Rep. Pricey Harrison.

Also at the event: State Rep. Alma Adams and state Cultural Resources secretary Libba Evans.

Not present: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beverly Perdue or Senate candidate Kay Hagan, who is from Greensboro.

Update: The inestimable Mark Binker of the News & Record says he spotted Rep. Earl Jones as well.

Second Update: A spokeswoman for Hagan said she had a previously scheduled event. 

Obama launches Truth Squad

They are the N.C. Truth Squad.

Their mission? To "make sure that the truth is shared with North Carolinians."

Their outfits? Capes, with a large purple "T" and a lightening bolt.

Okay, we made that last one up.

But it is true that Barack Obama announced today the creation of a N.C. Truth Squad whose job it is, according to Obama state director Craig Schirmer, is to "make sure that the truth is shared with North Carolinians."

Of course, that would be the truth as seen from the Obama camp. The squad is supposed to set the record straight on the candidate's records and, according to Schirmer, respond to "misleading messages from any corner - especialliy those that the Clinton campaign has tried here in North Carolina and in other states."

So, who are the members of the N.C. Truth Squad?

They are: U.S. Reps. David Price, Mel Watt and G.K. Butterfield, former state House Speaker Dan Blue and state Reps. Pricey Harrison and Ty Harrell.

Obama announces 50 Edwards supporters

The Barack Obama campaign Wednesday released a list of 50 former North Carolina supporters of John Edwards who are backing the Illinois senator in the May 6th primary.

Rob Christensen reports that the list included Congressmen David Price, and G.K Butterfield, former state House Majoirty leader Phil Baddour of Goldsboro, attorney Wade Byrd of Fayetteville, former state Democratic party chairs Libba Evans and Wade Smith, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Henry Frye, and Jim Phillips, the chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

"We are going to be in the trenches helping him to do well," said Ed Turlington, a Raleigh attorney who was general chairman of Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign.

Turlington and state Rep. Pricey Harrison said that Obama shared many of the ideas of Edwards on such issues as fighting poverty, and changing the culture of Washington.

Edwards, a former North Carolina senator who dropped out of the presidential race in January, has suggested that he and his wife Elizabeth were unlikely to endorse.

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