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N&O Pundit Panel: Etheridge embraces Washington, Dalton gets into policy weeds

The News & Observer asked four area political pundits to share their reaction about Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate. Here are their thoughts:

Andy Taylor, political scientist at N.C. State University: “The candidates are really beginning to distinguish themselves. Faison was feisty, repeatedly using language that the party’s base would approve of. Etheridge discussed his experience and steady hand, embracing his Washington record in a way you just don’t see candidates doing these days. Dalton, perhaps because he is left with no choice, projected himself as a technocrat, full of practical ideas.”

Thomas Mills, Democratic political strategist and co-founder of Bates & Mills Consulting in Carrboro: “The candidates’ closing arguments summed up their appearances pretty well. Walter Dalton talked about programs and policies; Bob Etheridge talked about experience and leadership; and Bill Faison talked about himself.”

John N. Davis, political analyst and editor of the Raleigh-based John Davis Political Report: “Bill Faison won the UNC-TV debate hands down by staying focused on the most important issues of the day, jobs and the economy, by answering the questions with strength of anti-establishment conviction, and by barely restraining from spitting every time he said the word Republican. He looked into the camera with the confidence of a military leader readying for battle and fire in his eyes when he mentioned the GOP’s “radical social agenda.”

Walter Dalton knows too much about the wrong issues for a one-minute answer about the right ones, but still tries to say it all. Intense, fast-talking, arm-waving government speak does not inspire the kind of passion that will move voters … towards you. Bob Etheridge is a gentleman politician steeped in Democratic tradition and bogged down in the issues, priorities and solutions of the past.” 

Bob Orr, former state Supreme Court Justice now an attorney with Poyner Spruill in Raleigh: “Thank goodness for the GOP-controlled General Assembly which provided the Democratic gubernatorial candidates much of their material for Tuesday night’s debate. Lt. Gov. Dalton wins best overall with more depth and breadth of solid answers about a myriad of programs. However, his reliance on his experience and involvement with all these programs may not be the winning message.

Bill Faison incorporates “jobs” into every possible answer to every question regardless of the topic. He’s hitched his campaign to jobs, kicking “the radical Republican agenda” and appealing to the liberal base. The surprise is how effective former Congressman Etheridge was in answering questions and communicating in a comfortable style. Obamacare? “I support it.” Reason to vote for him? “Leadership.” The Republicans should not underestimate him if he gets the nomination. Finally, having watched the debate in person, in studio at WUNC-TV there wasn’t a smile or attempt at humor by any of them. For three personable individuals the winner will need to ramp up the charm factor in the general election.”


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Take a look at Faison's website

It is one self-promotion after another. Of this you can be CERTAIN. Faison's desire to be Governor is not about what he can do for the people of this state. It is about what being Governor of this state can do for Bill Faison.

What has Faison done so far?

Faison is now in his 4th term in the House. Check the NCGA website. In all this time where was his desire to help all the "hurting folks in North Carolina" that he now claims to be so concerned about? He introduced NO bills to help NC families who are struggling. (I see that he did introduce some bills that deal with insurance and medical malpractice. How convenient!). It wasn't until Faison decided that the words 'jobs plan' might lead him to higher office did he feel the need to help "folks in this state".

Where are Faison's supporters?

Faison's website claims that 35 of his House Democratic colleagues support his jobs plan. Have ANY of those colleagues endorsed his candidacy for governor? Have ANY of his colleagues past or president endorsed his candidacy for governor? He has been on the campaign trail a long time now and has apparently picked up NO endorsements from any leaders across the state. Why is that?

A Campaign of deception

Faison has built his entire gubernatorial campaign on two words - jobs plan. For months he travelled the state telling people that his jobs plan "would immediately put tens of thousands of people back to work". It was only after several television stations reported in their 'fact check' that Faison's claims are untrue that he stopped telling this lie.

Me Me Me

Thomas Mills hit the nail on the head in summing up the candidates closing statements whe he said "and Bill Faison talked about himself". This is about all Faison has done in his 8 month long campaign.

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