House Speaker Thom Tillis "resigned" this weekend. Maybe you missed it in the hoopla about the Democratic scramble to replace Gov. Bev Perdue on the 2012 ballot. Or maybe it was a "joke," as his office suggested, to make a point about some biased media sources.
"It's a tongue-in-cheek sarcastic thing," Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw said Monday. (Such an explanation didn't work well for Perdue -- but her gaffe about suspending elections doesn't match Tillis' "resignation," Shaw says.)
Either way, Tillis' email is an intriguing look at how the state's top Republican's message sometimes strikes a different tone than the official word he distributes from his office.
Take the news that Perdue wouldn't seek re-election. The official statement from her office thanked her for her service, and despite their differences, expressed hope about working together. But days later on Facebook, Tillis suggested that Perdue's reason for not running again wasn't legit and her decision amounted to surrender.
This is the official statement from Tillis' office on the day Perdue made her announcement:
“Governor Perdue has had a long and dedicated career in public service in North Carolina. All too often, the sacrifices of public officials go unnoted, so I acknowledge her hard work and her years of service to the state. Whether we agree with her politics or not, we all should respect her for her commitment to North Carolina over these many years.
"Republicans in the General Assembly have disagreed deeply with the Governor over many issues, but I am hopeful we can find opportunities in her remaining time in office to work on legislative matters that will become a part of her legacy, and do so for the good of all North Carolinians. I wish Governor Perdue and her family the very best.”
And this is what Tillis himself wrote Sunday on Facebook:
"Does anyone really believe Governor Perdue's reason for deciding not to seek reelection? Leaving the office of chief executive so that she can have greater influence? I searched the Internet all the way to the end and I did not find a single example where surrender was the key to winning any war. Any thoughts as to why she did?"
Tillis didn't stop there. Thirty minutes later he added this: "The Gov said she has never seen such partisanship. So how do you explain SEVEN historic bipartisan veto overrides? Never happened before ANYWHERE. I have to give the Gov credit. Her policies have been a major factor in bringing members of both parties together...to defeat her obstructionist unproductive policies."
Shaw, Tillis' spokesman, said not to read into the differences. "He enjoys engaging his followers on Facebook," he said.