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Entries in North Carolina (29)

Friday
May112012

Move the Democratic Convention From Charlotte? Not Likely

Marc Piscotty for Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Internet-based protest movement calling for Democrats to move their summer convention from North Carolina appears to be a lost cause.

“The convention is staying in Charlotte,” Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Joanne Peters said an email.

North Carolina voters Tuesday approved a ballot referendum known as Amendment One, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Tar Heel state, becoming the 30th state to adopt such a measure. Gay Marriage USA, an advocacy group based in New York, has since launched a petition calling on the DNCC to “move the convention out of North Carolina.”

“On May 8th, the people of North Carolina voted in support of Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that discriminates against LGBT people, couples & their families,” reads the petition posted on change.org. “In protest, the Democratic National Convention Committee should MOVE its convention (September 2012) to a state that upholds values of equality & liberty, and which treats ALL citizens equally.”

The petition has so far gathered more than 28,000 signatures.

The Democrats’ reasoning extends beyond general-election strategy: North Carolina will be a crucial swing state in the fall and moving it so close to the Labor Day start date is impractical.  Conventions are huge undertakings, costing parties millions of dollars and taking months of planning.

“It’s completely impractical to move the convention; there’s absolutely no way you could do it,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Too much planning has gone into it. You couldn’t find another place where you could make all the arrangements at this time.  Practically speaking, it’s at total nonstarter.”

In addition to the financial losses incurred by the convention committee and the Democratic party, the city of Charlotte would be dealt a big financial blow if the convention were moved, as the event will likely have a huge, positive, economic impact on the city. In 2008, the Democratic National Convention brought an estimated economic benefit of $226 million to the Denver area, according to a report released by then Denver Mayor, now Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper.

Furthermore, a majority of voters in Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located, voted against the ban on same-sex marriage. About 54 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg was against Amendment One, while about 46 percent of the voting population supported it, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

North Carolina Amendment One: Anti-Gay Marriage Measure Passes

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- A proposed amendment to North Carolina’s constitution which would make marriage between a man and woman the only legal union recognized by the state has passed a statewide vote.

The referendum -- North Carolina Amendment One -- goes a step beyond outlawing same-sex marriage, which was already illegal in the state. The law decrees that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State” -- meaning that civil unions and potentially other types of domestic partnerships will no longer be legally recognized.

With a little over 43 percent of precincts reporting, support for the amendment was strong -- with about 61 percent of North Carolina voters casting their ballots in favor of the amendment, and roughly 39 percent voting against it.

There is some uncertainty among legal scholars in the state as to the extent of the law, and what types of partnerships might be affected, as the terminology in the amendment -- domestic legal union -- has not appeared in North Carolina statutes previously.

“The language ‘domestic legal union’ is not used in North Carolina statutes or in North Carolina case law,” said Jean Cary, professor of law at Campbell University in Raleigh, N.C., “so it is totally undefined.”

The North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement saying that Tuesday’s results were a “setback” but that Democrats in the state would continue to fight for “equal rights.”

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council -- a conservative Christian organization -- released a statement applauding the vote.

“We applaud North Carolina voters for joining voters in 31 other states upholding the historic and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” the statement said. “At every opportunity, the American people have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the unique benefits that marriage between a man and a woman brings to families and society. They recognize that marriage is the only kind of union that results in natural procreation and keeps a mother and father together to raise the children produced by their union.”

North Carolina had previously been the only Southern state that did not have a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  Some 29 states already have statutes or constitutional amendments outlawing same-sex marriage. Additionally, in Hawaii, the state legislature has the power to define marriage, though the state does not currently explicitly ban same-sex marriage. North Carolina will now become the 30th state with such a law.  Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states, plus Washington, D.C.

The passage of Amendment One is not necessarily a harbinger of bad things to come for Obama and the Democrats in the fall. This type of legislation has not always fallen along red and blue state lines. Constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage have passed in several blue states including Oregon, Maine and California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

North Carolina to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast votes in a series of contests, but with the presidential primary all but finished, it’s likely that a statewide initiative regarding same-sex marriage will be the race to gain the most attention nationally.

The measure being decided on Tuesday is North Carolina Amendment One -- a proposed amendment to the state constitution that, if passed, would make marriage between a man and a woman the only state-recognized, legal union.

“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State,” the language of the proposed new law reads.

And if passed, the amendment would go a step further than simply outlawing same-sex marriage, which is already illegal in the state.  It would mean that the state would cease to recognize any type of legal union between non-married couples -- gay or straight.

“The constitutional amendment will bar same-sex marriage, but it also goes much further in that it bars civil unions,” says Jean Cary, Professor of Law at Campbell Law School in Raleigh, N.C.

Several counties and towns within the state offer domestic partnership benefits to both gay and straight couples.  But those benefits would be in jeopardy if the bill passes.

“We have half a dozen counties or towns that provide domestic partnership benefits to their employees.  If this passes, all of those families who are receiving medical insurance under a domestic partnership arrangement would lose those benefits immediately,” Cary said.

Several prominent Democrats, including Bill Clinton, have come out against the amendment.  Clinton recorded a robo-call urging North Carolinians to vote against it.

Support for the referendum has come from high-profile individuals as well.  The Reverend Billy Graham, who lives in Asheville, N.C., took out a series of full page ads in 14 local newspapers to run his statement of support for the amendment over the weekend.

Polling suggests that the bill is likely to pass.  If passed, the amendment would become part of the state constitution, making overturning the legislation an arduous task.

Legal scholars suggest that if voters choose to pass the amendment, another statewide referendum likely would be necessary to overturn it.  But that likely would require a Democratic takeover of the state legislature.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Five Takeaways for Tuesday’s Primary Battles

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The GOP may have their presumptive nominee, but Tuesday’s voting contests will still hold important clues to the overall outlook for the GOP -- and in Wisconsin for both parties -- in the months ahead.

Presidential primary contests will take place Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.  Primaries in North Carolina and West Virginia could indicate Mitt Romney’s support level in a geographic region he has previously failed to carry.

There are also a slew of important races further down the ticket on Tuesday, with Indiana holding a closely watched Senate primary, Wisconsin holding their Democratic primary for their recall election, and North Carolina’s ballot including a same-sex marriage referendum.

Here’s a look at the top five things to watch out for:

1. Indiana Senate

It’s likely that the presidential primary will be the secondary motivation for many Indiana voters on Tuesday.  The primary battle between six-term incumbent Richard Lugar and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock is sure to be a driving force for Hoosier voters.  The latest polling showed Lugar trailing Mourdock by double digits, though Mourdock’s lead decreased slightly when “leaners” -- voters who said they might change their mind before Tuesday -- were factored out.

2. Wisconsin’s Democratic Primary

Wisconsin’s presidential primary may have come and gone, but there’s another race in Wisconsin that’s garnering most of the public’s attention: the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  On Tuesday, voters will take to the polls to select the Democratic nominee to face off against Walker in the June 5 recall.   Recent polls showed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with a strong lead over former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.  Polls also showed Barrett, who ran against Walker for governor in 2010, in a dead heat with Walker.  Falk trails Walker in the polls.

3. North Carolina’s Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment is up for a vote in North Carolina.  The proposed legislation decrees that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  If passed, this amendment -- Amendment One -- would not only outlaw same-sex marriage in the state (same-sex marriage is not currently legal in N.C.), it would ban any other legal union besides marriage for all couples -- gay and straight.  Polling shows the legislation is likely to pass.

4. Romney’s performance in North Carolina, West Virginia

The one region of the country that has alluded Romney during the primary cycle is the South.  The presumptive GOP nominee has claimed victories in the Northeast, the West and the Midwest, but he has yet to claim victory in a southern state besides Virginia, where several of his competitors failed to qualify for the ballot.  With Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both gone from the race, Romney will carry North Carolina and West Virginia on Tuesday, but the question remains as to how much of the vote he’ll actually receive.

5. Those delegate numbers

Romney has 856 delegates so far, ABC News projects, a little less than 300 shy of the magic 1,144 a candidate needs to officially win the GOP’s nomination.  In Tuesday’s contests, 132 total delegates are at stake, each of which will be doled out proportionally, meaning it is mathematically possible for Romney to fall short of claiming each and every delegate.

Even if Romney does manage to pick up every delegate in Tuesday’s contest, he will still end the night with only 988 delegates.  Depending on Tuesday’s performance -- and his performance in upcoming states like Arkansas, Kentucky and Oregon -- the earliest Romney could hit 1,144 is by the Texas primary, on May 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Gingrich Loses Big, Says He’ll ‘Look Realistically’ at Future

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.C.) -- Although Newt Gingrich lost the Delaware primary by an overwhelming 29 percent to Mitt Romney, the former speaker of the House still did not announce the suspension of his presidential campaign Tuesday night.

Gingrich, who simultaneously lost to Romney in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania on Tuesday, said earlier in the week that if he lost the winner-take-all state of Delaware -- where he focused his campaigning -- he would “reassess” his presidential bid. 

On Tuesday night, a more subdued and somber Gingrich told a small crowd in Concord, N.C., that while he still wants to take the conservative fight “all the way to Tampa” to the Republican National Convention, he also wants to be pragmatic.

“Over the next few days, we’re going to look realistically at where we are at,” he said.

Possibly hinting that he will be returning to regular life as a non-candidate, Gingrich told the crowd at Concord’s Vintage Motor Club that he wanted to stand together to defeat President Obama.

“So we want you to know that as citizens, we are going to be right there standing shoulder by shoulder with you and that as we think through about how we can best be effective citizens over the next week or two -- we are going to rely on you for help and you for advice,” Gingrich said.

One man shaking Gingrich’s hand on the rope line pleaded with him to stay in the race.

“I think there’s a point where we have to be realistic about what you can accomplish.  But as a citizen, I’m not … I’m going to stay at it,” Gingrich told the man.

Another telling sign the Gingrich campaign was possibly moving on Tuesday was that Callista Gingrich’s stump speech, which has not varied much since she began introducing her husband, left out a key component: she did not refer to him as “the next president of the United States.”

Gingrich told the crowd he wanted to be clear that he was going to continue to campaign in North Carolina as he evaluates his place in the GOP race.

“We have, I think, 23 events all together here in North Carolina this week.  We will be at 23 events here,” Gingrich said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr202012

Gingrich North Carolina Stops Called Off, Then On Again

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Newt Gingrich campaign found itself in a state of confusion Friday night when reports surfaced that  Gingrich would cancel all of his stops in North Carolina next week, fueling suggestions that Gingrich would be suspending his campaign.  But the campaign says nothing is happening.

Two people close to the Gingrich campaign told ABC News they were contacted and told all of Gingrich’s North Carolina stops had been canceled, although R.C. Hammond, communications director for the campaign, said there was a “communication glitch.”

“There was confusion, but we will maintain our North Carolina schedule next week,” Hammond said.

One person close to the campaign said the stops were certainly canceled, then resumed after news reports left looming suspicion, even among his own staff, that Gingrich was suspending his campaign.

On Friday, the vice chairman of the North Carolina Republican party told the Shelby Star that he was contacted and told a stop at a tavern in Kings Mountain, N.C. was canceled.

“We’re certainly disappointed in the Gingrich campaign and we’re disappointed he will not be visiting North Carolina,” King said to the Shelby Star.

Gingrich was also scheduled to visit a charter school next Wednesday where fourth graders planned to present him with an American history project, according to News Channel 36 in Charlotte.

“We are disappointed that the Gingrich camp has decided to cancel the entire N.C. tour,” said Lincoln Charter School Chief Administrator Dave Machado.  “We were looking forward to the opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of the LCS Community. It is unfortunate for our students and for that we are disappointed.”

Hammond denied the stops were resumed purely to extinguish speculation Gingrich was dropping out.

Gingrich will campaign in Delaware Saturday and will also campaign there Monday in a final push to pick up delegates. Hammond said Gingrich will not be dropping out any time soon, and certainly not before Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Romney Predicts GOP Takes Back North Carolina in November

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- With the site of the Democratic National Convention behind him, Mitt Romney Wednesday looked forward to this fall, predicting a win in the crucial state of North Carolina and previewing what he believes President Obama will and will not say to Americans when he accepts the Democratic nomination.

“I know the Democratic National Convention is going to be right behind us,” said Romney, pointing to the Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte, as the crowd booed. “I know the president’s going to do everything he can to get North Carolina in his column and that will not be enough because we’re going to win North Carolina in November.”

“I want to give you some thoughts about what’s going to happen there, a bit of a preview, if you will,” said Romney, who stood at a podium adorned with a sign reading, “Obama Isn’t Working.” “I predict that you will not hear a reprise of President Obama’s speech from four years ago in Denver. They will not be quoting it extensively. But because they won’t, I thought I would.”

And with that, Romney delivered a speech unlike his standard remarks, listing off the various things Obama said in 2008 and at times even reading word for word portions of Obama’s speech.

“At that time the president said, and I quote, ‘Democrats have a different measure of what constitutes progress,’ and then he went on to list specifically the things that Democrats feel constitute progress,” said Romney. “He said you measure progress by, quote, ‘How many people can find a job that pays the mortgage.’”

“Now, what you won’t hear at that convention is that for the last 38 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent, that we’ve had 24 million Americans that are out of work, stopped looking for work, or underemployed,” said Romney. “You won’t hear that since he gave that speech and became president that there have been 50,000 more job losses here in North Carolina, more than twice as many as would fit in that stadium.”

“You will not hear that 400,000 North Carolinians are out of work. You will not hear that 93 percent of the people who lost their jobs during the Obama years have been women,” he continued. “Those are things you will not hear, but as I’m the nominee for our party, I hope, I’m going make sure the people of America hear those things loud and clear.”

Romney’s speech Wednesday, dubbed by his campaign as a “prebuttal” to Obama’s convention speech still more than four months away, is the first major push from the Romney campaign in the battleground state North Carolina since becoming the presumptive nominee last week.

During the 2008 presidential election, then-Senator Obama successfully flipped the state from red to blue for the first time in more than 30 years, winning 50 percent of the vote, inching out Sen. John McCain’s 49 percent.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a conference call touted by the Obama re-election campaign earlier Wednesday, charging Romney as being unclear in his vision for America.

“What we have heard doesn’t sound good for a majority of Americans,” said Hagan. “As President Obama continues to fight for the middle class, strengthen our economy so that it’s built to last, and build on the 25 straight months of private sector job growth we’ve seen under the president, Mitt Romney will speak in Charlotte today and lay out his plans to return to the same failed policies of the past: tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations paid for with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, education, housing and initiatives to boost our economy for everyone else.”

On Thursday, Romney will continue to chase President Obama around the country: The candidate is scheduled to hold an event in Lorain, Ohio, the same city where the president delivered a speech Wednesday.

“Our campaign is going to go toe-to-toe and post up against the Obama machine every day to help get the message out that Mitt Romney will be able to deliver what this president could not -- and that’s a more prosperous America,” said Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Romney Says Even If You Like Obama, You Can’t Afford Him

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Mitt Romney appeared Wednesday to acknowledge a recent poll that found President Obama more likeable by warning a crowd in North Carolina that “even if we like” the president, Americans “can’t afford” his policies.

Romney’s nod to the issue of likeability came during a speech billed as a “prebuttal” to Obama’s speech that will be delivered at the Democratic National Convention later this fall.

“Even if you like Barack Obama, we can’t afford Barack Obama,” said Romney. “It’s time to get someone that will get this economy going and put the American people back to work with good jobs and rising income.”

An ABC News/Washington Post poll earlier this week found Romney trailing President Obama in personal popularity by 21 points, becoming the first presumptive nominee to be seen more unfavorably than favorably in the past 28 years.

The poll found that 35 percent of Americans see Romney favorably and 47 percent see him unfavorably. Fifty-six percent of Americans saw Obama favorably in the poll.

On Wednesday Romney urged voters not to “fall for the same lines” from the president, even suggesting that the public not be overly-trusting of the commander-in-chief.

“We’re a trusting people, we’re a hopeful people, but we’re not dumb,” said Romney.

“And we’re not going to fall for the same lines from the same person just because it’s in a different place,” said Romney. “We’re going to recognize that it’s time that we’ve learned who Barack Obama is and what he’s capable of doing, that he’s over his head and he’s swimming in the wrong direction. And we’re convinced that it’s time to get America working again.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr092012

Gingrich Talks Makeup with High Schoolers, Puts on a New Face About Nomination

ABC/Donna Svennevik(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Speaking to high school students in N.C., Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich put on a new face Monday when talking about his bid for the nomination, proving he knows a little bit about putting on makeup while trying to explain personalized health care to the group of 16- to 18 year-olds.

When asked by a student reporter what he thought about his chances at the nomination, Gingrich said, “I think it’s uphill. It’s a challenge. I think I have a shot at it, but it’s uphill.”

Gingrich recently changed his language when talking about winning the Republican nomination, no longer saying he was going all the way to convention. On Sunday, Gingrich said that Romney was the likely nominee.

“Well, I think you have to be realistic, given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he’s won. He is far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday.

But Gingrich attempted to walk back his comments from Sunday and earlier Monday, in an appearance on Hannity, reiterating “most likely, not certain, if he gets there....That got somehow translated almost instantly into something I didn’t say,” Gingrich said on Fox News Monday night.

Gingrich even suggested he write that he intends to stay in the race across his face.

“I’m thinking about getting it tattooed up here,” Gingrich said as he pointed to his forehead. “All the way to Tampa, OK?”

Gingrich said Democrats were fine with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fighting for the nomination until June.

“This panic-stricken, national establishment paranoia is just pure foolishness,” Gingrich said.

Hoping to win over some young voters, the former speaker of the House told the girl students in the audience at Broughton High School that he wanted to explain health care in terms of applying makeup, saying the guys would be confused, “most of them…” Gingrich said to laughter.

Gingrich told the students the more scientists knew about individuals, the more personalized heath care should be. Gingrich went into detail about skin tones and hair color, possibly taking tips from his wife, Callista Gingrich, who was campaigning alone in New York City.

“Think about it, if you’re going to go out on Friday and you’re going to put on makeup, each of you has a different skin tone and you have different hair color and you may want to create a different effect. If you’re going to church you probably wear one level of makeup, if you’re going out on a date, you may wear a different level of makeup. If you were going to be in a play up here, you may wear a different level of makeup and it would be literally unique to each one of you,” Gingrich said. “We’re going to be able to have very personalized medicine, just the way we have personalized makeup.”

Gingrich will continue to campaign in North Carolina Tuesday, visiting New Bern.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar172012

Obama Opposes N.C. Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Jim Watson/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — President Obama put himself on record on Friday as opposing a North Carolina ballot measure that would  forbid same-sex marriages in the state.

The move appeared to signal a new approach for Obama, who has previously said each state should decide for itself on the question of same-sex marriage, but avoided specific endorsement or condemnation of individual pieces of legislation.

“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” said Cameron French, Obama’s campaign spokesman for North Carolina.

“That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do. It would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples. And that’s why the president does not support it,” he said.

The ballot measure – Amendment One — was passed by the state legislature and would mandate that “marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  Advocates say the language also effectively bans civil unions and domestic partnerships, for which Obama has previously expressed support.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group and Obama ally, praised the outspokenness by the president ahead of the general election campaign in what is a key swing state.

“The president has made clear the importance of protecting all families,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in a statement. “Amendment One undermines basic human dignity and places families of all types at risk in North Carolina.”

Obama remains personally opposed to same-sex marriage, but is said to be “evolving” on the issue.

“I think it’s important for us to work through these issues because each community is going to be different, each state is going to be different,” he said in June after New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. Washington state recently became the seventh.

He had declined to specifically take a position on the issue as it was under debate in both New York and Washington.  The president has opposed the federal Defense of Marriage Act and opposes a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution.

Obama won North Carolina by the narrowest margin of any state in the 2008 election, and it’s expected to be more hotly contested in 2012. His supporters believe the same-sex marriage ballot measure in North Carolina may help mobilize Democratic voters to turn out in November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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