Jim Neal and the Politics of Innuendo

Like many here, I was very impressed with Jim Neal when he first announced he was going to run for the U.S. Senate and was flattered that he immediately reached out to BlueNC. I respected the way he handled the outing of his sexual orientation in the political arena and was fairly certain I had found my candidate.

Everything was fine until Kay Hagan reversed her decision to sit out the senate race. Many of us saw the hand of Chuck Shumer and the work of the DSCC trying to decide for North Carolinians who their senate candidate would be. We saw a Rahm Emanuel / Tami Duckworth situation looming in our future. We were quite angry.

Eventually, things quieted down and we enjoyed the blog posts being written by Neal volunteers. As far as I was concerned, I wasn't going to have to revisit this decision and could spend my time sizing up the rest of the races.

Several weeks ago I noticed a change in the Neal campaign. Instead of the positive campaign I had expected from Jim Neal, the campaign went negative, almost hostile. I first noticed it when Mark Binker blogged about it. I was a bit shocked, but too busy to look into the story behind the press releases, though I mentioned it in a comment at BlueNC.

Recently, it happened again. A couple of days before our scheduled live-blog with Kay Hagan, the Neal campaign accused Hagan of using her legislative influence to prevent other Democrats from supporting Jim Neal. Again, it was Mark Binker with the story, but Doug Clark who more clearly defined Neal's accusation. With the BlueNC Governors debate and Kay Hagan's live-blog approaching, I didn't have time to dissect what was going on.

That time has come.

The "Where's Kay?" Campaign

The first press release from the Neal campaign that I thought crossed the line came out on March 14. It was titled, "Where's Kay? State Senator Blows off Debates, Voters". It makes the following claims or accusations:

  • Kay Hagan ignored a debate invitation from the League of Women Voters and Public Radio East.
  • Kay Hagan has refused other "unscripted exchanges before the voters".
  • Kay Hagan has ignored a request from WTVD-TV for a debate.
  • This prompted an email from Judie Burke of the League of Women Voters to Andrew Kain, Jim Neal's campaign manager. In it she told him that Rob Christensen had been informed of the debate after his article on March 9 in the Raleigh News & Observer. In the email to Christensen, Burke listed those who had agreed to attend the debate and they included Hagan, Lassiter, Neal and Staley. She said that Mr. Williams had also been invited since he had recently filed to run.

    This exchange prompted another release from the Neal campaign on March 15. In this release the campaign makes the following claims or accusations.

  • Kay Hagan has made another public reversal of position.
  • Kay Hagan failed to meet the deadline to participate in the debate.
  • Kay Hagan came forward only after the Neal campaign made public that she had failed to inform Public Radio East she would be attending.
  • Kay Hagan has failed to respond to an invitation from WTVD-TV to debate her opponents.
  • The final press release in this series came in Neal's statement to the press the day of the debate. In this release, the Neal campaign makes the following claims or accusations:

  • WTVD-TV in Durham, WLTT in Wilmington, statewide African American Caucus and the Young Democrats of North Carolina have all offered to stage debates.
  • Kay Hagan only agreed to the League of Women Voters / Public Radio East debate after unilaterally changing the format.
  • The other senatorial candidates were excluded from the discussion about the format changes.
  • It's time to check some facts

    After speaking with folks involved in these events I have verified that the Neal campaign has been less than truthful.

    Here's what I learned:

  • Kay Hagan did NOT ignore the debate invitation from the League of Women Voters and Public Radio East.
  • Kay Hagan has NOT refused to face Neal in "unscripted exchanges before the voters" .
  • Kay Hagan has NOT ignored the request from WTVD-TV to schedule a debate.
  • Kay Hagan did NOT make another public reversal of position.
  • Kay Hagan did NOT fail to meet the deadline to participate in the League of Women Voters debate
  • Kay Hagan did NOT come forward and agree to the debate simply because the Neal campaign claimed she wasn't planning to debate.
  • Kay Hagan has NOT failed to respond to WTVD-TV's efforts to set up a debate.
  • Kay Hagan did NOT unilaterally change the format of the League of Women voters / Public Radio East debate
  • The other candidates for U.S. Senate had the same opportunity to offer format suggestions in developing the League of Women Voters debate.
  • WTVD-TV and the Alliance of Black Elected Officials have offered to host a debate and have contacted both parties.
  • WLTT and Young Democrats of North Carolina either have not offered to host debates, or have not set dates and formally sent invitations.
  • Almost every accusation or claim made by the Neal campaign is false or so distorted it doesn't resemble the truth. The following information from interviews I've conducted with principal participants tells a more accurate version of events.

    According to Judie Burke, President of the League of Women Voters the Hagan campaign had not ignored the invitation to debate or responded past the deadline. Also, with an email dated March 9 from Burke to Christensen listing Hagan as having accepted the invitation, it is obvious that Hagan's acceptance was not in response to the Neal campaign's March 14 accusation that she had ignored the invitation and it was not a public reversal.

    Burke also said that every candidate was given the chance to make format change requests. She said that the Hagan campaign made several suggestions, but the only one that was used was the request that the debate be 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes. Ms. Burke said the League discussed it and agreed that it made sense. However, she was adamant that every candidate was welcome to make requests or suggestions in regards to the debate format. In other words, Kay Hagan did not unilaterally change the debate format.

    I also checked with Megen George, the woman in charge of organizing the debate for Public Radio East. She is the news director, features producer and host for The Down East Journal. Megen said that while bringing the Hagan campaign on board took longer than the other candidates, the Hagan campaign did not miss any deadlines and did not ignore the request to debate. Megen said that once Colleen Flanagan was brought on board the Hagan campaign as Communications Director the process moved along more quickly. She also said that all the candidates wanted Kay Hagan to participate in the debate and that the Neal campaign would check in periodically. She said that the first press release came out several days after the Neal campaign had checked with her to see if Hagan was particpating. At the time of the phone call, Hagan had still not confirmed, but did so before the first press release was issued. The Neal campaign had not called back before publishing their release.

    It also isn't true that Hagan has avoided "unscripted exchanges before the voters". She's participated in numerous forums with Jim Neal including Think Tankers (Wake Forest), NC Association of Bankers, Charlotte/Meck Black Political Caucus and they will be at the Orange County Democratic Party forum.

    A forum the Hagan campaign missed was one sponsored by the Young Democrats of North Carolina that would have been held in Greensboro if a snow storm hadn't resulted in it being cancelled. Kay Hagan had a prior engagement that prevented her from attending that particular forum. In speaking with Zack Hawkins, President of Young Democrats of North Carolina, he indicated that Young Dems did schedule a forum that Senator Hagan could not fit in her schedule and if she had attended she would have arrived very late. He also indicated that Young Dems wanted to schedule two debates, but those have not been solidified and invitations have not gone out.

    WLTT radio - The Big Talker F.M. - out of Wilmington is home to conservative talk radio host, Curtis Wright. He interviewed Jim Neal on his radio talk show and his television show. At the time, the station was helping coordinate a gubernatorial debate but was having difficulty getting Richard Moore and Bev Perdue to participate. Wright casually floated the idea to Neal that if Moore and Perdue wouldn't participate maybe Hagan and Neal could take their places. Wright says he took the idea to the other participants and they felt it would not be fair to the gubernatorial candidate who had agreed to the debate, Retired USAF Colonel Dennis Nielsen. Wright and his producer Aimee Robbins both say the Hagan campaign was never contacted and the idea never went any further.

    There is a debate scheduled that will be hosted by the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials (not the statewide African American Caucus as is claimed on Neal's press release) and they are working out the details with WTVD-TV in Durham. I spoke with Mark Falgout from WTVD who said the Hagan campaign had not ignored the station's request to schedule a debate, but that they had first contacted the campaign in November and they are just now finalizing details.

    To be fair, I checked Kay Hagan's press releases during the time period the Neal releases were published. This release is the only one that mentions the debate. There are no negative attack releases coming out of the campaign directed at Jim Neal. The only releases coming from the Hagan camp that could be considered negative are directed at Elizabeth Dole.

    Embellished Endorsements

    In a post here at BlueNC, dancewater published the completed questionnaires for two of the candidates for U.S. Senate. Jim Neal was one of them. On the questionnaire he lists a group of endorsements. Here are just a few:

    List endorsements from organizations and/or individuals:
    Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
    E-Quality Giving
    CORRECTION: Blue NC DID NOT ENDORSE PER NEAL CAMPAIGN
    Pam’s House Blend
    Howie Klein, co-founder of the Blue America PAC
    David Salie, the director of the groundbreaking on-line fundraising operation
    John Ross Hendrix, a former candidate in the race
    James C. Hormel, Ambassador
    Hillary Rosen, a member of the Democratic National Committee
    Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator

    Almost immediately James and I noticed and posted about the erroneous BlueNC endorsement. The campaign contacted Progressive Dems and had that retracted. Then Pam Spaulding spoke up and said that Pam's House Blend also had not endorsed Jim Neal, though she was personally supporting him.

    Honest mistakes, right? Only here's the deal. In politics, when you are putting together a list of endorsements you double check to make sure that you can list that person or entity as an endorser. This isn't simply listing your supporters. An endorsement is more formal than a simple statement of support and is supposed to carry more weight and meaning.

    One of the more prominent people listed as an endorser, former Senator Bob Kerrey has said that he did not endorse Jim Neal. I spoke with Senator Kerrey last week. He said that Jim Neal is a good man and that he likes Jim. Kerrey, however refused to endorse Jim Neal when asked. According to Kerrey, he told Jim that he didn't know the other person running, but that he does not endorse in a primary. Kerrey was very clear about this when we spoke. As a matter of fact when he returned my call he responded to my greeting with, "This is Bob Kerrey. I hear I've endorsed Jim Neal." He sounded quite amused and I got the feeling I wasn't the first person to contact him about his "endorsement".

    There was one other item that jumped out on this questionnaire. Under the question about the candidate's relationship with labor there is this claim:

    Because this is my first run at elective office, I am not eligible for union endorsements, because based on the rules of the AFL-CIO I must have a public voting record to be considered for endorsement for the office of U.S. Senate.

    This is completely untrue. I spoke with James Andrews, President, North Carolina AFL-CIO and he said that while a legislative voting record will be considered if one exists, it is not necessary in order to apply or receive an endorsement from the group. He also mentioned a previous candidate for U.S. Senate who had no prior voting record and who received an endorsement. That man's name is John Edwards.

    Jim Neal Accuses Kay Hagan of using Legislative Influence to Intimidate Prospective Neal Supporters

    On March 23, Mark Binker wrote an article with this lede:

    RALEIGH — Kay Hagan's chief rival in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate has accused the state senator of using her status as a powerful and politically connected committee chairwoman to intimidate his potential supporters.

    The problem with Neal's accusation is that he does not back it up. He doesn't even come close. In the same article, Neal gives this description of his "proof":

    "There is an inside machine that is working very hard to lock down the money in the state," said Jim Neal, a Chapel Hill investment banker and Greensboro native. On the stump and in phone calls to potential donors, Neal has told audiences that potential supporters were being "muscled" by political operatives friendly to Hagan.

    "Someone will agree, 'Jim, I'll throw a fundraiser for you.' And then all of a sudden we won't hear from them for a while and the next thing you know, they're throwing a fundraiser for Kay (Hagan)," Neal said when asked to describe how this muscling worked.

    Basically, what Jim describes happens all the time in politics and it usually has nothing to do with anybody being forced to support one candidate over another. Usually, it has very much to do with the process of choosing a candidate you think can win.

    Last cycle few, if any, moneyed Democrats backed Larry Kissell in this state. He was an untested candidate, much like Jim Neal and they didn't think he could win. Big donors do not want to sink money into a candidate that they think has no chance of winning. It happens all the time.

    Doug Clark commented on Binker's article in his blog post on March 24.

    It initially sounded like whining from a little-known, first-time candidate who, not surprisingly, is having trouble raising money. Potential donors naturally would be skeptical about sinking money into the campaign of a guy who stands little chance of knocking off Elizabeth Dole, especially when the same potential donors are being hit up by better-known Democrats like Bev Perdue, Richard Moore and, yes, Kay Hagan, the party's leading Senate candidate.

    But Neal seems to be saying more.

    :::snip:::

    As in, "Support me and I'll return the favor through the legislative appropriations process"?

    Or, "Support Neal and I'll punish you through the legislative appropriations process"?

    There are words for that: Bribery and extortion.

    Doug's exactly right. If Neal is going to accuse Kay Hagan or her "operatives" of extortion then he had better be prepared to back those accusations up with some names or he had better be prepared to back down.

    I called Andrew Kain, Neal's campaign manager. I asked if they planned to give us any names to back up their accusations. He said the Binker article spelled it out accurately and that it wasn't in their best interest to expose the people who had gone back on their commitments to raise money for Neal. In the Binker article, Neal is not quoted as saying Kay Hagan is directly doing the arm twisting which makes me wonder why the campaign would sit idly by if Binker and Clark have misinterpreted what Neal is saying.

    Kain emphasized that they don't know who is doing it, but that there have been people who committed to support Neal or hold a fundraiser and then the campaign never heard from them again. He said they don't know if it's Hagan, the state party or the DSCC, but they know it is happening.

    I asked the Hagan campaign if Kay was involved in this in any way and they said she is not. I emailed Jerry Meek and asked if the state party was involved in any political arm twisting and I have not heard back. I also called the DSCC and spoke with Matt Miller the communications director and he said the DSCC is not trying to muscle people into supporting Hagan.

    That leaves us with some very serious allegations and no backup whatsoever, just some vague claim that they, "know it's happening".

    Conclusion

    In a political season where people have touted one presidential candidate over another because he represents a new kind of politics and where people openly embrace the "politics of hope", I can't believe a Democratic candidate would conduct his campaign in such a divisive style. It's especially hard to swallow since Jim Neal has worked hard to draw parallels between himself and Barack Obama. Personally, I don't see these parallels.

    Early on I had such high hopes. I expected negative campaigns from Perdue and Moore and expected dirty campaigning in the presidential primary. I didn't expect such ugliness from Jim Neal. I thought he was different. Apparently, I was wrong.

    The following were interviewed to verify information:

  • Judie Burke, President, League of Women Voters
  • Bob Kerrey, former senator and President of The New School in New York
  • Megen George, News Director - Features Producer and Host for The Down East Journal, Public Radio East
  • Mark Falgout, Special Projects, WTVD-TV - I'm sorry Mark, I didn't get your exact title
  • Zack Hawkins, President, Young Democrats of North Carolina
  • Aimee Robbins, Producer, The Big Talker at WLTT
  • Curtis Wright, Host, The Big Talker at WLTT
  • Andrew Kain, Campaign Manager, Jim Neal for Senate
  • Matt Miller, Communications Director, DSCC
  • James Andrews, President, North Carolina AFL-CIO
  • Comments

    This is one of those times when the truth hurts

    For those who will claim I'm smearing Jim Neal - a smear is what happens when you lie about someone. I verified everything I could before publishing.

    We can differ with Kay Hagan all we want on her legislative record - and she and I have some big differences, but this comes down to integrity for me.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    No, you are not smearing Neal

    And I would take exception to anyone who accuses you of it.

    Thanks for the exceptional work.

    I look to Neal's campaign to address the issues you raise.

    As for myself, I can only express my personal experiences with Hagan's campaign, which I have commented on elsewhere.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Thank you, Kosh

    I hope that they have answers and I hope that they are honest answers. I think Jim Neal is a good man who is being handled by the wrong consultants.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Open and honest -- it's all we ask for

    All the points laid out in Betsy's piece can and should be addressed by the Neal campaign with factual responses -- and we all need not ratchet the heat up in the room. In a season where I've watched too many politicians dodge or ignore specific queries on policy in order to play it safe and run the clock down, I appreciate open and honest discussions on the campaign tactics used by any pol.

    --
    Pam Spaulding
    Durham, NC USA

    Pam's House Blend
    www.pamshouseblend.com

    --
    Pam Spaulding
    Durham, NC USA

    Pam's House Blend
    www.pamshouseblend.com

    Thank you, Pam

    I hope there will be sincere retractions from the campaign. There is plenty of time to regroup and move forward with a more positive campaign.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Did you ever get an answer

    from Hagan about the questions you asked?

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    No response from Hagan's camp (yet)

    As I said at the end of my Dan Besse profile:

    The lack of response to repeated polite requests for follow up on these issues by me, other liveblog participants and journalists is disturbing. It unfortunately only reinforces the perception that constituent services will not be a priority for Hagan if elected, something North Carolinians are sorely already lacking with Elizabeth Dole in office. I would love to be wrong on this.

    --
    Pam Spaulding
    Durham, NC USA

    Pam's House Blend
    www.pamshouseblend.com

    --
    Pam Spaulding
    Durham, NC USA

    Pam's House Blend
    www.pamshouseblend.com

    Seems she is getting the same DLC advice

    Ignore bloggers, they are not important and don't know what they are talking about.

    This is stupid on so many levels.

    The truth of the matter is that most of these candidates know damned little about the issues they spout off on. They refuse to admit it, and ignore the facts when presented by the people who do.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    I have a few issues with this...

    Basically, what Jim describes happens all the time in politics and it usually has nothing to do with anybody being forced to support one candidate over another. Usually, it has very much to do with the process of choosing a candidate you think can win.

    Last cycle few, if any, moneyed Democrats backed Larry Kissell in this state. He was an untested candidate, much like Jim Neal and they didn't think he could win. Big donors do not want to sink money into a candidate that they think has no chance of winning. It happens all the time.

    Just because it happens all the time doesn't make it right.

    Doug's exactly right. If Neal is going to accuse Kay Hagan or her "operatives" of extortion then he had better be prepared to back those accusations up with some names or he had better be prepared to back down.

    Frankly, if you're looking to Doug Clark for guidance on the behavior of Democrats, you've already fell off the bus headed to truthland. You might as well just go straight to the Locker Room and be done with it.

    This isn't about that being right Steve

    This is about that NOT being extortion.

    I'm the one who said Neal needed to back up his accusations or back down. I simply agreed with Clark that Neal's accusations aren't casual but amount to something more serious. I do not rely on Doug Clark for guidance.

    Now, do you have anything substantive to say about the facts as they are presented or do you prefer to be petty and insulting?



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    That depends on what your definition

    of substantive is.

    Here's my problem: Doug Clark is a conservative columnist, who plays a damned clever game of sounding neutral and non-partisan.

    By him floating the word "extortion" out there (which is a serious crime), he gets to simultaneously malign both Hagan and Neal, so he wins both ways. Actually, he wins three ways, because he gets quoted and agreed with here at BlueNC.

    Well.....what Jim Neal describes

    - using legislative power to influence or intimidate people who might otherwise support him - describes extortion. I can't help it if Doug Clark said it before I could. If I claimed it as my own idea I would be accused of plagiarizing Doug by somebody here.

    Extortion is very serious which is why I think it is so very wrong for the Neal campaign to describe it with everything except the word "extortion" and leave it hanging out there as an accusation against Kay Hagan. If they are even going to hint at something that serious, they'd better be prepared to back it up.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    A very informative post, betsy....

    This will make my Senate primary vote more indecisive, along with the Governor position, which is also very confusing for me. Anyway, thanks for the great effort!

    Thanks denno

    I haven't been wanting to admit it to James.....but I moved a tick closer to voting for Bev Perdue. I'm still not there, yet and it had nothing to do with her positions or policies....it was simply that she has reached out to us a little more than Moore has. Not a real reason to vote for someone, but I think a real reason to take a closer look.

    So...I'm almost on the fence there.

    I ignore their ads so I don't get distracted from trusting my own judgment. Talk about innuendo! My goodness those two need a knot yanked in them.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Gutsy post

    I admire your willingness to take this on in a straightforward way. What's the BlueNC equivalent of an Yglesias award?

    I've waffled on this race so many times it's not funny. I guess I'll wait till the last minute.

    Thank you, Phoenixdem

    Not a fun post to write, actually.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    One point of contention.

    It also isn't true that Hagan has avoided "unscripted exchanges before the voters". She's participated in numerous forums with Jim Neal including Think Tankers (Wake Forest), NC Association of Bankers, Charlotte/Meck Black Political Caucus and they will be at the Orange County Democratic Party forum.

    Forums are not debates. At most, if not all forums, the candidates come out separately. I will be interested to read what response the campaign has about the rule changes to the last debate. My understanding was that the Neal campaign was happy with the rules the way they were and that the 60 minute change resulted in a 5 or 6 question max.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    This is true, but forums are unscripted exchanges

    Hagan has not declined to participate in any debates. The Neal campaign is calling a forum a debate (The Young Democrats event was a forum, not a debate) Hagan has not ignored ANY debate invitations.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    "forums are unscripted exchanges..."

    between candidate and audience. But, not between candidates, usually. I don't consider it a debate unless the candidates can stand on the stage at the same time, rebut each other's answers and ask questions of the other candidates.

    That said, I am looking forward to clarification on this issue.

    Thanks for the post.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    There were 7 questions

    Judie Burke said that every campaign had the opportunity to make suggestions as to format, but it was up to the League of Women Voters (and possibly Public Radio East) to make the final decision.

    The Neal campaign's accusation is completely untrue and that's the important point I'm trying to make. If they had a problem with the debate format it should have been taken up with the appropriate powers at the appropriate time.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Yes, you are smearing Neal

    No, you are not smearing Neal*Kosh

    I'm the one who said Neal needed to back up his accusations or back down. I simply agreed with Clark that Neal's accusations aren't casual but amount to something more serious. I do not rely on Doug Clark for guidance* BM

    Sure you do! Why are you quoting that idiot [ Doug Clark]Republican establishment conservative in drag for Art Pope? With 4 weeks to go in a campaign, your Hagan supporting timing couldn't have been better?

    Nice establishment hit piece! One great thing about Neal! He sticks to the Bill of Rights and Consitutional principles! Can you say that about Hagan? I doubt it from what most of us have seen!

    I am VERY anti-Hagan

    And Betsy has done her homework.

    She has called the relevant people about the relevant questions and gotten the answers. The issue is the validity of what answers she has gotten.

    If you think she has lied, or distorted the answers to these questions, then get on the phone, talk to these people and provide a rebuttal.

    I was taken aback by the post, and am still digesting it. I don't see this as an "establishment hit piece", but as a well researched post which took guts to write.

    I will back Neal, but I prefer to be proud of doing so. If we don't listen to our critics when they make valid arguments, worse, if we ATTACK our critics for following their conscience, then we are no better than the conservatives.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Thoughts on the Neal Hit piece?

    I don't see this as an "establishment hit piece", but as a well researched post which took guts to write.*Kosh

    Sure it is! If I were Liddy Dole high price consultant, I would be clocking this piece into the opposition research file on Neal for future reference should he do the impossible and beat the 2nd team hand pick democrat establishment candiate. In fact, I am sure Team Dole has already done this and laughing their butte off at this little in house disagreedment. I can see the Dole red meat republican attack in the fall should Mr Neal pull it off.

    " Leading Democrat Blogger says Neal is unethical"

    " Leading Democrat Blogger says Neal is unethical"

    Huh?

    Sorry, I find that amusing. The GOP can't bash bloggers all over creation, then claim their respectable in the same breath.

    By calling this "an establishment hit piece" you are insinuating that the NC Machine pair/ordered Betsy to write this.

    That is just ridiculous. Having been in Betsy's shoes in the past and been accused of consorting with all sorts of unsavory elements when my opinions ran contrary to the conventional wisdom of a sub-group, I understand how OFFENSIVE that can be.

    You can argue all sorts of points in criticizing the post, but let's stick to the facts. If her claims are incorrect, how are they incorrect? Implying she's a tool just because you don't like what she wrote isn't what I consider a convincing argument.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    This seems like a good piece, Betsy.

    I haven't had time to check out all your links, but knowing you, they've been very carefully chosen to prove your point. I don't doubt that you're not smearing Neal. Nor do I doubt that I could careful choose facts and do a hit piece on Hagan if I had the time. But my job keeps me busy, so I don't have time for all that research.

    Oddly, this doesn't change my support of Neal - a man who I can call on the phone to ask questions and get the candidate himself to answer them, instead of sending multiple emails to the communications director (3) on the same issue and not receiving a response - even though the issue was already raised in a forum here on BlueNC.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    Think links weren't chosen to prove my point, Linda

    They are links to articles referenced -- many of them are posts here on BlueNC. They are links to Jim Neal's press releases. I interviewed people that were mentioned in Jim Neal's press releases. I interviewed every entity or person I could and I didn't make up the people to interview. I didn't carefully choose facts and I don't appreciate your implication that I did.

    You can be as ugly to me as you want to, but that won't change the facts written above.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    No one is doubting your facts, but

    Linda is right that someone with time could do the same thing to Hagan. They could make a big deal about her FEC filing problems, they could dissect every word she wrote her and mention how she was misleading about her record, etc.

    You've posted a major attack against a Democratic candidate based largely on the fact that they had someone fill out a questionnaire poorly, that they claim to have friends receiving pressure from pro-Hagan sources and don't want to out them, and that they have a different take on what happened during the debate fiasco. I want to hear their responses to all these things, but most of it is much ado about nothing.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    Oh, and since we know you are responsible for the header

    at BlueNC, most of us are wondering why the Gubernatorial debate that received such positive press was pulled down in a day but Kay Hagan's glossy has graced the front of BlueNC for over a week.

    That and your "blogger love" comment about Jim Neal makes it pretty clear that you are now supporting Kay Hagan.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    Uh, no

    It does not mean that. It means she has questions which bear addressing by Neal.

    As I said earlier, I support Neal, and will vote for him. But I would like to do it head held high.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    The gubernatorial debate was moved down to the lower right block

    It was not pulled down in a day. I believe it was up for 3 or 4 days. We had the debate and 2 live blogs in a four day period. Hamby's and Hagan's live-blogs stayed up b/c there was nothing to fill those slots. The presidential primary piece being posted in block #1 is why all the features shifted a spot. I haven't written anything that's been featured in a long time. I've made a conscious effort to promote work by other community members in spot #1. I worked hard on that piece and wanted to put it up there. I hope to have a graphci for the debate and all live-blogs that can be on the left sidebar instead of block #3, but that's what I have to work with right now.

    Um....I was included in the "blogger love" comment as I was certainly enamored with Neal's grace in a difficult situation, his willingness to stick his neck out to begin with and he just came across as such a great guy. If you compare the live-blogs we went easy on Jim Neal. He left a lot of questions unanswered. Kay Hagan was clearly held to a much higher standard last week. You might not like the fact that I pointed it out the way I did, but it doesn't change the fact that Jim Neal was treated with kid gloves.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    perhaps

    He was treated with "kid gloves" because of his willingness to be open. He came out easily on the live-blog, and he's not the only candidate to leave unanswered questions. The only one I've seen conscientiously coming back to answer after the live debate is over is Diane Hambly (good for you, Diane).

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    Kay Hagan was NOT held to a much higher standard.

    Kay Hagan was asked questions about poor decisions the Senate has made and avoided most of those questions.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    Kay Hagan answered far more questions than most people in

    the hour she was given and then raked over the coals for not answering more. Yes, she was held to a higher standard.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Quality, not quantity. Straight-answers, not talking points.

    She didn't address back-room Senate bills, Senate Bill 3's give-aways to big energy, or cutting medicaid to blind, elderly people in favor of tax cuts for the rich.

    That is a low, low, low, standard.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    Voting Record

    Completely agreed, Robert. There was very little questioning about her Senate voting record.

    Very little answering to her voting record.

    One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
    -me

    For what it is worth

    As one of Hagan's main critics, I think she was fine answering the questions in the time alloted. I concentrated on the questions she didn't answer, despite being posted after a question asked.

    :)

    I think there are ways to address the whole how to handle questions issue, but that is another post.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Perdue came back

    And answered three our four questions that didn't get handled during the debate. That's a rare occurrence for any candidate, but I hope it's a practice that will take root and grow. Kay's always welcome to come back and deal with unanswered issues.

    That said, the beauty of the interTubes is exactly this "long tail" of conversations. If truth eventually comes out through the dialectic of exchange, rebuttal, argument, etc., the more we can have authentic discussions, the better.

    Yeah, I saw that

    And chucked a question back to her, which it will be interesting to see if she addresses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Actually may be more

    justing answered a few while she was traveling. I think she gets that this is more than just a blog. This is a hub for activists.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Betsy -

    If you think this is me being ugly, you'd better hit your reset button. I'm merely pointing out that you took a lot of time putting together one side of the story. I see only one contact with the Neal Campaign in your sources, and no contact with Jim Neal himself. Jim is one of the most accessible candidates I've run into, and I think it would have been imperative to talk to him before you posted this piece. From what I can see, you chose not to.

    And - all I said was that if I had the time, I could easily do a hit piece on Kay Hagan, she's got a record a lot longer than Jim Neal's and has figuratively danced with more devils to get to where she's gotten. Politics is compromise, it has to be. But I don't have time; I work more than 40 hours a week outside my home, I am a party officer in my county party, and that's starting to really take time, and I have a son who has asked me, specifically for more of my time. So. I don't have to time to take on Hagan.

    If you think this was ugliness directed at you, I suggest you have an over developed sense of your own importance in the scheme of things. Take a step back. You do a lot of wonderful work for BlueNC. It's not all about you. Just take a step back and breath. Not everything I say is directed at you. I promise, if I'm going to be ugly to you, I will let you know that it's directed at you, personally.

    You had to expect some backlash for this piece, didn't you?

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    Where to begin.....

    Where to begin.....

    First - This piece is about the campaign - more campaign management stuff - than Neal's personal integrity. I interviewed the man running the campaign - Andrew Kain. I interviewed 10 sources and all were sources gathered from information from the Neal campaign's press releases. Well, Jerry Meek and Matt Miller were emailed or called after I interviewed Andrew Kain. If I thought Jim Neal was personally responsible for the lies coming out of his campaign I would have interviewed him as well.

    That wasn't all you said, Linda.

    I haven't had time to check out all your links, but knowing you, they've been very carefully chosen to prove your point.

    I'm having a hard time reading that any way but to mean I only link to sources that support me and ignore those that refute my position. That is the ugliness I was referring to.

    I do not need to take a step back or take any deep breaths. I have never said that this site is all about me. I didn't assume you directed anything at me other than the actual comment you addressed to me....or was there another Betsy you mean that comment for? I've never once claimed or pretended that everything you said is directed at me. Why you would say that is beyond me.

    Now....if you weren't being ugly to me...why are you referring to it as "backlash"?



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    It wasn't ugliness. That's all.

    It's not ugliness. It's backlash. You wrote a piece about a candidate that you know is a favorite of many here. It's not personal. Stop taking it that way. Get over yourself.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    Right....BetsyNC

    right

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    If I may . . .

    I think you're reading Linda's comment the wrong way.

    I believe she's suggesting that every campaign could be blasted for stretching the truth beyond recognition. All one need to is look at the "fact-checking" the N&O does for the Moore and Perdue campaigns. Simply put, far too many campaigns use deception and lies, especially about opponents. Sad, but true. I think Linda's just wondering why you chose to focus so intensely on Neal's transgressions, which you're under no obligation to explain.

    If someone wants to do the same for Moore or Perdue or Hagan or Clinton, they should. As they say in corporate communications, the person standing at the white board with a marker usually wins.

    Linda could probably have said what she meant more clearly, but I don't believe she's accusing you of cherry-picking links, per se. More like cherry-picking whom to dissect.

    thanks, James.

    You're right.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    But...

    Certainly Betsy can speak for herself, but it seems like the answer to this:

    I think Linda's just wondering why you chose to focus so intensely on Neal's transgressions, which you're under no obligation to explain.

    ...is pretty apparent. Aren't there enough people on BlueNC focusing on Hagan's transgressions (Kosh's post-mortems of the Hagan liveblog, for example)? Betsy can certainly correct me if I'm wrong, but the message I took away from this post was we all need to take a step back and make sure we're holding all the candidates to the same standard.

    ----
    There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

    ----
    There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

    Good advice

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Pages