Jim Neal is not waiting to start speaking truth to power.

When I give people my own version of the Jim Neal elevator pitch, it begins like this:

"What I like about Jim Neal is that he's got guts. These are tough times and with Jim as our Senator, we won't have to worry that he'll be afraid to talk tough when the moment calls for it."

I've been fortunate to be there with a camera at least twice when Jim Neal has done just that. I've heard him say "Hell no!" to Blackwater and yesterday I saw him stand up to an old Democratic warhorse and remind James Carville that "We have primaries here in North Carolina, James...not coronations."

Jim Neal
(Here's the Dome's coverage of the event, for which I was a primary source.)

Carville had just finished signing autographs and standing for pictures. He was being shuffled out to give his speech to the Young Democrats of North Carolina's luncheon audience but he paused to offer some closing remarks to the attendees of this closed reception.

He remarked how important the NC Senate race was to the national Democratic party and how much attention was being paid to it. He told us that we had a great candidate, he'd just met her and that she...

The feminine pronoun hung in the air for a moment as the Ragin' Cajun searched for the name...

I got this shot just as Jim Neal's strong, steady voice filled the room (and that hole in Carville's memory?):

"I'm Jim Neal and I'm running for Senate."


AP photogs eat your heart out

Frank, how come you didn't go into journalism?

Too many rules

And I lack the discipline to obey the protocol as well as the ability to think linearly. My mind is a circus and I don't like being fair to jerks. The fact is, I'd be a terrible journalist.

I owe my life to a couple of AP journalists, by the way. After I'd screwed around where I shouldn't have and got myself picked up by a gang in Port au Prince, Haiti, it was the AP's man in PAuP and his fixer who negotiated my release through a rival gang leader.

What did the AP reporter get for facilitating the negotiations? For violating journalistic protocol?

He got fired.

Damn man, that's terrible for the AP guy.

Well, at least the internet gives you the chance to be a citizen journalist among other things.

Well, the old boy network really wants to coronate her.

Anyone else heard the rumors of people being financially threatened if they donate/fundraise for Neal?

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.

The Talking Points are being aggressively disseminated

I was invited to a fundraiser meet and greet with Kay Hagan last week here in Winston-Salem at the spacious new downtown loft of an octagenarian baziillionaire buddy of mine. The guy called me personally and here's the content of the conversation:

Bazillionaire: "I'm having Kay Hagan in to my downtown abode this afternoon and I'd like you to come meet her. I think the sort of people who usually come to these things are the usual Buena Vista crowd (ie: other Winston-Salem bazillionaires) and I'd like her to meet some of my downtown friends (ie: voters under seventy-five)."

Me: "Well, you know that I'm pretty actively supporting Jim Neal in that race."

Bazillionaire: "Oh yes. You know, the other day when you were telling me about him I didn't realize you were talking about the gay fellow. Frank, he just can't get elected in North Carolina."

It pains me to type that out and perpetuate the Hagan campaign "whisper pitch" talking points in print, but that's what the money people I've spoken to have uniformly spit out.

Oh, and Kay Hagan was definitely NOT interested in meeting me and my seven year old son. We dropped in to the meet and greet and as the only non-bazillionaires there, received the requisite 5 seconds of face time with the state senator.