(Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.)
North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal was liveblogging over at Firedoglake this afternoon to discuss the Blue America endorsement. I contributed in the comments as well. The session was moderated by Blue America blogger Howie Klein, who asked Jim how he differed from his opponent, State Senator Kay Hagan. His answer is after the jump.
The differences are pretty stark. There were only 4 instances that I know of where we have both responded to specific questions about issues at the federal level. First, we were both asked by the Raleigh News & Observer whether or not we would have voted for the appointment of Judge Mukasey as Attorney General. My opponent's response was that she didn't know... she wasn't in the Senate and didn't have access to the testimony... it wouldn't be appropriate for her to comment... and so on. My response was 'Hell, no!' I wouldn't support anybody who has to parse words about whether or not water-boarding is torture.
Another instance was when just recently, within the past 10 days, she announced that she favored retroactive immunity for Telecoms that had committed felony violations of the FISA law. I do not.
Third, she indicated that she is in favor of expansion of S-CHIP but not if it taxes tobacco companies. It was exactly what Senator Dole said when voting to uphold President Bush's veto. [Note: this was the same position several reactionary Democrats took in the debate-- all of whom eventually backed away from it except Georgia's Jim Marshall. Blue America helped convince North Carolina's Mike McIntyre and Bob Etheridge it wasn't a proper position for Democrats.]
(Left: with NC Dem Party chair Jerry Meek).
In addition she explained her vote in the state senate to lower income tax rates on the wealthiest North Carolinians by saying that if we hadn't lowered income tax rates on the wealthiest they would have moved out of state and we would have... lost them as part of the tax base. It made me wonder if she gets to Washington she will vote to grant an extension to the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest people out fear that the richest Americans will move to the Cayman Islands. It struck me as somewhat nonsensical. Those are four very specific, very tangible points that will help people see the contrast between the two of us. Fundamentally, there's very little difference between her and Senator Dole. That's why she won't be able to beat Senator Dole. And that's why I will; I contrast so much with the Senator. The stances I'm taking are going to appeal to the Democratic base, to progressives, to young people who are turning out in record numbers, to the African-American community who is also turning out in record numbers and they're going to appeal to independent, unaffiliated voters. 70% of those voters in North Carolina are Democrats just looking for a reason to vote for a Democrat. And that's how I'm going to win.
Howie also noted:
Polling shows a dead heat in primary, although Hagan, as co-chair of the state Senate's Appropriations Committee, is able to depend on the big institutional money from political insiders and lobbyists. Jim is depending on the grassroots to help him get out his message, a message that shows the stark contrasts between himself and Dole and Hagan. Please consider making a donation to his campaign through the Blue America ActBlue page.
Jim covered a wide range of issues during the live blog, and a lot of people who were introduced to him there opened their wallets and contributed to the campaign. You can read the whole liveblog here.