Election 2012
12:00 am
Fri August 17, 2012

The Week In Politics: Running Mates, Cut And Paste Ads, And The 'Charlotte Curse'

It's been a busy week in politics: Mitt Romney has finally chosen his running mate: Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. The Romney/Ryan kickoff bus tour stopped in Mooresville over the weekend. WFAE political analyst Michael Bitzer joined Duncan McFadyen to talk about all the focus North Carolina is getting in the campaign.

MCFADYEN: Let’s listen to something they [Rep. Ryan and Gov. Romney] said at that campaign stop:

REP. RYAN: We know what this country was built on; we understand its principles. Our rights…they come from nature and God, not from government…applause

GOV. ROMNEY: When the founders helped craft this country by writing the Declaration of Independence, they chose their words carefully; they said our right come not from government, but from our creator.


MCFADYEN: That was a theme we heard both of them campaigning on throughout the week. Who are they appealing to with those statements?

BITZER: This is a direct appeal to the Tea Party faction within the base of the Republican party. When you get words like “principles of our founding fathers” and the appeal towards “nature and God, not government” This is harkening back to exactly where the Tea Party believe our country has gotten off the track. And they want to return it to the founding principles, the basic beliefs of our governing system. And Romney and Ryan, and Ryan in particular with his speech being named as VP, really directly appealed to that group within the Republican base. This only to me signifies it’s a base election. Swing voters are going to be important, but if you can bump up your numbers among the base, these are the kind of appeals that are going to need to be made.

MCFADYEN: Now on the Democratic side, Vice President Joe Biden made stops in Durham and just across the border from North Carolina in Danville Virginia. And it was in Danville that he made comments that got a lot of media attention this week about how a Romney administration would regulate---or not---the banking industry.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: "He [Romney] said in the first 100 days he's going to let the big banks write their own rules...unchain wall street! (pause) They're going to put y'all back in chains."

BITZER: It was derided by the Republicans in terms of “well, you’re just bringing back slavery issues and racism.” It is kind of a common facet of what we’re seeing in this year’s campaigns. Words have meaning and particularly if the opposition can pull out a word or a phrase, they can spin it in a context. We saw this with the Erskine Bowles comments about Ryan. The Republicans pulled out a speech that Erskine Bowles made that he seemed to be praising Paul Ryan and his budget, but really he was making further comments attacking the Medicare component of t,. This is emblematic of I think what we’re going to see for the rest of the campaigns. It’s a splice and dice kind of campaign strategy. And we’re going to see cut and paste advertising unfortunately in our campaign ads.

MCFADYEN: In the North Carolina governor’s race, Democrat Walter Dalton was in Charlotte---sort of on Pat McCrory’s home turf---this week. He met with seniors, and he drew a contrast with McCrory on education. Meanwhile, McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, is trying to reach out to the rest of the state. He’s released a new ad talking about his connections to Jamestown and Salisbury. Let’s listen…

VOICEOVER: He was raised in Jamestown, grew up going to city council meetings with this dad…

Now the voiceover there has a pretty pronounced Southern accent…are we seeing the McCrory campaign trying to overcome what’s been called the Charlotte curse?

BITZER: Well I think certainly Pat McCrory is trying to overcome that Charlotte curse. And for the past 4 years, Pat has been out, particularly in rural area in North Carolina. Particularly down east along the I-95 corridor, an area that’s full of “Jessecrats” --- Southern conservative Democrats. And when you’re out in the rural areas, you’re probably going to adopt the language and the accent of those folks out there. And this is just the natural language of a candidate that’s trying to win statewide.