Liveblogging the LG Debate Part II

Round II - First Question - What would you do to alleviate poverty in this state?

Smathers - two things are related to poverty - Education and Jobs. We've talked about jobs already. Education: for too long we have become Raleigh centric in our thinking about Education. Schools need to be accountable to our communities. That's right, but folks, we need to have communities accountable to our schools. Do you have an education foundation? Are you providing supplements to draw teachers.

We don't need quick fixes fom Raleigh. School problems are called by lack of stability in home, lack of income, and lack of parental involvement in education.

Raising school ages won't solve that problem. (Direct shot at Dellinger).

Dellinger - education key in the long term. But we need to continue to raise minimum wage, expand EITC, pay the living wage at state level and press contractors to do so. Serious issue with home foreclosures. Need to turn to banks and ask them to do their part. Targeted and temporary tax relief to deal with revaluations going up while home values actually dropping.

Serious problem also with student debt. College students in North Carolina were promised an education as free as practicable. We have to make good on that promise.

Healthcare - higher quality and lower prices.

Child care subsidy wait list must be worked through.

No disagreement about education being a priority. TIME

Dalton - I believe in a bubble up economy. Build prosperity. Educational opportunity is key.

Always fought for full funding of education (said asomething about a specific policy - I missed it, sorry)

Learn and Earn program - I led that charge.

I led the floor fight against the Republicans to get a minimum wage increase and to index it.

Need to expand home protection pilot that I put in place.

Besse - One of the things you learn from working outside of Raleigh beltway is that there are serious problems that people dont want to talk about. Too many of our young people are being sent to prison, and when they come back nothing is done to reintegrate them. Must boost reentry programs.

Better job with job training and development in rural counties through regionally based ED.



QUESTION FIVE - How will you appeal to all North Carolinians after a primary that is running to the left?

Smathers - I dont think it is running to the left. These are traditional values. If we empower local goverment to deal with these issues to free up our state government to deal with statewide issues like court system, universities, mental health. Let local take care of the environment, home, etc. That's not liberal, that's good government.

(Ed. Note - not sure I agree the environment is best protected at local level. Jobs jobs jobs tends to drive local issues)

Dellinger - a majority of North Carolinians support Roe v. Wade, opposed new coal power plants, support fairness and equality. Even if I am wrong, although I dont think I am, people will overlook disagreeing with a candidate if that candidate has core values and is consistent and not trying to be on both sides of an issue.

I think voters will appreciate my consistency and my record. I know they'll appreciate my plans and proposals. Like my senior program that the Wilmington Star praised as the best plan available.

Also need to know which person has the experience to be a heartbeat away from the governorship. I know that none of the Republicans have worked in the Executive branch the way I have.

Dalton - I'll run it the way I have run and won six senate elections. They know I am not an idealogue. I work with others. Common sense and good judgment.

They know I have worked across party lines to expand educational opprtunity (like the science and technology project here at FSU) (Ed Note - THIRD MENTION OF THIS, SENATOR, MOVE ALONG)

They have seen me work and they know my record. That's why I have been successful for six terms. It is critical that Democrats continue to hold the Lt. Gov seat. I am the only one here with experience making laws to move NC forward. I will keep Dems in power.

Besse - Pat's right. We're not running to the left. But by the time the right wing smear machine gets done with us, you own't recognize us. So you have to be able to compete and win and show the voters that we have a personal public record to refute reidiculous charges. Real world hands on experience outside of Raleigh. If you don't have that experience the smears will work. i have that experience. Moderate record on taxes. opposed property tax increases and flat rate charges. I have experience in culturally conservative rural eastern NC. I have proven it. I have been elected and reelected as a progressive in a Republican leaning area.

END OF FIRST HOUR. 10 minute intermission. I'll keep going on this post.

At this point it is pretty clear that all the candidates are well prepared for tonight. Dellinger has definitely gotten under Dalton's skin, and it is showing in Dalton's testiness in his early responses. Hard to believe he didn't expect to have his record picked apart. But it seems he didn't.

I think Besse is doing well, though his comment about supporting the Navy when they get here should go over like a lead balloon in Eastern NC.

Smathers has been funny and consistent, but as expressed above, I have serious doubts that local government can do everything he wants it to. And if it can, why run for statewide office?

Hampton has been consistent and aggressive without being overbearing. His point that Democrats can get elected being Democrats is very important. You can run on solid Democratic issues as long as you are consistent. And he is. He also had a very good point that Roe v. Wade is being undermined in the Supreme Court and will likely return to the state level. You want a consistent proponent of a woman's reproductive rights to be in the second highest policy making position in the State government. People don't mind disagreeing with you if they know where you stand on important issues - they want honesty and consistency.


PART III -- They've asked the candidates to hide their notes. Clean notepads only.

Audience questions now.

QUESTION ONE - from William Mung of Fayetteville - What do you see as the biggest challenge in NC and how would you address it?

Besse - Has to be exploding growth. 9 million to 12 million in 30 years. moving South Carolina to North Carolina in 30 years. Will exacerbate every problem. Accellerate land loss, water resource problems. Education needs. More stress on equity.

Need to be smart about how we meet these challenges.

Dalton - Excellent answer. I agree. Exacerbates everything. Wake County growing at 50,000 ppl per year, Mecklenburg is the same.

Also, adjusting to the global economy. More children will take the SAT in Beijing next year than in the US. India and China graduating more engineers.

I think we are preparing for that. Mentioned the science and technology center again. Need to build this out to rural areas.

Good news is we are attractive. Great education system. TIME

Dellinger - challenge is what I mentioned in my opening. We have done an amazing thing becoming a great state for business. Challenge is to extend that across the board. We do that and it comes back to the economy. Money magazine mentioned our health care system as a strength. Governor worries about the next day. The Lt. Gov has time to worry about the long view. When it gets down to it, you have to be on the side of the folks the Democratic party has always represented. have to ask the folks who do well to do more. In the toughest budget we have faced in my lifetime in 2001. I believe we needed to ask the wealthy to do more, not cut education. There's a difference here on that. Glad I prevailed.

Smathers - I agree. That;s the issue - growth. How do we deal with it? Local leadership statewide. It;s your teachers and local boards addressing these issues. Have to empower them. Leave statewide issues to Raleigh. Repeats list of state issues. Give power to the communities.

Issue isn;t the problem, it's what to do to fix it.
When my town was destroyed I was there. I've dealt with real problems. It's real life. Not just talk.


Update in comments DFL.

I can't wait to see the video of this, thanks for keeping us up to date.

Why is everyone leaving?

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.

ok i will go to comments - drought question

Smathers - Who runs the water systems????? Local governments. THis is what I am talking about. issues of drought will be addressed on local levels. You can't resolve water supply issues in Raleigh.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Cant solve this by privatizing core government functions. Water belongs to the people. Government has lost its control over limited natural resources. We've moved it to the private sector. That;s why utilities issues are so important. Different kinds of utilities used vastly different amounts of water. Look at Alcoa. Have to deal with thse resource issues on a statewide level. Encourage communicatioin between communities and between states. Have to work together to preserve water.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


We do need local effort, but need a 30000 foot effort as well. Need to encourage regionalism and working with states. Water doesnt respect borders.

Supported clean water management trust fund. It has some effect. Increased funding for rural center in NC that gives grants to local governments for technology and rural development.

Water will be a key key asset in the future. As we see with the drought. We have to plan more comprehensively.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Two issues - water quality and water resources.

Have to have real experience.

Cleaning up groundwater contamination is going to cosst a fortune and we'll haveto ask taxpayers to pay it.

Solve that by not polluting it in the first place. Have to hold poluters acountable.

On resources - helped deal with contest over scarce resources. Fayetteville is worried about Cary and Durham taking water out of the cape Fear. The state guidelines in legislation are insufficient.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Next question - minimum wage

Raising minimum wage is inflationary. Locks minorities out of jobs. What other ideas do you have?

Besse - question is dead wrong. We did not raise it enough over too long a period of time. Need to keep up and ahead of inflation. The shame in our country is that as needs go unmet, we have leaders in Washington and Raleigh who want to cut taxes on the wealthiest. That is unconscionable. Need to look out for the least of us.

Dalton - Look at the perspective on when we took that bill up. Minimum wage ws not a living wage. Senator Smith in the debate said we don't need to subsidize the minimum wage. I took to the floor and challenged him. I asked him if he depreciates his machinery, defers income, etc. Who is getting the subsidy? These people we're talking about don't have 401ks, they dont have equipment. To raise the minumum wage was the right thing to do.

Need to increase opportunity so people can earn more than the minimum wage. That was the right thing to do.

Dellinger - I agree with that answer. But also agree with the questioner that too many minorities are locked ou or locked up. INequities there that too many people are afraid to talk about. I have been committed throughout my career to addressing discrimination. When we see gross underrepresentation, we have an affirmative obligation to do something and make sure that past discrimination is not creating a present barrier. I will do that. Should make minimum wage a living wage, but have to talk about disparity.

Smathers - absolutely wrong to talk about doing away with minimum wage. BUt it's clear that nobody can actually liuve on a minimum wage. Have to deal with poverty in a realistic way through education, making communities responsible. In Canton, in the mid 90s they were going to shut down the paper mill. The community bought the mill and preserved it. Sold it last year to another company. Communities can raise their own level of living.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Closing arguments

Here we go with closings. Reverse order. Smathers, Besse, Dalton, Dellinger.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Let's talk about the office.

It's not legislative, though you deal with the GA.

It is not executive, though you deal with the Governor.

It is not administrative, though you deal with the bureaucracy.

It is not a think tank.

It is a LEADERSHIP position.

There are intangibles there. What is your compassion, your fortitude, your interpersonal skills. Can you inspire? Those are leadership skills.

Has to be proven. Look at the four of us. I submit to you that the length and breadth of my experience as a mayor, on commissions, working with school boards, will lead you to vote for me as your number two leader.

A year from now, we'll have an inauguration. I may not have all your addresses. But I'm inviting you to raleigh to the inauguration. Inaugurate a new way of thinking for Raleigh - every law passed, every adminstrative decision has to and should go through a prism - is this in the best interest of the people?

That's who I care about.

Not about money. It's about the people.

Not about power. It's about the people.

Not about a career. It's about the people.

Thank you.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Four capable people with different experience.

What kind do you want?

I have hands on experience of dealing with growth in cities and poverty in rural areas. Today I deal with transportation, loss of forest and farm land.

Also spent a decade working with the poor in our most rural area.

Commitment to shrinking education gap. Commitment to health care for all. Stewardship of resources -- drougt, land loss. Active cooperation for smart planning.

Clean energy future in our state and working with other states to deal with runaway train of climate change.

Willing and able to tell business lobbies what they need to hear, not what they want. Can;t sway with every lobbying wind of every special interest.

Can't afford to keep feeding the revolving door between corporate law and high public office. Conflicts of interest.

2008 is a change year. Question is what kind? What leaders? Who will they represent. My only clients will be the people. Workshoes not wingtips.

Ask for the chance to represent the people of NC. Thank you.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Proud of my record. Proud of what we have done.

Some will comb through those votes and distort them. But look at my record. Improving health care, transitioning our economy.

Today you have heard about the issues. You must decide who will lead us to the future. Who has the knowledge, experience and ability to lead us to stronger economy, better education, better healthcare.

Ask you to analyze that and support me.

I promise our best days are ahead of us, not behind us.

Very easy to make promises, far more difficult to lead. I have delivered.

I promised to improve education. We have done that. need to do more - attack dropout rate, more tech in classroom, vocational ed. Championed learn and earn program. Will give thousands of students to go to college debt free.

Promise to improve healthcare. CHIP. Must be expanded. High risk pool was passed. We provided a senior drug benefit.

(Ed. Note - interesting selective reading of his senate record. No discussion of proposed budget cuts).

Home protection pilot program. Brought banks to the table. I brought that bill forward. Need to expand it in today's market.

Rebuilding economy with investments in colleges and community colleges, military contractors.

500,000 acres in public park system since I joined the Senate.

I have six terms of experience. Want to use that experience to be your voice.

Ask for your support.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


Takes microphone from his seat, not the podium.

Politics matters.

Think of 2000 - because of politics we lost two seats on the Supreme Court.

Think of New Orleans - because of politics, thousands died.

Think of Iraq - because of politics, we have spent billions promoting war instead of peace., this community has been stressed.

If we can send a Democrat to the US Senate, and elect a Democratic president. Think of what we can do. I promise to do everything I can for the Democratic ticket. And I promise if you elect me NC Number 2, I will do everything I can to help North Carolina forward.

Enormous respect for all my opponents. But I also don't think there is anything wrong with comparing records. I have not distorted your record, Mr. Dalton. You just have different positions than I do. You supported two new coal fired power plants. I didn't. We disagree.

Think about the Lt. Governor. You are a heartbeat away. You aren't there in local office. You aren;t there in the legislature. There is no better training for that than working beside the governor day in and day out.

Talks of support of John Hope Franklin. He is important to this community and this institution and I am honored to have his support. I ask you for yours.

Thank you.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Gotta go folks.

This was a very good event.

Dellinger drew clear distinctions. All four stuck to their messages. A very worthwhile evening.

Even if only 20 people left here now.

Talk to y'all later.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Very nice DFL. Thanks so much.

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.

Wonderful job, Dr. Frank.

You have scooped the press on every front . . . and provided a marvelous service to all of us. Thank you thank you thank you.

You were even-handed, fair, amazingly focused, and clear.

Now. What did you REALLY think!?!

yeah, that's nice

I'm still waiting for Dellinger to answer my question.

I don't think it's complicated.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

what question?

I'm in the car with him. What do you want to ask?

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

that's service.

impressive, DFL. impressive.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thanks, DrFrankLives

You did an awesome job. I could really get a feel for the tone and tenor of each candidate even though I wasn't able to be there.

I look forward to seeing video - I hope that the Dellinger campaign will provide what they have; and maybe news channel 14 (I don't get that channel) will have some on their site.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I disagree. I think Dalton

I disagree. I think Dalton more or less ignored Dellinger. And, as much as we dislike Dalton, he ended up having some good responses (not about the coal plant, though. geez! get with the program!).

I also thought Dellinger was VERY overbearing, especially during his closing remarks, when he had his back to the audience and was talking (lecturing?) to Dalton. Almost everyone in the audience was groaning/rolling eyes/etc. at this point. Many of the audience members I spoke with afterwards did not like Dellinger's "attacks." Though I admit, I did like his opening statement. I met one gentlemen who was torn b/t Besse and Dellinger, but he left early.

Besides that, I think it was a great event. Props to the College Dems and the FSU chapter. On to Salem!

not quite

Dellinger did not turn his back on the audience, as dalton was next to him, not behind him.

Also there were very few people left in the audience by that point who were not already affiliated with one of the four campaigns. That supporters of dalton were rolling their eyes is hardly surprising. Think they're on staff? (I keed, I keed)

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

My take...

I was down there with a friend, and we went to a friend of his for food after, so I just got home. my full take wont be written for tomorrow. But I can promise that it will surprise people.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

No intended reference to the OLF


Thanks for working the debate. Even though you're an up-front Hampton supporter, I agree that you worked hard to be objective in your coverage. (And mostly succeeded.;-)

One point of misinterpretation--my reference to welcoming the Navy when they come by was just a throwaway reference to the fact that they're not based here, unlike the other three service branches, so they only pass through. It had no connection to the proposed OLF, which I'm on public record as opposing--in fact, I spoke at two of the public hearings in opposition.

Honest misinterpretation. Just wanted to clear it up before anyone got the wrong idea.

Just back here in Winston-Salem after a long night. Good evening to all!

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

Thanks, Dan - fair enough


"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I'm doubly sorry I missed this event.

I was withholding judgment on Lt. Gov candidates until after I heard them speak tonight. Sick mom, sick me - it wasn't meant to be.

I am torn. I'm glad I have until May to decide which circle to fill in, or level to pull, or whichever kind of voting machine they'll be using.

I can tell you - if job-sharing were an option, I would gladly see Dan Besse and Pat Smathers in this position together. I am impressed by both men, by their candor, by their willingness to openly engage voters -- not just "the party faithful" or big donors, but anyone.

Dan Besse has, to me, the most impressive progressive credentials I've seen in a while, and damn, he's smart. That's one for our side. He is a compassionate man of the people, and seems to intuitively understand the issues that are important to me (and come out on the same side as me.) I could sell his candidacy to anyone, anywhere, because I believe mostly the same way he does.

While I get a sense that Pat Smathers may not be quite as progressive, I don't think he's conservative by any means. He's smart, on the right side of the issues. (I especially appreciate the emphasis on small business, Pat. If we're going to be the party of the people, we've got to pay attention to that.) He's got some "selling points" for Moore County -- understanding the military, emphasis on local control, I think those things could win cross-over votes from moderate Republicans, and certainly the Unaffiliated voters in our county.

I believe both men would be able to work well with a variety of people under a variety of circumstances.

So - I'm not going to decide now. I'm going to openly support both campaigns. It's too uncomfortable for me to be secretive about it - I love both of them as candidates. I have, and will continue, to send my meager financial support when I can.

When I go into the voting booth on May 6th? I don't know. I just don't know yet.

But I'm telling both of you - I'd rather see you two running for Governor right now than the two who are. I know neither one of you has expressed an interest in that - but heh. There's still time to file. . .no? OK. Just - think about it. What a team you'd make.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I'm with you on that

If I were electing a legislator, I wouldn't have any compunction about voting for Besse. But so much of how the state is affecting Durham right now comes down to getting the state out of the damn way so that we can actually do what we need to do. As someone who strongly believes in a strong, active state government, it's a funny position for me to take, but Smathers's message is really resonating with me.

Aside from that, there's what I think of as the "stable" factor. If there's one thing the LG's job has been good for over the years, it's setting someone up for a run at higher office. While I like Dan's positions just a little bit more, I think Pat has a higher "upside," as one might say.

Augh, decisions, decisions. I think I'm leaning towards Smathers today. Won't make any promises about tomorrow.


The Fayetteville Observer had a write up on this, and it does seem that the attendees were disproportionately students there for class and family members/friends of the campaigns. I was surprised to see that the organizer was quoted in the paper saying they'd wanted more students. I'd actually suggest going beyond campus to get more of the people in local politics involved. It would provide a valuable service to candidates in helping them get their message out to people who can help fund them and organize locally. A good place to publicize these types of events is at the courthouse and surrounding restaurants, the free weeklies, and through e-mails to local elected officials. None of the Fayetteville folks I know knew about this debate until after the fact. It seemed like a substantive debate, and it's a shame that most of the locals missed out on the chance to go.

excellent point.

There are still 4 more debates - hopefully that will be done in the future.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi