Political picks winner is …

Wolfpacker05, who wins a pair of East Carolina football tickets to Saturday’s homecoming game against Marshall.

WP05 finished an impressive 12-1, with his/her only miss coming in the Lenoir County Commissioner race, where he/she picked Eric Rouse instead of Reuben Davis.

Coach5511 finished second (11-2, misses were John McCain and Elizabeth Dole) and Shandshp was third (10-3, misses were Bob Crumley, Jack Sawyer and Jay Conner III).

Wolfpacker05, contact me at my e-mail (bhanks@freedomenc.com) or by calling me at (252) 559-1074.

Stay tuned — I may have another set or two of tix to Saturday’s game in another contest.

Morning News Report; Nov. 5, 2008

HAIL TO THE CHIEF

The pollsters actually got this one right; Barack Obama routed John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. As of 10:15 a.m., North Carolina, Missouri and Georgia still were undecided, but Obama led the Electoral College vote, 349-147.

My take(s): Don’t forget — this thing was still a contest a month or so ago, until McCain “dropped out” of the race to deal with the economy. I said it then and I say it again now, that was the turning point of the race. I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference one way or another if McCain would’ve stayed his course, but his show of indecision at that moment — while Obama looked very presidential — hurt his campaign, at least in my eyes.

Kudos to McCain last night for his concilatory concession speech. That was as classy a speech as I’ve ever heard.

Critics are questioning whether Sarah Palin’s pick hurt or helped McCain; initially, I thought it hurt, but as time wore on, I think it helped. One thing is certain: Palin is on the national stage for good now. I’d consider her a Republican front-runner for 2012.

Do you realize McCain won Lenoir County (by 121 votes)? Are you guys as shocked about that as I am?

THE OTHER RACES

Bev Perdue defeated Pat McCrory, Kay Hagan whipped Elizabeth Dole, Walter Dalton won the Lt. Gov. race as Democrats swept the top N.C. positions. That was certainly the Obama affect.

Locally, Van Braxton defeated Stephen LaRoque, despite losing both Lenoir and Wayne counties. Also, Billy Davis and Bruce Hill won at-large school board seats, while Reuben Davis and Linda Rouse Sutton took the at-large county commission seats.

The one pseudo-Republican victory, though, came in the non-partisan drive for Kinston municipal elections.

My take: Again, a Democratic sweep, which makes McCain winning Lenoir County all that crazier.

“GREY’S ANATOMY” CUTS GAY CHARACTER

OK, so this won’t mean that much to most of you, but there’s a major overhaul at ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” which I unfortunately am addicted to. Erica — Callie’s new gay girlfriend — is being taken off the show after Thursday’s episode.

My take: It really doesn’t bother me that much, because I never really saw the chemistry between the two, anyway. But the way those characters go from bed to bed, it won’t surprise me if Callie (who’s already, ahem, “been with” three other characters on the show) shacks up with someone else soon.

Besides, if you’re going to have lesbian characters, they ought to be hot. Really hot.

The iPod shuffle

Without Love — Bon Jovi

Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love) — JC Chasez

Watching Airplanes — Gary Allan

The Update — Beastie Boys

The Way I Live — Baby Boy Da Prince

Pick the races, win ECU football tickets

As I stated in my Sunday column, here is your chance to pick who you think is going to win selected races in tomorrow’s general election.

The winner receives two tickets to Saturday’s East Carolina University homecoming football game against Marshall.

Simply write the WINNER of each race, hitting return each time so it’ll be easier for me to tabulate.

The tiebreaker (at the end) is for you to pick a percentage that you think the presidential winner will earn, to the tenth of a point. For example, if you think John McCain is going to win with 51.2 percent of the vote, type in “51.2 percent”.

I’ll probably declare a winner on Thursday, when final numbers come in.

Here you go (candidates listed in alphabetical order):

President — John McCain vs. Barack Obama

U.S. Senate — Elizabeth Dole vs. Kay Hagan

U.S. House (District 1) — G.K. Butterfield vs. Dean Stephens

U.S. House (District 3) — Walter B. Jones vs. Craig Weber

Governor — Pat McCrory vs. Bev Perdue

Lt. Governor — Walter H. Dalton vs. Robert Pittenger

Attorney General — Roy Cooper vs. Bob Crumley

Secretary of State — Elaine F. Marshall vs. Jack Sawyer

N.C. House (District 10) — Van Braxton vs. Stephen LaRoque

N.C. House (District 12) — Mark W. Griffin vs. William L. Wainwright

Lenoir County Commissioners, at-large (pick two) — Reuben J. Davis vs. Eric S. Rouse vs. Linda Rouse Sutton vs. Jeff Stephens

Board of Education, at-large (pick two) — Jay D. Conner III vs. Billy D. Davis vs. Gene H. Henderson vs. Bruce Hill

Morning News Report; Oct. 23, 2008

OBAMA’S LEAD UP TO DOUBLE DIGITS

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s national poll lead is up to 12 points, according to a Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll released this morning.

My take: Is this insurmountable? It’s beginning to look that way. If Republican John McCain has an “October Surprise”, he better be ready to spring it … and soon.

PUTTING PALIN’S $150K IN PERSPECTIVE…

There has been some talk about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s $150,000 clothes budget for the past month, but let’s look at this number: Obama raised $150,000,000 (yes, that’s million, with three extra zeroes) last month, meaning he raised $208,333 EVERY HOUR.

And yet, he needs more. Check out this L.A. Times’ blogger’s view on Obama’s begging for just “$10 more” from his supporters.

PERDUE VISITS THE FREE PRESS; MAYHEM ENSUES

OK, not really. But I really enjoyed our sit-down with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bev Perdue yesterday in our office. She is the third statewide candidate (including her opponent, Pat McCrory and U.S. Senate Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole) I’ve had the opportunity to talk to in the past couple of months.

I was only able to ask two questions from you, the faithful bloggees; but you can read those answers — along with the other answers — here.

Here is my game story of her meeting with us, along with David Anderson’s story about her walking in downtown Kinston.

And here is a great picture from our awesome photographer, Janet Sutton, of Perdue in downtown. Doesn’t this look like the cover of an album?

102308-bev-perdue.jpg

The (over 1,000 songs now; woo-hoo!) iPod shuffle

Dirt Off Your Shoulder — Jay-Z

New Moon On Monday — Duran Duran

Savin’ Me — Nickelback

MPE — Public Enemy

CG2 — Nelly

McCrory raises an interesting question

A press release from the Pat McCrory campaign:

“North Carolina schools started this week without enough money in their budgets to pay for gas to operate school buses while teachers learned their performance bonuses were not funded.  At the same time, the state mental health care system is in crisis with patients dying and hospitals losing accreditation. 

“In addition, the State Health Plan for state employees, teachers and retirees is faced with a financial crisis that will affect the health of hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.  The Health Plan ended the fiscal year in June with a $170 million deficit, is projected to end this fiscal year with a $270 million deficit and is projected to end the following year with an $850 million deficit.  The Health Plan will run out of cash to pay bills right around election time. 

“In the midst of these crises, the General Assembly is holding a special session on the governor’s veto of a bill increasing the width of boat trailers on state highways.  Certainly, Lt. Gov. Perdue and the Democrat legislative leaders have a right to consider the merits of the governor’s veto of boat trailers.  But why don’t they show the same leadership in dealing with three major crises facing our schools, our mental health system and our state employees and their families?”

My take: I actually thought the same thing — why is Mike Easley reconvening the state legislature to reconsider boat trailer widths on highways, when we have so many other problems?

A very, very fair question that I’d love to see answered.

And who says being a Libertarian doesn’t matter?

It does in North Carolina. According to this SurveyUSA Election Poll, Libertarian Mike Munger is “complicating” the governor’s race. While Bev Perdue leads Pat McCrory 47-44 percent, Munger is pulling down 5 percent (with 5 percent undecided).

My take: And yet, they’re not allowing Munger to debate with Perdue and McCrory. The Libertarian Party is an official party again in North Carolina — despite what the Republicans and Democrats have done to destroy the party. The party has a gubernatorial candidate and is being shut out by the mainstream media in debates. What are the Rs and Ds afraid of — that folks will begin to follow the Libertarians and siphon money and votes from them?

Yep.

Morning News Report; Aug. 5, 2008

MCCAIN ADDRESSES 20,000 BIKERS

In one of the most surreal appearances of his presidential campaign, John McCain spoke to 20,000 bikers at the Sturgis Rally in western South Dakota yesterday. He was warmly received by the group.

My take: Who knew McCain was a Harley dude? But seriously, how many of those guys and gals are going to vote? No, I’m not uneducated about bikers — I know many are fine, upstanding members of our society who contribute mightily to our country.

But if you polled 100 bikers, how many are registered to vote? Maybe I’d be surprised, but I’d put the number at 30 to 40 percent?

MCCRORY RETURNING TO KINSTON ON THURSDAY

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory is coming back to Kinston on Thursday. He’ll attend an event at The Chef and The Farmer at 4:30 p.m., then go to the Kinston Indians-Salem Avalanche game at 7 p.m. at Grainger Stadium.

My take: Where’s Bev Perdue? This is McCrory’s second visit in a couple of weeks — right in the heart of alleged “Perdue Country” and she’s not been here yet. What gives, Democrats?

MORGAN FREEMAN ALL RIGHT AFTER AUTO ACCIDENT

Actor Morgan Freeman is “in good spirits” after a Mississippi car accident that landed him in a Tennessee hospital. The 71-year-old might have surgery after having to be removed from his car using the Jaws of Life but he appears to be fine.

My take: Whew. I really enjoy Freeman’s work, especially “The Shawshank Redemption.” I’m really happy to hear he’s going to be all right.

A Bernie Mac update: This AP video report says he is stable and still in a Chicago hospital.

The iPod shuffle

Escapade — Janet Jackson

The Promise of a New Day — Paula Abdul

Only The Lonely — The Motels

What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? — REM

Pour Some Sugar On Me — Def Leppard

Morning News Report; July 25, 2008

MCCRORY VISITS KINSTON

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory visited The Free Press yesterday for a meeting with me, Publisher/Editor Patrick Holmes and News Editor Richard Clark. He addressed off-shore drilling along North Carolina’s coast, the differences between himself and his opponent, Democrat Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and crime in Eastern North Carolina.

For a transcript of our conversation (including answers to the questions you guys had), click here.

My take: I have to admit, I was impressed with the guy. He took all our questions and answered them fully. He was personable and although we were only slotted 10-15 minutes, he hung out for almost 30.

And he’s a Jake Delhomme guy: when I asked him if Brett Favre was coming to the Panthers, he said he laughed and said he preferred his “buddy Jake.”

OBAMA ADDRESSES 200,000 IN BERLIN

During his European tour on Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke in Berlin to 200,000 Germans.

My take: Do you think John McCain could draw 20,000 to a speech in Germany — let alone 200,000? I’m not saying that would make Obama a better president, but I will say this: if elected, Obama will be a more popular president internationally than George W. Bush. And that could certainly help rebuild some of the bridges that “W” has torn down.

MCCAIN TIGHTENING THE RACE IN KEY STATES

Showing that the post-Democratic primary bubble is leaking air, McCain is making up ground in key states, says four polls conducted by Quinnipiac University in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com.

My take: Anyone who thought this race was going to be a “gimme” for Obama or McCain is sadly mistaken. This thing is going to go down to the wire.

The iPod shuffle

Hey Nineteen — Steely Dan

Can’t C Me — 2Pac

Give It Away — Red Hot Chili Peppers

After The Thrill Is Gone — The Eagles

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong — Spin Doctors