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N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says he mingles with protesters in the streets, not at Moral Mondays

RALEIGH Gov. Pat McCrory has not been in the crowds of protesters gathered at the N.C. Legislative Building for the weekly “Moral Monday” demonstrations, according to his spokeswoman. The crowd he mingles with is in the streets, she said.

On Friday, Kim Genardo, the governor’s communications director, clarified comments McCrory made to a Wilson Times reporter – remarks that sparked the creation of a “PatWasThere” parody on Twitter and a “Help Find Pat” page on Facebook.

“Gov. Pat McCrory interacts with many people, including protesters,” Genardo said Friday afternoon. “Every day he walks to and from work, to meetings in government buildings, and throughout the city of Raleigh. When possible, the governor will stop and chat with the people of North Carolina.”

The comments came the day after social media sites lit up with people on the hunt for photos, video or any reports of McCrory mingling with protesters after the governor was quoted as saying he meets with them “in the crowd.”

Janet Conner-Knox, a Wilson Times reporter, asked the governor Wednesday whether he intended to talk with the “Moral Monday” protesters that have been coming to the capital routinely since April 29.

His response, which she recorded, was, “I go out in the crowd all the time. Frankly, yesterday I went out and I talked to several of them, and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves ‘moral’ by cussing me out, but that’s the way things go sometimes.”

‘I love the interaction’

Genardo said she checked with McCrory on Friday and he reiterated that he had been cussed out, but she did not have the details on what was said, when it was said or where it was said. “I was not with him,” she said.

She said McCrory encounters many people as he walks between the governor’s mansion on Blount Street and his office in the Capitol several blocks away. He also walks to many of the legislative offices in the nearby buildings and encounters people on the sidewalks and in the streets, she said.

When he told The Wilson Times reporter that he goes “out in the crowd all the time,” Genardo said he was referring to the public streets.

In an interview Friday on News 14 Carolina, a Time Warner Cable news service, McCrory said he thought too much attention is being given to his comments.

“I think you’re making a bigger deal out of this,” he said. “I love the interaction with people, and I often have that interaction on the streets of Raleigh.

“Even today, I had one person refuse to shake my hand. They seemed to be pretty upset with me. Others disagree with me, but we’ll have cordial conversation, and I look forward to that. … I’m very accessible, and I enjoy the interaction with groups of people when I’m walking to and from work, and that’s often when I saw these people, including protesters.”

Since the weekly demonstrations began in the capital in late April, McCrory has yet to meet with the crowds or sit down with organizers to discuss their concerns about the policies, laws and agenda coming out of the General Assembly.

Blythe: 919-836-4948
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