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Bob Rucho: JFK could have led Tea Party

Never one to shy away from controversy – if not outright provoke it – state Sen. Bob Rucho commemorated President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Twitter this way:

“JFK could have been the founder and leader of the Tea Party. The real democrat party has been hijacked.”

That unleashed a dust-up between the Mecklenburg County Republican and Democratic tweeters, who responded along the lines of “Are you delusional?”

Rucho stood his ground with, “JFK believed in low taxes, hard work, personal freedom and achievement. You ought to try it.” He added in a third tweet that he wasn’t the only one who thought Kennedy was a conservative.

Rucho’s observations were preceded earlier in the week by a number of articles arguing that JFK was, to one degree or another, more conservative than he is remembered by those who mythologize his legacy.

“For them, his conservative dimension is an inconvenient truth,” George Will wrote.

The argument can be made and argued on several fronts, including interventionism, taxes and government’s role in helping business. But a tea partier?

Kennedy himself famously declared himself a liberal, saying he embraced the label if that meant caring about health-care, housing, education, employment and civil rights. The (Raleigh) News & Observer

Powerball ad features NFL hall of famers

Watch a football game this holiday season and maybe you’ll see an ad for the North Carolina lottery that features a hall of fame lineup.

The ad campaign for Powerball features Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice, Warren Moon and Barry Sanders. It’s part of a promotion that gives Powerball players who spend at least $10 the opportunity to win an “ultimate tailgate party” at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary next May in Cleveland.

The state split the cost of hiring the hall of famers and producing the ad with the 17 other Powerball states. The cost was apportioned by the state’s share of Powerball sales, said Van Denton at the N.C. lottery. N&O

Hagan’s seat among most vulnerable

The National Journal ranks U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., as No. 7 on its list of the 15 most vulnerable Senate seats.

The Washington publication notes that fortunes have changed since Hagan and Gov. Bev Perdue were swept into office in 2008 on the Obama wave. Democrats are betting that voters will see the subsequent Republican revolution in North Carolina as overreaching, and that current frontrunner Thom Tillis, the speaker of the state House, will suffer for it.

Just the opposite could be true. But, as the magazine points out, polls so far show voters don’t know much about Tillis.

Of course Hagan’s fortunes are part of a bigger game: The Journal says if Republicans pick up six of the seven most vulnerable seats without losing any of their own, they would control the Senate in 2015.

Thirteen of the 15 seats are held by Democrats. Only in Georgia (No. 8), where Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring, and Kentucky (No. 9), where Sen. Mitch McConnell faces serious conservative opposition, could it go the other way. N&O

Former ALE chief to challenge firing

An administrative law judge will hear former state Alcohol Law Enforcement division director John Ledford’s challenge to his firing next week in Raleigh.

The hearing is expected to take three days, and will focus solely on Ledford’s claim that he was fired in April because he was a Democrat replaced by the new Republican administration.

It’s common for a new administration to replace key agency leaders, but Ledford tried to avoid the ax by reassigning himself from director to agent. The state Department of Public Safety said he didn’t have the authority to do that.

Earlier, Judge Fred Morrison Jr. ruled Ledford didn’t have career employee protection. N&O

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