Too many shotguns for VP?

The Gaston County GOP invited Dick Cheney to today's Shotgun Social, but the vice president has declined.

Neil Moore, the Gaston GOP chairman, said he's not surprised. After all, nearly everybody will be armed.

“It would take a small army of Secret Service to block off the area,” Moore said.

The Shotgun Social runs 4-8 p.m. at the Kings Pinnacle Development on Unity Church Road. For tickets, call 704-868-3330. Jim Morrill

Hayes, McHenry vote with Democrats

Most U.S. House Republicans voted this week against a bill to extend jobless benefits by three months.

Voting for the measure with every Democrat – and just 47 other Republicans – were Republican Reps. Robin Hayes and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina.

Extending benefits is good politics, particularly in districts hit hard by vanishing textile and furniture jobs. In McHenry's 10th District, unemployment in nine of 10 counties exceeds the state average.

It's probably no coincidence that of the 10 Republicans in races rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, seven – including Hayes – joined Democrats in supporting the bill.

The vote also gave Hayes ammunition in an attack on Democratic opponent Larry Kissell. In a new ad, he criticized Kissell for not paying payroll taxes for his campaign workers.

Kissell's campaign says its employees have been independent contractors who pay their own taxes. Jim Morrill

Perdue's kissing up is a basketball thing

Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue says she's had some “mighty kissing up” to do with Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.

Perdue, the Democratic nominee for governor, was speaking in Greensboro Tuesday to a meeting hosted by the N.C. Chamber. She recalled going with Rogers to a basketball game between UNC Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky.

Both Perdue and Rogers graduated from Kentucky.

“Jim thought I was going to be a Kentucky fan,” Perdue said. “And, lo and behold, I had him sitting behind the Carolina bench.”

Perdue lives in Chapel Hill. She added, “I've had to do some mighty kissing up to get back in his good graces.” David Ingram

Fisher's support came from maverick's backers

To say Salisbury's Ada Fisher was a long-shot candidate for the Republican National Committee last week would be an understatement. The establishment candidate was the wife of a prominent state senator; Fisher had to nominate herself.

But she gave an impassioned speech that earned several ovations. Fisher, a maverick who in 2002 challenged Elizabeth Dole for the U.S. Senate nomination, won with strong support from backers of another maverick, former presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Fisher is the first African American ever elected to the RNC from the state. Jim Morrill