Election news in the Carolinas |

Dole favors Iraq pullout scenario

Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., said Thursday she would support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, as long as it was based on ground conditions and had the support of the military.

Dole, a longtime supporter of the war, said it was “reasonable” to have a phased withdrawal starting next year. She said she liked the idea of “bringing troops out of the cities by 2009 and out of the country completely by 2011.”

“The concern has been if you rip them out precipitously, then you end up back in there again and that is the last thing we want,” Dole said in a meeting with The (Raleigh) News & Observer's editorial board.

Her opponent, Democrat Kay Hagan, has been a critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Dole was also asked to assess the presidency of George W. Bush, who had been a political ally, but whose unpopularity may be hurting her.

“In terms of the country not being attacked again after the terrible 9-11 situation, a lot has been done to make sure we were protected and that we were safe,” Dole said. “It depends on what you are talking about specifically. I think mistakes were definitely made, no question about it in terms of the first part of the war.

“Only history can record over time, where he comes out. Certainly I have disagreed with him on many things.”

Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Hagan, said Dole's skepticism about Iraq was being voiced rather late.

“Senator Dole's six-year record in Washington stands in stark contrast to Kay's stated goals of increased accountability for the money we spend in Iraq, forcing the Iraqis stand up for themselves and take control of their government, and responsibly bringing our troops home,” Flanagan said.

Rob Christensen

Dole: Remark upset husband

Dole said her husband, former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, hit the ceiling when he found out that former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia wrongly accused her of voting against the new G.I. bill giving benefits to veterans.

Cleland, a Democrat, and Bob Dole, a Republican, were both grievously wounded war veterans.

Cleland wrongly accused Elizabeth Dole of voting against the G.I. bill, during an appearance with Hagan. He corrected himself the next day.

“My husband went berserk on that one,” Dole said. “To be honest, he called up Max and reminded him that he did not go into Georgia to campaign against him. Frankly, he resented Max coming in here against his wife. He said, ‘Max, you didn't tell the truth.'”

(Raleigh) News & Observer

Hayes, Kissell to go ‘Stumpin'

Republican U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes and his Democratic challenger Larry Kissell will appear Sunday at the “Stumpin' in the Park” festival sponsored by the University City Political Action Committee.

The event at the University City YMCA starts at 3 p.m. Kissell will speak at 3 p.m. and Hayes will follow at 3:15 p.m. Legislative rivals Nick Mackey, a Democrat, and Republican Dempsey Miller are expected to be among other candidates who appear.

Jim Morrill

Uptown Dems to hear Perdue

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bev Perdue will speak to Charlotte's Uptown Democratic Forum on Monday.

Perdue will speak at the group's noon luncheon at the Levine Museum, 200 E. 7th St. Lunch costs $10.

To make a reservation, call 704-731-6102.

Jim Morrill

Obama on Taylor's mind

Singer-songwriter James Taylor, an “unabashed liberal” and longtime political activist, will kick off his three-day N.C. swing for Democrat Barack Obama on Sunday in Charlotte at Ovens Auditorium.

He couldn't watch the presidential race from the sidelines.

“We called the campaign and told them, ‘Put me in, coach,'” Taylor, raised in Chapel Hill, told the Observer on Thursday.

In Charlotte and four other cities, he'll perform a few songs, including the state's adopted anthem, “Carolina in My Mind,” then talk about Obama and the importance of this election.

Doors for the Charlotte concert open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at South County Regional Library, 5801 Rea Road; Plaza Midwood Regional Library, 1623 Central Ave.; and University City Library, 301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.

After Charlotte, Taylor will go to Asheville, then Chapel Hill on Monday. He'll end the swing Tuesday with rallies in Raleigh and Wilmington.

“It gives me a sense of relief to contribute, if there's anything I can contribute,” Taylor said. “I'm under no illusions about what my importance is to this campaign. I was just feeling this sense of urgency … the weight of the moment historically.”

David Perlmutt