Notebook | Hagan courts women voters

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan sought to woo women and labor votes Monday at appearances with an Alabama woman who sparked a U.S. Supreme Court case over equal pay.

Lilly Ledbetter was a longtime employee of the Goodyear Tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., who discovered after years that her male counterparts were paid more for the same job. She sued for discrimination and won in lower courts. But in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that whatever the merits of her case, she'd waited too long to sue.

Ledbetter and Hagan ripped Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. In April, Dole voted against a bill known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. It would have allowed suits such as Ledbetter's to stand.

“I don't understand how Liddy Dole could have voted against it,” Ledbetter said. “But she did.”

Dole spokesman Dan McLagan noted that Hagan, a state senator, last year voted to give Goodyear incentives to persuade it to keep its N.C. plant open. “Is it me, or is it a bit hypocritical of Hagan to be campaigning with a woman who is suing the same company that Hagan voted to give a taxpayer handout to?” McLagan said.

Jim Morrill

Wheeler backing Taylor

Former Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler endorsed 9th Congressional District candidate Harry Taylor. At the same time, Republican rival U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick released her own list of NASCAR endorsements.

Wheeler endorsed Taylor in front of TV cameras and about two-dozen supporters at uptown's Thompson Park.

Myrick's campaign released a list of NASCAR executives supporting her. They include team owners Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush, former team owner Felix Sabates and Wheeler's successor as speedway president, Marcus Smith.

Both Cindy and John McCain have campaigned at the speedway over the past two years, but Wheeler warned that “it just seems that everything in NASCAR is on the Republican side.”

“But it's not that way,” Wheeler said.

Jim Morrill

Professors call for truth

Some U.S. communication professors have signed a statement calling on the GOP campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin to stop “incendiary mendacity” and “false and inflammatory” statements about Democrat Barack Obama.

The statement urges both presidential campaigns to halt “blatant misrepresentations of their opponent's positions.” But the professors say the McCain/Palin campaign's discourse – on the stump and in robocalls to homes – “is unethical and stokes the fires of racism.”

“We see an effort to color code the election as between an urban, African-American Obama falsely linked to terms like ‘terrorist,' ‘unpatriotic,' and ‘welfare,' versus small town, white ‘patriotic' Americans like the mythical Joe the Plumber,” the statement said.

Fourteen N.C. professors were among 140 names on the statement. N.C. signers are: Carole Blair, Renee Alexander Craft, Lawrence Grossberg, Dennis Mumby, Della Pollock, Michael Waltman and Eric King Watts, all from UNC Chapel Hill; Jessica Katz Jameson, William Kinsella, Craig Allen Smith and Sarah Stein, all from N.C. State; Spoma Jovanovic and Chris Poulos from UNC Greensboro; and Kathleen Turner from Davidson College.

Jane Stancill

Mailer links Obama, Perdue

Bev Perdue and Barack Obama are side-by-side in a new mailer.

The N.C. Democratic Party mailer features the party's gubernatorial and presidential candidates and the words “Democrats we trust to fight for us.”

In a sign of how competitive North Carolina has become, the new mailer was sent to a larger group of voters, including unaffiliated and white voters.

(Raleigh) News & Observer