Politics & Government

Freshman NC lawmaker gets worldwide audience

Freshman lawmaker gets worldwide audience online

Call it the speech heard ’round the world.

Freshman North Carolina Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, didn’t make many speeches in his first legislative session. But one 5 minute, 42-second speech this summer has exploded on the Internet.

By Saturday, the video of Jackson’s remarks had been seen by 184,000 people online.

He made his remarks the day the budget came out of the Republican-controlled Senate. He found it on his desk at 8 a.m., with a vote scheduled that afternoon at 4.

“Democrats were completely excluded from the budget-making process,” Jackson told colleagues. “Well, like it or not, we represent millions of North Carolinians. By excluding us you exclude all of them. … What you’re really telling folks is that when it comes to setting priorities for this state you don’t need to hear from half its citizens. …

“I know what you’re going to say. … You’re going to say Democrats did it worse and you’re right. You’re absolutely right. About that historical fact you’re right. But in carrying out this legacy you’re wrong. You’ve mis-learned all of those lessons. Being in power means having the power to change things for the better.”

The video really took off this month as it buzzed through social media and websites.

Jackson says he’s gotten emails from as far as South Africa and New Zealand, as well as virtually every state in the country.

Maybe it was a coincidence that the video went viral as people in North Carolina and around the country were inundated with negative TV ads that turn so many people off to politics.

“I think it’s just a testament to how disappointed people are in our general political climate,” Jackson says. “In order for something this noncontroversial to elicit this kind of reaction, people have to be really hungry for a reasonable approach to politics.”

(To see the video, go to this: http://vimeo.com/102299905). Jim Morrill

Hagan’s MSNBC interview

This month, Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes caught flak when she refused to say whether she’d voted for President Barack Obama. Last week a reporter asked Sen. Kay Hagan if she thinks Obama has been a strong leader.

“You know, President Obama has a lot on his plate,” she told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. “It seems like whether it’s the oil spill that took place a number of years ago in the Gulf, to this Ebola crisis now, to ISIS gaining strength. I mean you look at all the combination of things like that.”

“And do you think he’s acted as a strong leader in those crises?” Hunt asked.

“You know, I think there’s definitely, like with Ebola, we have definitely been late to the table in making decisions about that,” Hagan said. “Being sure that CDC has a, understands and gets messages out to hospitals.”

“So you don’t think he’s shown strong leadership?” Hunt continued.

“You know certainly there are issues that I certainly think, um, no,” Hagan replied.

“Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm,” observed “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brezinski. “There she goes again. There she goes again.”

“There she goes again,” added Joe Scarborough: “These are not hard questions to answer.” Jim Morrill

More weed, more votes?

Groups supported by the conservative Koch brothers have spent millions of dollars helping Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis. Now one is helping one of his opponents.

The American Future Fund is running an online ad campaign pushing Libertarian Senate candidate Sean Haugh. It features a guy wearing a T-shirt of a clouded pot-smoker.

“Do you want to see marijuana legalized?” he asks. “There’s something you can do about it. Vote for a U.S. Senate candidate who supports legalization. someone who shares our values. More weed. Less war.”

A spokesman told the National Journal the group made an initial buy of $225,000. The ad is designed to lure liberals away from Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Jim Morrill