Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Start Drilling

by Robert J. Samuelson - April 30th, 2008 - Washington Post

It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, but Congress has put large areas of potential supply off-limits. These include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. By government estimates, these areas may contain 25 billion to 30 billion barrels of oil (against about 30 billion barrels of proven U.S. reserves today) and 80 trillion cubic feet or more of natural gas (compared with about 200 tcf of proven reserves).

What keeps these areas closed are exaggerated environmental fears, strong prejudice against oil companies and sheer stupidity.

I could not help but be dispirited when the man I am supporting for Governor informed me that he believed we should keep bans on drilling in place and expand the biofuels idiocy that is starving people to death. The "sheer stupidity" assessment is right. However it astounds me how many otherwise bright people have accepted the argument that we must not drill for oil.

A footnote to the above article, though government estimates are that the areas blocked from exploration are equal to our current reserves, oil industry experts believe that the amount is nearly double that. Which means we could triple our own production, eliminating the need to import oil, if we would free our industry to drill. The writer of this article is right. START DRILLING.

Getting To Know John McCain

by Karl Rove - April 30th, 2008 - Wall Street Journal

. . . Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, fighter pilot, Vietnam POW and roommate of John McCain at the Hanoi Hilton.


Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complemented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

There is absolutely no question that John McCain is a man of courage and integrity. He is a good man.

A little background. I find it interesting that this article is by Karl Rove. Rove is more responsible for the current shambles in the Republican Party than any other man alive. I believe he, more than any other man, led George Bush to embrace the socialism inherent in his "compassionate conservative" governing philosophy that has so violated the principles of the party. However George Bush is a good man personally. Karl Rove is a good man personally. They are smart. Yet they have misunderstood and failed to appreciate the ultimate tyranny that will transpire because of the long term consequences of their actions.

There can be no better candidate than John McCain to continue this legacy. As noted, John McCain is a good man. He is however, like George Bush, unwilling to appreciate that doing good things for short term gain can be evil in the long term. McCain is one of the authors of the McCain-Feingold act to destroy free speech in America. He is just as shortsighted on other key issues for our future, such as amnesty. However it will be necessary to support McCain in this election. The alternatives are worse. As Karl Rove's article indicates, there is much to admire about this man. However getting America back on a course that leads us away from our growing fondness for the evil of socialism will not happen on John McCain's watch.

Obama's Chickens Come Home To Roost

by Robert Tracinski - April 30th, 2008 - Real Clear Politics

To the National Press Club, Wright reiterated his claim that AIDS was created by the United States government as a racist plot to kill blacks; he explained that Obama's "distancing" himself from Wright was only a political calculation "based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls"; and he also repeated his praise for Louis Farrakhan--the anti-Semitic, quasi-fascist, dictator-loving leader of the Nation of Islam--as "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century." This part of his message was reinforced by the entourage he brought with him to the event. The Washington Post explains that the audience included Marion Barry--the crack-smoking former mayor of Washington, DC--Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party, and Jamil Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. And adds: "a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam."

All of this is the polar opposite of the image Obama has projected to the world--except in one respect. Wright's main defense against criticism of his views was taken directly from Obama's March 18 speech on the subject of race in America. In this celebrated speech, Obama tried to make the Reverend Wright's views seem reasonable, to put him into an excusable "context"--and in doing so, he [Obama] is the one who unleashed Wright.

I am distressed at the direction this provocation seems to be taking. In trying to keep this socialist and pacifist amateur from becoming President, we are letting his naive embrace of the most racist elements of the black community tar the black community with an image that will hurt race relations for years. There are a huge number of black Americans who have resisted this element of their community and who are fighting for the American dream. How do we uphold the dream of Martin Luther King and continue to treat them as individuals when it is so clear that a large number in the black community are harboring feelings of hate for all whites? To date, no moderate blacks have walked away from the dream that Obama might be President and denounced his duplicity. He is still getting 90% support.

Are there really that few in the black community who understand the damage this is doing to their chances for King's dream to become reality? This is not good for America. This is unleashing the hate mongers on both sides.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Barack Obama, The Weather Underground, And The Spirit Of Revolution

by Sandy Rios - April 28th, 2008 -

My first memory of the impact of it all was when I was 13, sitting in my sister’s apartment, watching the evening news with Walter Cronkite. “103 American GIs killed today,” he intoned, as film of soldiers shooting Vietnamese rolled by. The nightly news always began that way … never a story of heroism or victory, just body bags and carnage as the anti-war media chose to report it.

Next was footage of Los Angeles burning, riots and looting, shootings on college campuses, all with flag burning as a backdrop. In the midst of it all, my sister’s Middle Eastern boyfriend gleefully shouted, “Come on America, destroy yourself!” I wanted to hit him. I tried to argue, but he mocked me. Because of my youth, I was no match for his vocabulary and knowledge. I felt inadequate to express the overpowering emotions of anger and rage. And pain. My beloved country, falling apart at the seams with a representative of one of its future enemies sitting right next to me, cheering it on. War vs. peace, communism vs. freedom, law vs. lawlessness, racism, anarchy and the future threat of radical Islam—all converged in that one room. And the passion that comes from love of country and all that is good began its deep roots in me.

Wow. This is a powerful article. The damage done to our country by revolutionary agents from the 60s is only exceeded by the insanity that we have tolerated in our Universities. A great number of these evil people, people who hate our nation, are today tenured professors and we treat them as honored citizens. The quote that is most enraging is the one by Bernadette Dohrn Ayers, unrepentant revolutionary, law professor and wife of the equally evil hater of America (and the couple who held the first fund raiser for the Presidential candidate Barrack Obama to get him in to politics). “We have extraordinary responsibility inside the heart of the monster,” she warned in 2007. “Guilty as sin and free as a bird,” boasted Ayers of her continuing hatred for America.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who Is ‘They’?

by Victor Hanson Davis - April 25th, 2008 - National Review Online

Inside the Obama mind.

“They”? Who in the hell is “they”?

— Lyle Gorch in The Wild Bunch

Recently Barack Obama got into trouble by explaining to an affluent San Francisco audience why the cash-strapped, mostly white, working classes in Pennsylvania and the Midwest do not logically vote for his brand of economic populism, but instead cling to issues that sophisticates can see are extraneous to their economic plight.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

That sentence has been analyzed to death. But a single word struck me — who are Obama’s distant they?

Obama uses pronouns as a way to be ambiguous and let everyone wonder what he means. He is as slippery as anyone who ever ran for public office. He never attacks directly and he always deflects attacks, in both cases as a learned strategy to be hard to pin down and also hard to hit. His Pastor goes on an anti-American rant and Obama responds with a dialog about race. He is very smooth. However this article goes a long way to showing the strategy's real intent. Very good article.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Please Send More Complaints

by Mark Steyn - April 23rd, 2008 - Macleans (Canada)

Last week's letters page included a missive from Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., chief commissioner of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, defending her employees from the accusation of "improper investigative techniques" by yours truly. Steyn, she writes, "provides no substantiation for these claims," and then concludes:
"Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

This article is extremely important, as much as anything because of its timing. As noted by today's posting on my "The Rule of Law" blog, our own Superme Court is narrowing the protection for free speech here in America. That Canada is even worse in its willingness to supress free speech is the point of this articly by Mark Steyn.

America has been a disruption in the history of people living under tyranny and the total power of the state. The abuses of this are well known. The real question is whether America is going to lead the nations of the world toward greater freedom, or whether the seductive power of government handouts will be used to destroy the basis for our freedoms?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Neo Are The Neocons?

by Jonah Goldberg - April 23rd, 2008 -

In the play "Embedded," Tim Robbins' 2003 satire about the Iraq invasion, a thinly veiled Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz shout with Nazi-like gusto, "Hail, Leo Strauss!" and get sexually aroused at the prospect of international conquest. During the post-9/11 age of neo-phobia, when an irrational fear of anything that might be called "neoconservative" gripped the nation, such critiques passed as intelligently nuanced.

Neocons have been attacked as secret Trotskyites, open imperialists and perfidious double agents for Israel. Some think the neocons are something like Jesuits (or perhaps Jewsuits) in the service of their dark anti-pope Strauss, a long-dead, German-Jewish political philosopher who emigrated to the U.S. to escape Hitler.

In a hopeful sign that it's once again safe to discuss the topic sanely, Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment offers a renewed defense of neoconservative foreign policy in the latest issue of World Affairs Journal.

Recent success on the battlefield of Iraq has changed the political dialog in America. The question is whether we can keep the American people involved in this critical dialog long enoungh to see a successful future for our nation?

It is not hopeful that half of all Republicans want us to pull out of Iraq, and are bitter about us going in. They do not want us to lose, as Clinton, Obama, Dean, Pelosi, Reid and the Democrats clearly want us to do. So in that regard they are not in line with the global socialists who have used this issue to smear our national morals. I conintue to try and understand why these Republicans cannot see the need to fight this war against Islamo-fascism on the Iraq front.

My belief is that a major cause of their indifference to Islamo-fscism goals is the incompetence with which George Bush has explained the "war on terror" (as Bush calls it) ever since it started. I personally don't think he has done near as bad a job fighting the war as some think. I also don't think Bush is ready to quit the war, though his imminent retirement from the Presidency makes what to do next a critical question. However his job as President clearly includes leading. At critical times he has not kept the American people adequately informed about who we are fighting and why. He has allowed the vast majority of our people to think of this war as if it is a standard war against another nation. Unfortunately one phase of the current war started out as if it was against the nation of Iraq, even though the only real justification was as a battlefield in the global war against Islamo-fascism. Islamo-fascism is a movement, not a nation. Iraq was an evil nation but its involvement in the global war by Islamic extremists was the determining factor.

This article about neo-conservatives is returning us to the dialog; What are we fighting for? Abraham Lincoln, the founder of our nation, felt it was worth fighting to retain the individual freedom that is the basis of our unique power in the world. America is different and it is a great difference. Lincoln recognized that if we disintegrated into the same sqaubbling regional group of states as had occurred in Europe, that unique quality was certain to be lost. Unity was a key component of the individual freedom that was then, and hopefully remains today, our destiny.

As noted in the Goldberg article, Lincoln and the people he surrounded himself with recognized and revered the unique quality of individual freedom we enjoy and praised the idea that we had a moral right to spread it around the world.

Freedom in America is under attack. It is under attack from three major forces, 1. global socialism (and its internal proponents like, 2. Islamo-fascism and 3. Hispanic colonialism (including Mexican Aztlantism along with other envious neigbors from Central and South America). We have a pro-government anti-freedom elite who lead this attack on behalf of these forces.

Ronald Reagan spoke of the problem when he noted "Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business... frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite."

It is the self-anointed elite who see all three of our major enemies; socialists, islamo-fasicsts and illegal aliens, as justified in their assaults on our way of life. Individual freedom is being lost under these assaults. None of these 3 powers in the world appreciate the total interdependence of individual freedom and the economic success of our nation. Unless we Americans recognize and fight for freedom, including the free enterprise system that is integral to this freedom, the unique greatness of America will end.

Many who currently attack America will find to their own sorrow how much they will have lost by ending the basis for our freedoms.

Sorry To Ruin The Fun,
But An Ice Age Cometh

by Phil Chapman - April 23rd, 2008 - The Australian

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

It is sad but a great number of political leaders have bought into the nonsense that "climate change" is best resisted by seeking expensive energy to replace cheap petroleum and nuclear energy.

The devastation to our economy will be awesome if this is not changed soon. All the leading Democrats have bought in to this nonsense. All evidence that climate change is NOT caused by man and that "greenhouse gases" are irrelevant is ignored.

Even people like Newt Gingrich are now getting on this idiotic bandwagon, as evidenced by his current TV ad with Nancy Pelosi touting this midless mantra. My belief is that this move supports the idea that Gingrich has never been a true conservative. He has always been an egotistical self motivated populist. His latest move certainly supports that contention.

This article makes the case that the previous contention of these same global warming chicken little hysterics from back in the 1980s, "an ice age is coming", may be true after all. The solution in both cases, ice age or global warming, is to seek cheap energy. We know enough to use all forms of energy in a clean way. We can do that without abandoning the most effective forms of energy, especially petroleum.

All the sarcastic, but stupid, insults about supporters of petroleum will not matter if our energy needs skyrocket due to a new ice age, or even a return to global warming. Cheap energy is the solution. No politically correct support for an increase in government regulation and power over our lives will do anything but aggravate the energy problems of our world.

Monday, April 21, 2008

NRA Endorses FRED SMITH For Governor

Press Release

It's Your Freedom -- It's Your Vote!
Vote Freedom First In The May 6 Primary!

Tuesday, May 6 is North Carolina Primary Election Day.

In the Republican Primary, your National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund has endorsed Fred Smith for Governor.

Fred Smith - "A" Rated and NRA-PVF Endorsed

In the race for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, NRA-PVF has endorsed Judge John Tyson for re-election.

John Tyson - "A" Rated and NRA-PVF Endorsed

If you are a registered voter, you are eligible to participate in this Primary election! Be sure to spread the word to your family, friends and fellow gun owners to vote Fred Smith for Governor and John Tyson for Court of Appeals on Tuesday, May 6!

Early voting has already started, so if you wish, go ahead and vote now!

NRA Members can view how candidates in your area measure up on issues of importance to gun owners and sportsmen by visiting or they click on the title above.

Civitas Conservative Leadership Conference
- Day Two

The one thing that is true about the Civitas Institute Conservative Leadership Conference is that you are always well fed. Day two started with a really great breakfast buffett which had everything you could want except for sausage gravy for the grits.

Master of cermonies for the breakfast was Civitas President Francis DeLuca (shown above).

Keynote speaker for the conference breakfast was Steven Lonegan (shown above) of Americans for Prosperity. Steven gave a great motivational speech about protecting the American taxpayer while accomplishing the American dream.

Afterwards I attended two of the Issue Forums, and spent some time blogging in the Exhibit Hall. The two Issue Forums I attended were Education and Family Values.

The Exhibit booths were mostly for either campaigns or organizations involved in the North Carolina political process. Michelle Boorsma (shown above on right) staffed the
Senator Fred Smith booth where she is shown giving away a copy of Fred Smith's autobiography. Traci Brown (shown on left below) staffed the booth for Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina and helped people understand the need to support more options for parents if we are ever to fix the education crisis in our state.

Bob Luebka, Civitas Policy Analyst (shown at podium below), Matt Mittan (on left at table below), Talk Radio Host for WWNC and Representative Dale Folwell (on right at table below), State Legislator from Forsyth County proivided an extremely informative session on Education. A lot of discussion about the problems and opportunities, included one jewel of reality. "Empowerment of kids is the solution, not empowerment of teachers." I didn't write down who said it, but I think it was Dale Folwell. That was the theme of a lot of the conversation. Too much money and concern has been spent on teacher issues. It is time to start putting the kids first.

Francis DeLuca, President of Civitas was back to his Master of Ceremonies duties at the Saturday Luncheon. He introduce the man who introduced the Keynote speaker for the Lunch event.

The person who introduced the Keynote speaker was Art Pope (shown below).

Keynote speaker this day was John Allison (shown below), Chairman and CEO of BB&T, one of the largest and most successful financial holding companies based in North Carolina. Mr. Allison started his speech from the podium, but almost immediately moved out so he had greater contact with the audience. He never returned to the podium during his entire speech. Interesting presentation. He spoke rapidly but clearly about many of the current financial crises facing American, explaining in readily understood terms concepts such as the so called sub-prime mortagage crisis and how we got in to it. It seems to have been lost on most Americans but government actually created the problem by passing a bunch of laws to increase affordable housing. In most cases these laws had a good intention, increasing home ownership. They also had the unintended consequence of encouraging banks and realtors to approve risky loans that should never have been approved.

It was an excellent presentation on the financial markets at this time.

After lunch, I attended the Family Values Forum. This was a discussion that included such people as (from left below) Dr. David Prentice, Sr. Fellow for Life Sciences Family Research Council, Mike Long, Abstinence Education Pioneer, John Rustin, VP and Director of Government Relations for the NC Family Policy Council, and Bill Brooks, President of NC Family Policy Council.

The Plenary Session was on Illegal Immigration. It was chaired by Jameson Taylor (shown below), Civitas Institute Director of Policy.

The panel included Sheriff Daniel Beck of Allen County, Ohio, which includes the town of Lima, and Garrett Roe, Immigration Reform Law Institute Staff Attorney (both shown below).

After the rather frustrating if informative immigration session, which made it clear we still have a court system that is spending its efforts to sabotage immigration security and grant rights to those who are invading our nation, it was good that the next stop was the reception. Something needed to get our minds off the insanity of immigration in America today. At the reception I was able to spend a few minutes with Robert Novak, Political commentator, who was to be the Keynote Speaker of the evening's Dinner. It didn't sound like he was going to cover anything but Washington gossip, which was not all that interesting to me. I decided to get an early start on the long drive home so I skipped the dinner and headed out.

This years Conference was an excellent event. I highly recommend that you attend next year.

Civitas Conservative Leadership Conference
- Dinner With Senator Dole

It was an exciting first day at the Civitas Conservative Leadership Conference. The crowd was still talking about the Gubernatorial Debate and looking forward to hearing from our senior Senator, Elizabeth Dole, as we made our way to the room for Dinner.

While we were waiting for the crowd to gather I got a chance to talk with two of my compatriots on the campaign trail; Joe McLaughlin (shown in center below), candidate for Third District U. S. Congress and Dan Mansell (shown on right below), candidate for Second District U.S. Congress. For those outside the Northeastern NC area who may be unfamiliar with the race, I am the Republican candidate for North Carolina's First District U.S. Congress. You can see my campaign web site here.

The room really started buzzing when Elizabeth Dole arrived, and several people got a chance to meet her and get their pictures taken. Senator Dole is like a rock star in this crowd. She is shown here (center below) with Dodie Renfer (on left below) and Morgan Dickens (on right below).

Francis Deluca, President of Civitas, acted as Master of Ceremonies, and welcomed everyone to the Conference.

Frank Falkson (shown below), former Marine, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I missed the name of the lady who led the invocation (shown below).

There was a good crowd for this years event, but I don't think it measured up to last years event. I am curious why, since Civitas certainly had some great speakers and great events scheduled.

At the table for the dignataries (shown below), they had Representative Howard Coble, NC House, Senator Elizabeth Dole, and Senator Fred Smith, NC Senate.

Introductory speaker this night was Representative Howard Coble (shown below).

Keynote speaker for the evening was Senator Elizabeth Dole. She was, as usual, entertaining and informative.

It was a great ending to a great first day for the 2008 Civitas Conservative Leaderhsip Conference.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Young Republican Convention Has Great Gubernatroial Debate

After I finished my speech at the First District Convention, I left immediately in order to go to the Young Republican Convention in Greensboro. I arrived just before the dinner was going to start and found several people in the hospitality suite. I got my credentials and spoke to some friends.

It was only a short time before the cocktail party preceding the debate got started, and everyone migrated down to that event fairly quickly.

The debate featured the four truly outstanding candidates for Governor that are competing for the Republican nomination, from left, Senator Fred Smith, Bill Graham, Judge Robert Orr and Mayor Pat McCrory.

Afterwards at the dinner, all of the congressional condidates got a chance to speak. The highlight of the event was Congressional Candidate Will Breazeale, running for NC's 7th Congressional District. A guest with him this night was Major Breazeale's translator from Iraq, Benny (Bangin Al Dosakee). Benny became an enthusiastic lover of America because of his relationship with Will in Iraq. He has now immigrated to America and has his green card. Benny keeps saying over and over how incredible it is to be free.

Dean Stephens Keynote Speaker At
- First District Convention

Saturday, April 12th, was an exciting day in First District politics for me. This was the day that I got to address the attendees at the District Convention. By default I am the the candidate representing the District in the race against our socialist opponent in the other party.

When I arrived at the Convention, I was met by two of the hardest working and sweetest ladies in our part of North Carolina. Cathy New and Kim Hendrix (shown below) were working registration and making sure things stayed organized. This convention was important, as it would determine delegates to both the State and National Convention. With the Presidential candidate being selected, this is an important role this year.

Another phenomenal worker is Lynda Blount, (below in center) shown here greeting Bill Fields, the Fred Smith represenative for our area. Lynda is one of the state campaign coordinatros for Elizabeth Dole, our great U.S. Senator.

The convention was a money maker for the candidates, and included a silent auction of some really great items that had been donated for that purpose.

It was good to see John Stallings (shown below on left), Chairman of the Bertie County Republican Party. Since I have been on the campaign trail, I almost never get to talk with John any more. Eddie Browning (across from John on the left), Chairman of the Washington County Republican Party was also there. In addition, Bob Steinburg (right behind John on the left side of the table), Chairman of the Chowan County Republican Party, was there. Bob is also the writer who has the column Conservative Viewpoint which has changed the dialog in so many newspapers in our area.

Another persona I have gotten to know well is Bobby Jones, Chairman of the Perquimans County Republican Party.

Bob Rector (shown below at podium), Chairman of the North Carolina First District Republican Party and Chairman of Granville County Republican Party, called the meeting to order. Beside him is one of our great local party officials, Mike Wilburt, Vice Chairman of First District and Chairman of Warren County.

The other two people shown at the head table for the convention are two of our great local candidates. Chris East (shown on left below) is Republican candidate for Second District NC House and Garland Shepheard (on right) is Republican candidate for Twentythird District NC House.

It was really great to address the convention, and afterwards I headed out for the Young Republican Convention on the same day in Greensboro. It was a little sad that I had to go to both places in the same day, as I would have liked to spend more time with the people at First District. It was a great convention and I hope everyone had as much fun as I had.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Civitas Conservative Leadership Conference
- Gubernatorial Debate

The highlight of the first day of this year's conference was the Gubernatorial Debate. Though the Democrat candidates had been invited, both Richard Moore and Beverly Purdue declined. I think it is interesting that the press never criticize liberals for not participating in debates in forums that are considered conservative, but conservatives are severely chastised for not participating in liberal debate forums.

Before the debates got started, Bill LuMaye of WPTF and Matt Mittan of WWNC were live on the radio from the Civitas Conservative Leadership Conference, conducting radio interviews of the Gubernatorial candidates and other attendees.

Judge Robert Orr (on left) and Senator Fred Smith (standing in middle), talking with Agnes Cheek, Producer of "Take a Stand" from WWNC (standing on the right) and another lady (seated) whose name I missed, while they waited for their turn to be interviewed.

Matt Mittan (above on left) of the "Take a Stand" show on WWNC interviews Judge Robert Orr, Republican candidate for Governor.

The three debate moderators were Brian Freeman (above on left), News Director of WSJS and WMFR, Rick Martinez, Opinion Editor of the News and Observer and Scott Carr (show on right) Anchor at State Government Radio. WSJS, WMFR and State Government Radio carried the Gubernatorial Debate live.

There was excellent attendance at the debate, including a large number of Republican candidates for other positions in the audience.

Bill Graham (center above) and Senator Fred Smith (above on right) are fitted for mics while waiting for the event to start.

Chris Hayes (on left above) of Civitas jokes with three of the candidates, Judge Robert Orr, Bill Graham and Senator Fred Smith.

Francis DeLuca, President of the John W. Pope Civitas Institute welcomed people to the debate and introduced the moderators.

Candidates took their seats on the stage (above). From left Mayor Pat McCrory, Judge Robert Orr, Senator Fred Smith and Bill Graham. Click on the names below for the candidate's web sites.

Senator Fred Smith

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory

Attorney Bill Graham

Judge Robert Orr

The debate was, as usual with these candidates, excellent. Senator Fred Smith (above) is show giving his closing remarks. It was an interesting format . . . much looser than is usually done. This night, there was considerable banter between the candidates. They have done a large number of these debates and at least one reality contributing to the relaxed atmosphere had to be that it is expected this will be the last debate before the primary date, when one of these four will be chosen as the candidate. It has been remarked before, this is an impressive group of candidates. They are much more serious and accomplished individuals than is usually found in any field of candidates. This night they all pledged that they will work together to support whoever is chosen in the primary.

The current polls indicate just how close it is going to be. With 44% of the Republican voters still undecided, any one of the candidates could win depending on how late deciders break, though long time leader in this race Senator Fred Smith, and well known Mayor Pat McCrory continue to be the best regarded prospects.