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Governor’s words in Wilson spark statewide controversy
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Governor’s words in Wilson spark statewide controversy

Gov. Pat McCrory’s words are under the media microscope as critics accuse him of lying about mingling with Moral Monday protesters.

The governor’s remarks in a Wilson Times story Thursday set off a firestorm of controversy. His communications director said Friday that he’s spoken to demonstrators outside the legislative building on many occasions.

"Gov. Pat McCrory interacts with many people, including protesters,” spokeswoman Kim Genardo said in a statement. "Every day, he walks to and from work, to meetings in government buildings and throughout the city of Raleigh. When possible, the governor will stop and chat with the people of North Carolina.”

McCrory’s words in a Wilson Times interview led many to believe he’d claimed to have walked through the crowd during Moral Monday protests. The General Assembly police chief and the state NAACP chapter that organizes the weekly protests said they haven’t seen McCrory in the crowds.

"We have not seen nor heard from the governor,” the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said in an email to the Times. "And his description of Moral Monday once again reveals he hasn’t seen or chosen to really listen to us, but instead, continues to be dismissive of the very citizens he was elected to serve, which is disrespectful to the purpose of his office as governor.”

McCrory raised eyebrows across the Tar Heel State when he said he "go(es) out into the crowd all the time” in response to a question about the Moral Monday protests. Dozens of newspapers, television stations, websites and blogs reported the statement.

The Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer of Raleigh featured the story prominently on their websites Friday. Pundits poked fun at McCrory for the dubious claim, with editorial page editor Allen Johnson of the Greensboro News & Record asking sardonically, "Does he moonlight as a ninja?”

Left-leaning commentators like Chris Fitzsimon of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch skewered the governor. Civil rights blogger Thurman Hubbard said McCrory’s attendance at the Monday protests against the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s social policies would not have gone unnoticed.

"I have been present at three of the last four Moral Monday protests,” Hubbard wrote, "and as others have already pointed out, with so many cameras running at every event, if McCrory had been ‘in the crowd,’ not only would it have been recorded, it would have been widely reported.”

McCrory’s Moral Monday quote inspired a parody Twitter account, @patwasthere, which features crude cutouts of McCrory digitally added to iconic images like The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover and the toppling of the Berlin Wall.

North Carolina’s governor appears on the balcony with Pope Francis on the beach with the Wright Brothers and in a scene from the much-buzzed-about television movie "Sharknado.” The account racked up 367 followers in the 24 hours since it was created.

Times reporter Janet Conner-Knox interviewed McCrory while he was in Wilson to announce that Wells Fargo had expanded its agribusiness team and would make more loans to eastern North Carolina farmers.

At 9 minutes and 27 seconds into the taped interview, she asks McCrory if he’d agree to meet with Moral Monday protesters.

"Folks at Moral Monday — growing, diverse group of folks,” Conner-Knox said in the recorded interview. "Are you ever going to give them an audience?”

"Listen, I go out into the crowd all the time,” McCrory replied. "In fact, frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of people who call themselves moral by cussing me out. But, you know, that’s the way things go sometimes. But I welcome, I welcome protesters. What I don’t accept is when they break the law.”

McCrory may have been referencing a Tuesday abortion protest when he said "yesterday” during the Wednesday interview, Genardo said. She called the Times’ quotations "absolutely accurate.”

McCrory went on to say that he participated in Raleigh protests when he served as mayor of Charlotte.

"I welcome protesters, we welcome their feedback from all parts of the state, from all political divisions,” he said. "They’re talking about 30 or 40 different issues, many different, diverse groups, which are fine. But I don’t accept them blocking public — the democratic business from being done. And that’s the only difference I have. I welcome their input, I welcome their feedback, but I don’t agree with them breaking the law and taking up valuable resources, local resources in that area, to have to take them to jail.”

Hundreds of Moral Monday protesters have been arrested after refusing to leave the legislative building. Many anticipated the arrests and call their refusal to disperse an act of civil disobedience.

Some pundits like Mitch Kokai of the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation said McCrory was probably speaking generally about his interactions with protesters and didn’t mean to imply he’d mingled with Moral Monday crowds.

"It’s hard for me to believe he was trying to say, ‘I go out into this official Moral Monday crowd all the time,’ because there would be so many ways to prove that wrong or right,” Kokai said. "I don’t think it was an overt attempt to deceive at all.”

Kokai predicted the controversy surrounding McCrory’s words would be chalked up to a misunderstanding and quickly die down.

"I don’t think it’s going to be a major controversy unless the governor makes it so,” he said. "If the governor made some sort of statement that seemed to suggest, ‘Yes, I was at the official Moral Monday protest and you should have seen me, because I was there,’ then I think it would continue to live on.” | 265-7821
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Terry said...

Wrong, these Republicans run middle of the road and then start taking away people's rights...this guy is so arrogant he though he could get away with lying. It was not a misunderstanding and it will not go away...the one term governor is at the beginning of his failed term...unemployed thrown to the wolves, women rights under assault in a sneak attack, and now an attempt to restrict minority voting....shame on you governor ...we are watching you and your police state tactics aimed at peaceful protestors who by the way are more popular than you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM
Elmer Here said...

Speculation I dont know you but you seem to have more venum than a poison snake. Im just a man whose lived over 65 years on this earth and has seem a lot. I dont have any bad things to say about you becase I dont hate nobody. I was brought up better than that.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 9:10 PM
Speculating said...

In fact no one really contributes to the conversation in a meaningful way exept me. I'm smarter and more articulate than anyone who posts here. I can also poot "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 11:44 PM
@Take a deep breath said...

I'm in agreement with you Honey! It's about jobs and survival!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Speculating said...

I'm guessing Elmer and Wildtorn are the same person...and neither really contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. When I encounter their comments, this is what I think of:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Wildtorn said...

Thank you @Wildtorn. And I have not desided yet about running. There has been alot of people who are asking me. I did not mean the zomby show was real I just said if was possible. Look at all those picturs at the Ejyption piramids and on cave walls. They saw something. thats a fact.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 9:56 PM @ Wildtorn said...

Zombies must have bitten you some time ago. You should be in government, as a Republican. You and Bucky Boy have a lot in common. And I don't mean sense.

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 7:02 PM To to Lets Sum It Up said...

I hope you are not still in school. Your punctuation and grammar are atrocious.

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM take a deep breath said...

Whether he did or did not say something appears to be a misunderstanding. Those of you who can't let it go.... Let it go. How about asking him how he plans to get to lure more jobs into Wilson County? He is a businessman from Charlotte so what's the plan? Doesn't matter how "moral" you are on "monday" if you can't put food on the table.

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 4:57 PM robert said...

to mr. william barber you are correct when you said governor mccroy was elected to serve the people of n.c. and that means all of the people not just the naacp so you need to try and remember that.

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 11:22 PM Wildtorn said...

I have read all I can take. Some of you are a real peech. Did the governer go out to the cerowd I don't know. I have seen the show about zombys. I know that it is not real but however I do believe it is possible. If a person gets bitrn by a zomby they turn in to one too. The zombys like go around in crowd. That might be why the Governer is afraid to go out in to the wcrowd if he has seen the show

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 10:28 PM astute observer said...

Luv those caps, Big Pal!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 8:29 PM Pretty sad said...

Based on my observation, 20% of the comments thus far have come from one wing nut (you know who you are, and your caps lock does too). It's a shame that the WDT censors some comments while letting certain others' repeated drivel see the light of day.

Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 6:09 AM It is over Pat! said...

As a supporter of Pat's bid for Governor I, and many others, are disappointed to realize his potential as Governor has already been ruined by the radical Republican Legislature. I had great concern that Governor McCrory would face stiff opposition from the Republicans if he tried to govern in a positive and progressive manner as he did as Mayor of Charlotte. Under his leadership, Charlotte grew into the shining star of the southeast by embracing the ability of government and business to work together and move the city forward. Unfortunately, this is not the philosophy of today's Republican Party who is moving our state backwards on wave of social issues that divide the citizens of our state. The Republican House and Senate are producing legislation that is embarrassing to North Carolina and hurting our reputation as an inviting, pro-business state by advancing discrimination, restricting personal freedom and causing uncertainty by seizing the property of cities and counties and giving them to organizations led by their financial backers. Governor McCrory has been shut out of the management of the state and the prospects for his administration and political future are bleak. We have lost a great opportunity to the radical Republicans now controlling the legislature. What a shame!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM to lets sum it up said...

are you saying capitol police are arresting people without any legal reason? Jesus Christ. if that is the case the Obama Justice dept should intervene immediately. that is like a dictator state. I despise the" moron Monday" people but I will go up there and fight and get arrested myself if you can prove to me these idiots are being arrested for no reason and are not breaking the law when they are ordered to disburse by law enforcement and they refuse to. does the constitution say people have the right to break the law? Obtw the key is "peacefully" assemble

Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 11:00 PM get a job said...

get a life, get over it. he was elected by the majority of N C voters. end of story. no conversation, no discussion. I like him and think he and the republican administration are doing a great job trying to get this stae back on firm fiscal ground and get the freeloaders off their butts. the economy is turning around and jobs are available. there is nothing wrong with protesting as long as you do it in a peaceful way and obey the laws of this state. if you don't you go to jail and are fined.

Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 10:50 PM Joy said...

The unemployed need to go find a job. There are plenty available.

Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 9:03 PM Message said...

For all those who support Republican policies against the poor and downtrodden, refer to the Bible. Matthew 25:40 - Jesus said "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 8:15 PM said...

What's Moral Monday?

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 8:00 PM Get A Grip said...

The Man told a flat out lie, and you people who are trying to protect him know he lied!! 70,000 people are without unemployment insurance and jobs. How can these people survive? People can talk when they think they have it all, but things can change for selfish people in a twinkle. The bible says "that which ye soweth, ye shall also reap". I hope McCrory enjoys his term because he will not get another one. Just wait and see. For the record: This article has nothing to do with President Obama, he didn't take away the citizens of NC means of survival, McCrory did, then gave himself a raise along with his cabinet. That was soooo inconsiderate, selfish, in poor taste, and very unbecoming of a person in a leadership position!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 7:13 PM Elmer said...

What we got here is a real sityation. He said she said, I dont know. When I told a lie when I was a youngun, my daddy whupped me somthin terrible, I hurt om my bottom for some days. I learnt right then and their not to tell no lie. Now I aint sayin the govener told one causin I wont there when he said that what he said. I jest know lieing aint good no time no where. My daddy sure didnt think so neither.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM Lets Sum This Up said...

To "I don't blame him": So I suppose you and the governor would have considered Ghandi and King "law breaking protesters" also. I would ask, where do you draw the line? Perhaps you need to read the Constitution, and in particular the 1st Amendment. If your party keeps cutting education in this state, there will be more misinformed people like you in the future. The right to peacefully assemble is a guaranteed right, my friend. Protesters in Raleigh are not destroying any property, they are only exercising their constitutional right to address their grievances.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM Love these conservatives said...

who think protesters are lawbreakers. In the American Revolution, we called you people "Tories" and we tarred and feathered you because you were un-American. We'd still be speaking with British accents if you folks had your way.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 2:18 PM deal with / we have to with obama said...

the majority of the people of NC sent a 140 year corrupt , politically patronizing stranglehold of liberal, big spending democrats packing two elections ago and a long line of corrupt democratic governors packing last time with them and expanded the republican majority in both houses of the state legislature. state employees and teachers got their first raise in five years under the republican majority as well as additional vacation or comp time. the Majority of North Carolinians voted against same sex marriage, bigger spending and rejected Osama Oblamer for another term. anyone who doesn't like it can vote against them next time. I don't blame him for not going out into a hostile, race baiting , crowd of these moronic Monday lawbreakers spurred on by this circus clown Rev Barber and the NAACP who would only cuss him and shout over him. . if the court system would give them a 5 day active sentence and a 1000 dollar fine and add a day active sentence and an additional 500 dollars per occurrence maybe these idiots would get the message.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM Why is it... said...

that these Teapublicans always need Mith Kokai and the John Locke Foundation to think and speak for them? Perhaps they are like the scarecrow?

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 12:32 PM LIKE IT OR NOT said...


Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM Privileged white Christian senior said...

With the national news putting a negative spin on North Carolina, the governor's response may reflect his anger with the people he believes are responsible. So, he blurts whatever comes to mind when asked about "Moral Mondays" and no surprise, tells a boldface lie. I'm a white, privileged senior citizen who's been to Moral Mondays and he's not been there. His response to the reporter's question was an immature, deceitful attempt to retaliate. That Moral Mondays are being led by the NAACP makes his retaliatory remarks racist. Old South white power is what the GOP legislation these days is all about. The governor just can't own up to it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM Rob George said...

See #govwaldo

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM Dont you said...

think there is more than one door from which he me enter?

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 9:08 AM Common Cents said...

Wow I can't believe that a politician could tell a lie this is so rare! Like the President hasn't lied yet either. I also can't believe that Mr. Barber is complaining! Oh no, the sky is falling. Please, this story is nothing more than trying to stir up more trouble. This is not the way to go about getting things done.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 8:41 AM Lynn Robinson said...

Just face it. The man lied to cover his back and look good. Instead proved that he can lie also. They promise anything to get into office, but once they get in the real person will surface. Don't try to make excuses for him. He showed his true colors having those people arrested in Raleigh. Now that was uncalled for. He is not the president.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 8:24 AM ??? said...

This Rev really makes me sick...All the sticking his nose in something. What does the NAACP have to do with this..oh, I forgot??????/

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 1:48 AM Bit Chiz said...

Impeach him.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 12:02 AM i dont blame him said...

for not speaking with this radical bunch of lawbreakers. they are disrespectful to anyone or any group who doesn't share their views. if the court system would give each law-breaking protester a 3 day active sentence and a 1000 dollar fine and add an additional day active sentence and an additional 500 dollar fine for each subsequent occurrence maybe they would get the message after awhile.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 11:35 PM you cant handle the truth said...

he goes out into crowds all the time and intermingles with supporters and opponents all the time. the "immoral Monday " crowds are mostly a bunch of liberal democrats , spurred on by the NAACP and this radical Rev Barber , who is just looking for attention any way he can to keep his "freeloading " lifestyle and organization going. the people of this state made the decision to get rid of a 140 year stranglehold of corrupt, ,political patronizing, big spending democratic majority in both houses of the state general assembly a a long line of corrupt democratic governors in the last two elections. this state was and is head over heels in debt and most of us are glad to see something being done about it. stae employees and teachers went 5 years without a raise under the previous democratic majority and while it wasn't a great deal, got a pay raise and additional vacation or comp time under the new republican majority. if the NAACP and the same bunch who put Osama Oblamer back in office for another term don't like it they can vote them out next election if they can. good luck with that. NC doesn't like same sex marriage and didn't support Oblamer last time. like it or not the majority rules.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM The Constitution? said...

Since when is a peaceful protest illegal and require 'valuable resources' be used to stop the exercising of rights?
When 'designated protest zones', well away from the event itself, were established for 'security'.
Any peaceful group of protesters should be able to walk right down main street.
The drivers will just have to suck it up an inconvenient cost of freedom.
If enough people block up traffic, the politicians will have to listen.
This crap about applying for permits to gather and protest is in direct conflict with the Bill of Rights.
Every time a court decides a right cant be taken away but can be regulated and restricted, we fall one step closer to being an enslaved people.
Chains or not, that's where we are headed fast.
Just because we have cable tv and smart phones does not mean we cannot be enslaved economically and politically.

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 10:54 PM Lets Sum This Up said...

The WT reporter asks the governor specifically about the "folks at Moral Monday" demonstrations, and if he "is ever going to give them (Moral Monday protesters) an audience. A pretty clear question, right? McCrory's answer is also crystal clear. Maybe the gov made the mistake of believing he could say what he said, and get away with it, because this was Wilson, not Raleigh, Greensboro or Charlotte. A lie is a lie no matter where it is uttered. I guess it took his spin doctors a day or so to come up with another lie to cover his lie. Now they tell us he wasn't talking about Moral Monday protesters, but rather those he runs into on the streets of Raleigh each day as he walks about. I guess next we will be told he discovered electricity, built the first automobile and made a hole-in-one on each hole the first time he ever played golf. Oh wait, someone else, some Korean guy, has already claimed that one. At any rate, we have a wonderful governor, now don't we?

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 10:17 PM
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