@NCCapitol

McCrory, Dalton dogged by old questions

Posted October 16, 2012
Updated October 21, 2012

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton could not move past questions that have dogged their respective campaigns as they met for a second debate Tuesday night. 

Many of the answers delivered at UNC-TV's studios in Research Triangle Park were similar to lines delivered in the first debate two weeks ago. That first debate appears to have had little impact on the polls, which constantly show Dalton trailing by 10 to 12 percentage points. 

Asked about that commanding lead during the debate, McCrory said he didn't take it for granted.

"I don't trust the polls. We're going to work until the polls close on November 6th," he said.

Going into Tuesday's debate, political observers generally agreed that McCrory's foremost job was to avoid a gaffe that would somehow change the campaign's narrative. But he had room to improve his position.

"Pat (McCrory) can help himself with a few specifics," said Duke University economist and political science professor Mike Munger. "If he gives specific answers to even a few questions, then the vague platitudes on the big questions won't be so noticeable."

McCrory's biggest opportunity to do that during the debate was on a tax question. McCrory says that he wants to lower the income tax, corporate tax rate and perhaps the gas tax. Dalton challenged that plan.

"Where is the beef? Where is he going to find the $11 billion to do that," Dalton asked. The Democrat said McCrory would have to raise sales taxes in order to accomplish all that.

Dalton makes points, but trails badly Dalton makes points, but trails badly

McCrory said Dalton's sales tax assertion was misleading. 

"The only person who has asked for a sales tax increase are Beverly Perdue and Walter Dalton," McCrory said, pointing to fact checks of Dalton's claim by media outlets. 

However, McCrory didn't describe how he would offset the tax cuts he proposes. 

Asked after the debate how he would pay for those tax cuts, McCrory answered, "I've discussed that with several reporters," saying that he'd be glad to do so again. 

Pressed on the question, "Well again, I've described that before and I'll describe it again one-on-one at another time."

Asked a third time if he could answer the question, McCrory walked away saying, "I have answered the question."

Jack Hawke, an adviser to the McCrory campaign who was on hand for the debate, said that McCrory has outlined goals for reducing tax rates.

"If you give every single detail of a tax plan, how is that a bipartisan, bringing people together?" Hawke said. McCrory wants to work with his political opposition. "You can't tell them what you're going to do. You have to bring them to the table and discuss, to come to the conclusions of what you're ultimately going to do." 

That lack of response drew criticism from Democrats.

"I think we saw Pat McCrory spend an hour on TV and not answer a single question," said Andrew Whalen, a consultant and former executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. 

But Hawke said offering specifics wouldn't do McCrory, or the state, much good in the long run. 

"You're demanding the details. You're demanding he put together something that will be dead on arrival," Hawke said. 

Meanwhile, Dalton struggled to at once define himself as an experienced hand and as someone who hasn't had his hand on the levers of power.

On a question about eliminating government waste, Dalton said he agreed with McCrory that North Carolina needed eliminate redundant boards and commissions.

"I'm glad he agrees with that. The question is why hasn't he done anything about it," McCrory said. "He was the head of the Senate budget committee, he was the lieutenant governor the last four years. He had an opportunity to show leadership to do something about something that's very, very obvious ... Real leadership would have already dealt with that."

Asked after the debate how he reconciled his experience with his lack of control, Dalton compared his time in state government to a college sports player "coming out and going to the pros. Look at what I did in college, but let me get on the pro team and see how it works."

Asked if he was calling the General Assembly "college," Dalton said no, he was just making an analogy.

"There is a difference in the experience that prepares you for a position and actually taking the position itself," he said. 

Dalton and McCrory will face off one more time during a debate on Oct. 24 sponsored by WRAL, North Carolina Wesleyan College and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce.

44 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Damien Thorne Oct 18, 2012

    Again, this is interesting, since I have not seen even one study that suggests that the provisions so far in effect have diminished any jobs at all. I would love for you to show me the studies you are referencing, though. Also interesting because most of the provisions of "Obamacare" have not even taken effect."----jason19

    Typical democrat response, you have to take them by the hand to show them things that they could find on their own if they would just take those blinders off.

  • Damien Thorne Oct 18, 2012

    "You really need a lesson in economics."------Hersh

    Democrats need a lesson in economics. You keep repeating the same lines thinking that someone will believe them. They are based on false premises and not in reality. Even history shows the accuracy of the simple logic of cutting spending to increase revenue.

    Even my 6 year old kid understands that.

  • Damien Thorne Oct 18, 2012

    "Demand creates more jobs which depends not only on spending but on efficiency of workers, factories, etc. Another of several flaws in your logic is that there are many things made overseas that we buy. Simply spending more doesn't mean more jobs here. Now If you don't want a clean environment, that's on you. If you want to cut things like food safety in the name of tax cuts, that's on you. If you don't want to name the billions you'd cut, it shows that you are a fraud repeating lines you heard on a right wing radio station."----Hersh

    Yes, you would cut something like an environmental program or something that helps out kids. Instead of cutting the $100 million dollars to watch grass grow. It is that inept stance that has created the fiscal problems NC faces now.

    You do not have to cut environmental programs, food safety programs or childrens programs. These are only talking points from mindless democrats that do not understand simple economics and getting rid of pork.

  • jason19 Oct 18, 2012

    "My former employer laid off engineers and added finance people (accountants) after Sarbanes-Oxley came into existence." --- Interesting, because I know of several that actually hired additional workers to comply with the law.

    "Obama Care is and continues to be a massive job killer." --- Again, this is interesting, since I have not seen even one study that suggests that the provisions so far in effect have diminished any jobs at all. I would love for you to show me the studies you are referencing, though. Also interesting because most of the provisions of "Obamacare" have not even taken effect.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 17, 2012

    "Damien, I am sure you mean well, but studies have shown this largely not to have been the case throughout modern history, other than a few outliers. So if low rates create jobs, why don't we have more jobs now?"

    Because our taxes are not low. the Rate is just one factor for business. As you operate, you get hit with additional taxes, fees, etc... My former employer laid off engineers and added finance people (accountants) after Sarbanes-Oxley came into existence. So they eliminated people that helped them design and produce products because they had to accommodate providing all the additional information required by that law to the Federal Government. A double whammy. So in effect from a business standpoint it has the same impact as a tax. You are putting out money and the return to the company for that money is zero. Obama Care is and continues to be a massive job killer. Sadly it is also harmful to our entire health care system.

  • sunshine1040 Oct 17, 2012

    The more people working full time jobs means more people paying taxes which means more money going to the state. That is if they are working under their own social security number.

  • gopack1999 Oct 17, 2012

    "Perhaps your view of the real world is not an actual real world view. It is a perception fed to you."

    You really need a lesson in economics. Demand creates more jobs which depends not only on spending but on efficiency of workers, factories, etc. Another of several flaws in your logic is that there are many things made overseas that we buy. Simply spending more doesn't mean more jobs here.
    Now If you don't want a clean environment, that's on you. If you want to cut things like food safety in the name of tax cuts, that's on you. If you don't want to name the billions you'd cut, it shows that you are a fraud repeating lines you heard on a right wing radio station.

    Last exercise: if the state brings in a billion dollars less next year, a billion dollars would have to be cut. No economy will grow fast enough with high enough salary jobs to make up that difference in any meaningful way. If you want to cut $11 billion, you are going to have to cut billions in services.

  • Damien Thorne Oct 17, 2012

    "Having started a business myself, I just don't entirely agree. The only thing I would change in NC is making it *simpler* to know exactly which permits you need in a given area. The cost was not very prohibitive; the problem was simply knowing if I had the right permits and whatnot."---jason19

    Very good point, and glad you were able to do what you needed to do. I have to wonder what would have happened if you had gotten the wrong permits. It would seem weird, that there would even be any kind of uncertainty to start a business. But then again it has a lot to do with the type of business you start and where.

    I get the impression that McCrory would do things to erase that uncertainty, make it easier to start a business and develop ways to encourage people to do just that, and hopefully encourage businesses already here to expand and grow. Dalton seemed to have a more aggressive stance against business.

    Hopefully yours will succeed and I wish you all the best of luck.

  • jason19 Oct 17, 2012

    "First off you have to remove regulations that hinder business creation. Every time you turn around there is some kind of study saying you cannot build here because someone saw a mussel that may be endangered, or a bird flew by that may actually stop to rest here."
    If the studies are bunk, I agree. But are they bunk? Where do you draw the line between keeping the environment and wildlife safe and doing business?

    "Too many hoops to jump through to try to start a business."
    Having started a business myself, I just don't entirely agree. The only thing I would change in NC is making it *simpler* to know exactly which permits you need in a given area. The cost was not very prohibitive; the problem was simply knowing if I had the right permits and whatnot.

  • Damien Thorne Oct 17, 2012

    "Damien, I am sure you mean well, but studies have shown this largely not to have been the case throughout modern history, other than a few outliers. So if low rates create jobs, why don't we have more jobs now?"----jason19

    First off you have to remove regulations that hinder business creation. Every time you turn around there is some kind of study saying you cannot build here because someone saw a mussel that may be endangered, or a bird flew by that may actually stop to rest here. There have been "economic development areas" created that force taxpayers to pay more to live there and try to steer business to that specific area. Let them build wherever. Just look at the regulations put in place and correlate that with job creation. Too many hoops to jump through to try to start a business.

More...