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NAACP to use empty chair for McCrory at NC convention

Posted October 11, 2012
Updated October 12, 2012

— The North Carolina NAACP is taking a page from Clint Eastwood to stage a gubernatorial debate at its three-day annual convention in Raleigh.

Republican candidate Pat McCrory declined to attend the convention, meaning he can't debate Democratic candidate Walter Dalton on Saturday before the convention closes.

Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president, said his organization will put an empty chair on stage with McCrory's name on it.

"We don't talk to the chair. We just sit it out there so that people know the invitation was given," Barber said.

At the Republican National Convention in August, Eastwood drew mixed reviews for talking to an empty chair and implying that he was having a conversation with President Barack Obama.

Barber said the NAACP is nonpartisan, and members wanted to hear from McCrory on issues like education, poverty and voting rights.

He said he's disappointed by what seems to be McCrory's second snub of the state's largest civil rights group. The former Charlotte mayor also declined to attend the NAACP state convention in 2008, when he ran against Gov. Beverly Perdue.

"I don't know what his motivation was, but I know, if he's running to be governor, he ought to run to be governor for all the people, not some of the people," Barber said. "He should be here to talk about these hard issues – the heart issues – the real issues that really matter in this election."

McCrory campaign spokesman Brian Nick said a schedule conflict prevented the candidate from attending the convention.

"We have had to turn down dozens and dozens of event requests during this campaign because Pat can't be everywhere at once," Nick said in an email to WRAL News. "I'm sure Mr. Dalton hasn't been able to attend every single invitation he's received either."

Race recently became an issue in the campaign when Dalton supporters accused McCrory of failing to understand African-Americans. McCrory called that a dirty campaign tactic.

The convention theme is "If We Ever Needed to Vote ... We Sure Do Need to Vote Now!" The meeting will focus on voter education, voter protection and voter mobilization.

Barber will give the annual "State of Civil Rights in N.C." address, followed by a news conference about several subjects, including the NAACP's coalition with lawyers to fight voter intimidation and suppression.

Watchdog groups against voter fraud have said they'll send observers to the polls this year to challenge any suspicious voters. Barber said he thinks minority voters will be targeted, and the NAACP is training members on what to do in case of an unfair challenge.

"Only after we have this massive broad and diverse electorate in 2008 is all this suggestion about fraud, all this suggestion about something's wrong," he said. "(It's) as though people can't handle the results of 2008."

An awards banquet Saturday features national NAACP President Ben Jealous.

85 Comments

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  • highvolt1 Oct 15, 7:12 p.m.

    How Stupid. Barber, why don't you just go away

  • storchheim Oct 12, 7:44 p.m.

    Moderate - you're classy to say so.

  • WooHoo2You Oct 12, 4:43 p.m.

    kermit60,

    -If the NAACP were so concerned about their rights, then why do they stand by and watch their own people kill each other.

    By the same logic why do we spend so much time ‘protecting’ others on the other side of the world when there are so many people that need help here?

    - It seems that dozens of blacks have been killed around the area and the NC NAACP has said nothing.

    There are THOUSANDS of programs the NAACP supports nationwide to help ‘troubled’ youths (of all colors BTW).

    -Yet a white police officer stops a black driver and they scream profiling.

    When it is 75 percent of the time and blacks only make up 25 percent of the population.

    -Is it because most of the ones doing the killing were also black?

    That is exactly the problem….you take your PERCEPTION as fact.

  • WooHoo2You Oct 12, 4:39 p.m.

    piene2: "I would guess that for every one voter voting for President Obama because of his color there are ten voters voting for Romney because of the president's color." Ok, genius, how did Obama get elected in the first place?-Paladin2

    They did not think he had chance last time but they know he will most likely win this time ;)

  • YippiYiyoKiYay Oct 12, 4:35 p.m.

    The chair was the one Barber was supposed to sit in but for some reason, he's choosing not too. Something about manufacturer stress limits.

  • WooHoo2You Oct 12, 4:24 p.m.

    Wow, what a novel idea....not that anyone in the NAACP has ever had one. The organization itself is pointless and outdated. I'd like to see the NAACP and the KKK convention together. Maybe they'd take each other out and America could get on about our future.-BubbaDukeforPresident

    Let me know the last time the NAACP burned down a church, bombed an abortion clinic, killed a man by dragging him behind a pickup, etc then and only then can we compare the two groups….

  • archangel44369 Oct 12, 4:22 p.m.

    They can't get their own punch line so they borrow one....
    This is their whole way of thinking...Take what belongs to others. Not that they really want it...they just don't want to have it.

  • Paladin2 Oct 12, 4:01 p.m.

    piene2: "I would guess that for every one voter voting for President Obama because of his color there are ten voters voting for Romney because of the president's color." Ok, genius, how did Obama get elected in the first place?

  • Paladin2 Oct 12, 3:57 p.m.

    Barber's statement that the NAACP is nonpartisan is a blatant lie.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Oct 12, 3:48 p.m.

    Wow, what a novel idea....not that anyone in the NAACP has ever had one. The organization itself is pointless and outdated. I'd like to see the NAACP and the KKK convention together. Maybe they'd take each other out and America could get on about our future.

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