Local Politics

Neal Plays Up Being Outsider, Not Being Out

Posted October 23, 2007
Updated October 24, 2007

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— Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal said Tuesday that he doesn't think being a gay man should stand in the way of his campaign.

Neal revealed his sexual orientation publicly over the weekend during an online discussion organized by BlueNC.com, a liberal blog. But he said his family and friends have known about his lifestyle for years, and he doesn't foresee it as a campaign issue.

"I have faith in the innate goodness of the people of this state and country to make an informed decision and to look beyond all the fear-mongering, preconceived notions (and) prejudices that may exist. I think we've moved beyond that," he said. "I'm not running to make a political statement; I'm running to lead."

The Chapel Hill corporate financial adviser said he has "always been out," calling himself a political outsider who would play closer attention to the needs of North Carolina than Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

"I understand what the problems are and the issues are that confront the people of this country, as opposed to what the political agenda is of a professional politician like Sen. Dole," he said. "Sen. Dole is part of a process that is out of touch with reality."

One such issue is President George W. Bush's recent veto to not expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which is designed to cover children in families that don't qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. Dole joined most other Republicans in declining to override the veto.

About 120,000 children in North Carolina would be covered if SCHIP had been approved, Neal said.

"How she can turn a deaf ear on that, I don't understand," he said of Dole. "I don't understand it as a parent. I don't understand it as a human being."

Neal said he prefers having the gay issue out in the open because it prevents rumor-mongering on the campaign trail.

"I'm glad that they can't whisper anymore," he said. "They can shout. I can hear that. But there's nothing to whisper about because it's no secret."

He said he plans to "erect a firewall" around his family – he has two grown sons with his ex-wife – and personal life because they aren't part of the campaign.

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  • hpr641 Oct 24, 2007

    Mr. Neal: If you don't think being gay is an issue, why did YOU make it the very first thing you said about yourself?

    Also, let me give you some background about S-CHIP. Generally, nobody had health insurance until recently - you went to the doctor, got treated, paid your bill, and went home. The poor began being covered under Medicare, because hospitals are legally required to treat everyone, and they'd go broke if the government didn't reimburse them. In 1997, the government & hospitals saw that they'd still go bankrupt by treating everyone who was between poor enough for Medicare and "rich enough" to afford insurance ... so the Republicans led the effort to start SCHIP. President Bush wants to expand its funding to continue allowing it for everyone it currently allows. The Dems. eventually want universal health insurance, so they decide to push an S-CHIP expansion "for the children" ... which in this case is 18-25yo "children" of those making $45-83K/yr.

  • gpd Oct 24, 2007

    SCHIP, I think everyone is going to try to get voted in on that one premise alone. $41,000 per person in a household is NOT poverty. My parents were making $3,000 a year when I was born and refused any social welfare assistance. They wouldn't even apply for free lunches at school. Why? Because whatever they got they wanted to work for it. Today poverty is measured by how many cars you have, and how many televisions you have. This issue needs to be attacked at the root of the problem with the health insurance companies who are raising their rates and yet seeing millions of dollars in profits each year. Health care costs are too high, but our answer is to throw more money at the problem?

    We're so incredibly spoiled.

  • Steve Crisp Oct 23, 2007

    To libandproud:

    Just to clear up two misconceptions.

    One: Republicans who are elected in this country did not write books well before their running for office that blamed all our problems on gays, Jews, and others while at the same time recommending that if only they were to disappear all things would be better. Hitler did and yet the people still elected him. And elected is way too strong a word. Check out http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-hitlerdemo.htm

    Two: I never linked the KKK to Democrats. What I did say was a statement of truth that Democrats founded the KKK. I leave you with a Wiki article that is very well cited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

  • Commentor5 Oct 23, 2007

    Libandproud - to answer you question quite simply, the reason homosexuality is a threat our nation is because people like you continue to support it and condone it - that's why its a threat. The more people support it, the more the country will continue nose-diving into absurdity. I don't remember homosexuality being "praised and defended" when America was founded (if you think that is was condoned 200 years ago, I challenge you to find it in the historical texts and share it with all of us debating this issue). Otherwise, I stand firm on my beliefs that homosexuality is wrong and is sending our country downhill - can you prove otherwise? What benefit has the homosexual agenda and lifestyle provided to America? Can you name just one thing that has been a positive contribution?

  • SANDHILL Oct 23, 2007

    It will not be a problem for me if he wants to be gay I do not have to vote for him. As for Dole not being for the SCHIP's 120,000 more on the government hand out apparently she knows some one has to pay for it, and that someone is us.

  • atozca Oct 23, 2007

    "The time to nip the hate-mongering in the bud is BEFORE it gets to the point of rounding up & killing people. If you think it could never happen in this country you are very much mistaken." Libandproud

    The only hatred I truly see in this country is the hatred of Christians and/or anyone conservative. And you are right, it can happen in this country however, it is not the gays who are truly being persecuted. What some of you don't seem to be mature enough to understand is that to say a persons actions are wrong is not the equivalent of hating or being afraid of that person. I know it angers some of you that I don't "just believe" that people are born gay and that it is ok. I respect that some of you believe it is ok and that is fine, be gay and be ok with those who are gay, don't demand that the rest of us have to approve or condone. The intolerate liberal mind is what scares me most.

  • atozca Oct 23, 2007

    WRAL, why did you drop the comment box from the previous story (http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/1957284/)? I noticed that after I left a comment earlier today referencing that story and the comments, the comments disappeared. I found all the post to be relevant to the story that promoted civil discussion and was looking forward to some responses to some good questions.... Why the censorship?

  • Libandproud Oct 23, 2007

    "Homosexuality is a threat to our nation" Commentator5

    Can you explain how homosexuality is a threat to our nation?

  • ThePunisher Oct 23, 2007

    If you're going up against Elizabeth Dole, might as well put up your sacraficial candidate and write it off. Better than having no opposition I guess.

    the "being an outsider" is one of the most overplayed campaign tactics, as worn out as supporting the latest tax increase or law because "it's for the children".

  • dryhumper Oct 23, 2007

    This will be a close race. Liddy 'plastic face' Dole is stretched so far out that her support for the war, Bush and the other Larry Craig Christian Evangelicals will make her an easy target. Good luck to Mr. Neal in 08.

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