Wake GOP chair has strong words for Perdue
Posted February 17, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. — The leader of the Wake County Republican Party stood by Friday her comment to a large crowd of GOP activists in which she described Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue as "the dumbest governor in America."
Susan Bryant, chairwoman of the Wake County GOP, spoke Thursday night shortly after Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory gave a speech to the local precinct organizational meeting at Dorton Arena in Raleigh. After McCrory left the building, Bryant offered meeting instructions sprinkled in with comments designed to energize the party faithful for the 2012 election cycle.
Bryant told the crowd "we still have the dumbest governor in America" in Perdue and that the only thing "that she's done right is deciding not to run."
Spokesmen for Perdue on political matters and the state Democratic Party denounced the comment. Perdue announced three weeks ago she wasn't running for re-election this year.
"North Carolinians do not condone these kind of personal attacks," Perdue spokesman Marc Farinella wrote in an email, adding that "Bryant's remarks do not contribute anything to the public dialog."
Former 2nd District Congressman Bob Etheridge, who is running to succeed Perdue as governor, also criticized the remark.
"Not only is it unfortunate, it's unacceptable for anyone," Etheridge said late Friday at a Democratic Party gathering. "It's just not common decency, but to say it about the chief executive is absolutely unacceptable, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves and they ought to apologize for it."
Bryant defended the remark through county GOP spokesman Luther Snyder, who said it "was a political comment, not a personal one" and was based on several actions and comments by Perdue with which she did not agree. They include a comment last fall in which Perdue suggested congressional elections be suspended for two years to ease gridlock in Washington. The governor later called the comment sarcasm.
Bryant also cited Perdue's veto of a bill that would require photo identification to vote and her proposal to raise the sales tax by three-fourths of a penny for education spending after a temporary tax was allowed to expire last year, according to Snyder.
"She's going to stand by the quote," he said.
Soon after Democrats called on McCrory to disavow the statement and tell her to apologize, the former Charlotte mayor distanced himself from Bryant's remark.
"Pat doesn't agree with or condone those comments," McCrory campaign spokesman Brian Nick said.
Speaking earlier this week after filing his candidacy papers at the State Board of Elections, McCrory said he would run a positive campaign in 2012 bid like he said he did in his 2008 campaign: "We're very proud of the type of campaign we run and the message that we've conveyed."
But he's been a repeated critic of Perdue's policies going back to their 2008 general election campaign in which he blamed Perdue, then the lieutenant governor, for enabling a "culture of corruption" within state government.
McCrory didn't hit hard on that point in Thursday's night Wake County GOP precinct meeting, except to say the culture and policies of Perdue and preceding Gov. Mike Easley were unacceptable for North Carolina's future. He also received applause when he said the Republican goal was almost halfway complete because "Beverly Perdue will not be the next governor of North Carolina."