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Gov. Easley's Term Marked By Adversities

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Four years after his first acceptance speech, Gov. Mike Easley says he needs more time to finish what he started.

"We've got to fully transition this economy to new and better jobs," Easley said. "And I think we can get that done in the next two- to three-year period."

Like governors before him, his term has had success and failure.

"The thing that I'm most proud of has to be getting the budget balanced and investing in education at the same time," Easley said.

Still Easley says he wishes some things had turned out differently during the last four years.

"I wish I had gotten an education lottery. I wish I had gotten from the legislature more funds for economic development," Easley said.

His four-year term has been marked by natural disasters -- from a punishing drought to a record flood, and multiple hurricanes. During his term, voters were as likely to see Mike Easley in what he calls 'disaster casual,' as they were in a business suit.

"The most important thing is to judge not on whether you met the adversities, but whether you made progress in spite of adversities," Easley said.

His lead in the polls seems insurmountable, but you wouldn't know it by the barrage of attack ads he's launched at his Republican opponent, Patrick Ballantine. Still, he says he is not worried heading into the final days.

"I don't worry about any (elections) a lot," Easley said. "I mean obviously I have a competitive spirit, and I want to win them. But I think that if you worry about them too much, you don't tell people what you really think, and what is really important."

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