Skip to comments.Bowles pledges to be a warrior
Posted on 01/16/2004 12:14:26 PM PST by JohnnyZ
PINK HILL - Say hello to Erskine Bowles version 2.0.
The Charlotte investment banker, former Clinton White House chief of staff and 2004 U.S. Senate candidate stopped in the Smith community in northern Duplin County on Thursday to meet and greet voters and supporters.
"They're going to promise us a lot of things," said 68-year-old Doris Hatcher, a staunch Democrat from Chinquapin. "I just hope they come through on most of them."
Bowles built largely on the same platform he used during his miss at the Senate in 2002 when he ran against Elizabeth Dole.
A must-have federal tobacco buyout remains a considerable chunk of Bowles' 2004 bid, although some refined ideas have been sprinkled in. He's "100 percent" against same-sex marriages, for instance. Bowles also briefly mentioned his yet-to-be-released new job plan, a 100-page document that focuses on international trade policies, small businesses and agribusiness.
Bowles' seemed much more relaxed and charismatic Thursday than his 2002 self. Occasional jokes kept cheers and applause coming.
He reminded the crowd that no Democratic opposition allows his campaign to focus on Republican Richard Burr. If Bowles is the sole Democratic candidate, his party will not have to hold a primary election. Burr and Bowles are competing for the seat left vacant in the wake of U.S. Sen. John Edwards' presidential bid.
"A guy asked me the other day why I was running for the Senate," Bowles said. "I told him, 'I want to run in the worst way possible.' He said, 'But Erskine, that's what you did last time.' "
Bowles pledged to help stem the rush of jobs from North Carolina and replace some of the thousands already gone. His new job plan includes increased funding for small business loans and assessing the impact of existing trade agreements on this state.
The shadow of a failed campaign against Dole still lingers. Bowles referred to it about as many times as he did the time he's already spent in Washington.
Dole co-sponsored one of several tobacco buyout bills that have died in Congress. Bowles said he could propose a buyout bill that would include a minimal increase on the cost of cigarettes, that "if I was in the U.S. Senate, I could get 80 votes on."
"The American farmer is classified one way. Tobacco farmers are classified another," 43-year-old Winslow Tew said. "Tobacco is a bad word. I don't think the government wants to get out. There's too many tax dollars, too many subsidies involved."
Supporters from Duplin, Jones, Lenoir and Onslow counties gathered to see Bowles. Barbecue was donated by King's Restaurant in Kinston. Former state Rep. Russell Tucker emceed the event, mentioning that he will run for the state legislature this year in Duplin County's new district.
Bowles said that FedEx President Fred Smith told him that the lack of a quality highway system linking the Global TransPark to nearby ports and Raleigh was a top reason why Kinston lost a distribution hub several years ago.
Bowles said after the event that he supports Edwards in the 2004 presidential race.
"Whoever becomes president, whether it's a Republican or Democrat
I'm not going to go up there and be a rubber stamp for anyone," Bowles said. "I'm going to be a warrior."
Joke's on you, Erskine!
Of course he is, he knows that don't play well in the South.
Never forget who stands behind ole Irksome.