Skip to comments.(NC Gov) Perdue says her point was 'sarcasm'
Posted on 09/29/2011 4:44:03 AM PDT by abb
Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue has long had a reputation for shoot-from-the-hip remarks that leave her audiences shaking their heads, part of her folksy, I'm-just-a -coal-miner's-daughter persona.
But none of her previous comments hit a political nerve like her startling suggestion this week that Congress suspend its elections next year to concentrate on fixing the economy.
In the connected digital age, her remarks - made in response to an audience question at the Cary Rotary Club and reported online by The News & Observer - leaped across the Internet and were soon the subject of a provocative headline on the Drudge Report, scathing commentary by Rush Limbaugh, and dark warnings in the blogosphere by the conspiratorial minded of the coming of a "Banana Republic."
On Wednesday, Perdue continued to try to walk back her comments, which her staff initially described on Tuesday as hyperbole.
"My point was one of sarcasm," Perdue told reporters in Thomasville. "We really just need to encourage our leaders who are elected to work together and solve America's problems."
She added: "It was taken out of context from my perspective. But honest to goodness, who would think something like that would be said seriously. It's ridiculous to have this kind of discussion about it."
But Republicans and other critics were not going to let her off the hook so easily.
"In light of Gov. Perdue's support for suspending Congressional elections, I want to state clearly, on the record, that I do NOT support suspending our next gubernatorial election," said Republican Senate leader Phil Berger.
"The next time they tell you how stupid Sarah Palin is or Michele Bachmann, just think back to this day and North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue," said Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host.
Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who is expected to challenge Perdue next year, said the governor should admit she made a mistake and apologize. But he now is using the remark to raise money for his forthcoming campaign.
"It's one thing for Governor Perdue to suggest that we should suspend congressional elections as a very odd approach to getting the economy moving," McCrory said. "It's an entirely different thing for the governor to get her staff to cover up her blatant mistake by saying she was joking."
(Perdue's staff never said the governor was joking. The word was used in a headline by some media, including The News & Observer.)
Michael Munger, who as the Libertarian candidate ran against Perdue in 2008, said it was clear that Perdue was not serious and that even if her proposal was nonsensical, she had a valid point.
"The reaction proves her point," said Munger, a Duke University science professor. "Is that what we should all be arguing about? An off-the-cuff remark instead of what we need do to improve the economy and the situation of the country and the state?"
For Perdue this was not her first gaffe. In fact, it was not even her first gaffe that day. Earlier on Tuesday, at an appearance in Raleigh, she referred several times to Raleigh Denim co-founder Victor Lytvinenko as "David."
When Perdue is off script, it is often an adventure. While visiting SAS's solar farm in Cary where sheep graze, she commented to co-founder John Sall: "If we only had that ram, John, we could mate and have fun."
Or while appearing at a state employees health fare, Perdue talked about her decision to give up smoking cigarettes and eating a bag of Doritos at the end of each week when she thought she was having a stroke.
"My head popped open, and I said, 'Dear God, if you let me live, I'll quit.' And I quit. I didn't quit for me. I quit because I thought about my kids not having momma or a daddy."
Or there was the time, when a television cameraman, offered a lascivious "All Right," after Perdue said she would "undress" from the TV microphone that was clipped to her jacket. " I'm an old woman," Perdue said. "You are a pervert."
She has publicly acknowledged in speeches - as she is about to go off script - that her staff has urged her to stay on script. And she runs through communications staff like water - David Kochman, Tim Crowley, Justin Guillory, Pearse Edwards and Chrissy Pearson are all former communications staffers no longer on the governor's staff.
"She is perfectly bright," Munger said. "But she is not quick on her feet. George Bush had the same problem. He was a smart guy but he would sometimes come across as: What in the world is that?"
To enter politics today, one has to have "an absence of self-doubt" and both Perdue and Bush have that, Munger said, allowing them to say whatever is on their mind, when other people might hold back.
When a politician makes a controversial mark, more than anything, speed matters, said Karen Finny, a Democratic strategist and former spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean, another politician known for speaking out.
"When politicians, in particular, say something off the cuff, whether it's a joke, or they're on a roll and say something, you have to make a quick decision when you hear it ... either clarify what they did mean or it was a joke and put it in the proper context," she said. "That's the reality of the news environment that we live in. Things get posted to the Web. It not only happens quickly, but it's permanent."
Several reporters did not immediately question Perdue about her remarks after her speech at McGregor Downs Country Club.
"It was obviously hyperbole," said communications aide Mark Johnson, who was at the governor's side. "Nobody asked about it at the time."
Several hours went by before the governor's office took steps to clarify her remarks. But by that time, her remarks, after appearing on newsobserver.com, had spread like wildfire over the Internet.
It is a sobering lesson for politicians.
"The worst wounds in politics are always self-inflicted, particularly when things can go viral," said Gary Pearce, a veteran Democratic strategist. "It emphasizes how disciplined politicians have to be. The slightest controversial remark and all of a sudden you have a million hits on the Internet."
Rob Christensen: 919-829-4532
She meant every word she said. There is video to prove it. She’s a liar.
“She is perfectly bright,” Munger said. “But she is not quick on her feet. George Bush had the same problem. He was a smart guy but he would sometimes come across as: What in the world is that?”
HO, HO, HO. yea right.
Lefties all over are trying real hard to spin that she was joking. She wasn’t.
In a vacuum I could buy it but the overall behavior of the democrats has made it a lot more plausible that she’s serious.
She meant what she said. She said what she meant. All Democrats are liars 100%.
What a load. My bet is that she is an airhead who was expressing frustration with the fact that politicians can’t make big decisions because of their fear of being voted out so in frustration she said we should suspend elections without having any clue what that means. Its more a sign of stupidity than a desire to overthrow the government, but it still doesn’t put her in a good light. And now she is clearly lying to cover up the gaffe.
For the sake of discussion, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt she wasn't serious....though I am less than convinced it's the case.
Conservatives deal with this kind of distortion every day. Welcome to our world, Ms. Perdue.
It puts her in the position of being a sarcastic imbecile.
So what's the proper context?
From where I sit, our elected officials are already too far removed from the public they supposedly represent. How does suspending elections, our only voice, improve that situation?
The truth is that this is not a sarcastic remark but is her genuine opinion, and it is the genuine opinion of all big gov. leftists. If only they didn't have to deal w/ the people they could really get alot done.
Just like Chavez and the ChiComs.
A fool, a liar, and a Democrat. But I repeat myself.....
We are dealing with Che wannabes
HMm Who knew Bev Purdue was also a tap dancer.....
Gov. Beverly “Sugar Dumplings” Perdue has stepped in it big time.
Purdue is full of...
OK, have it your way.
Let's just concentrate on the Senate and Presidential races.
This should be no surprise as liberals sincerely believe that average Americans are too stupid to make the “right” decisions in their lives and that liberal elites must make these decisions for them.
BS about this being sarcasm...it is a trial baloon sent out by the democrap in chief as he is now saying he is not going to leave if he loses the election, er, when he loses the election. Remember the line elections have consequences...he is going to take it one step farther, they have consequences when you don’t reelect a thug.
Loretta Lynn never suggested suspending elections. An elected official making such a suggestion, as a joke, or as a sarcastic aside, shows herself to be unfit for office.
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