When are the 20-plus Democratic presidential candidates going to come to North Carolina?

We are suffering from their absence as they concentrate on the early primary and caucus states. “Suffering” is my term. Others may count their absence as a blessing.

Joe Biden has already been here, as I explained in an earlier column I wrote in 2008 when Biden became Barack Obama’s choice for running mate.

Here is the gist of what I wrote back then.

I am responsible, at least in part, for one of Biden’s early political visits to our state more than 30 years ago.

Back in 1986, I was the Democratic candidate for Congress in a district that had been represented by Republicans for many years. The race was close. Lots of senators and members of Congress came to campaign with me.

I loved hobnobbing with famous political personages like Jim Wright, Claude Pepper and Charles Rangel — and future presidential candidates Bill Bradley, Dick Gephardt, and Gary Hart. But these visits often drove our campaign volunteers crazy trying to figure out how to readjust our schedule, develop an “appropriate” program for the visitor, and gather respectable crowds to greet them.

One of these visitors was Joe Biden. His staff gave our campaign scheduler Marcia Webster only a day or two to prepare. She called some of the loyal supporters who never said “no” even to the most challenging requests.

One of these, Brenda Barger, remembers that she and her husband Hugh hosted a small group at their farm near Davidson. Davidson mayor Russell Knox and College Union director Shaw Smith came to meet Biden and hear him tell about a run for president someday.

Amy Steele, whose ability to organize campaign operations was unexcelled, took on the task of gathering a group of supporters to meet Biden in Statesville. She got a young couple, David and Sally Parker, to host an event.

But, as Sally Parker remembers now, they had planned a trip with their children that day to Carowinds in Charlotte, leaving Amy and her crew to prepare. Sally says, “Amy had a magic wand.” When the Parkers returned and Biden arrived, their home and garden were full of fresh flowers and a big crowd.

Biden was charmed. So were the Parkers. Sally remembers being impressed with Biden’s speech. “Except,” she told me, “although everybody wore big red buttons that said ‘DG’ he kept calling you ‘DJ’.”

Later, Sally quizzed Biden about his views on capital punishment. She remembers his thoughtful listening and response to her concerns. Biden was a hit with the Parkers. Amy and David got Sally to pose for a photo sitting on Biden’s knee to remember his visit.

Our campaign manager Henry Doss remembers Biden’s visit to campaign headquarters where Elizabeth, Doss’s five-year-old daughter, was visiting and drawing a picture of a red dog. She told Biden a story about that dog.

“For that moment,” Doss recalls, “he was really interested in what Elizabeth was telling him and giving her his full attention. I think one of Biden’s greatest strengths is his ability to engage from moment to moment. This builds on his authenticity. He is what he is, and that’s what makes him powerful. I’ve always been in awe of his grasp of world affairs, and his comfort level around power. But his encounter with Elizabeth illustrates his rare ability and desire to connect with people. Maybe he even learned something about the red dog.”

When Biden comes back to our state to campaign he will find some North Carolinians who still remember him well.


(9) comments

Keith Miller

Mr Thomashoff…"You'll see."...What exactly does that mean ?? As a former CIA agent / employee / analyst that you were...do you have "inside information" that us commoners don't have ?? Correct me if I am wrong, but have you not claimed on several occasions that investigations, indictments, jail time / prison time is on the horizon for Mr Trump for a host of allegations you have listed in your comments. Also correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you have stated that a federal judge or federal court in New York would be the instrument used to support your accusations to put Mr trump in prison starting in Jan 2021, once he has been voted out of office, according to your plan.

How do you know this ?? Does your information come from the NY Times. LA Times, Chicago Tribune, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the Socialist Democrat party, or do you have inside information from the "CIA" ?? If your team has the facts / accusations / indictments that you say are coming, why not present your facts now ??

Needless to repeat, but I will, we just went through two cruelling costly years of an investigation that your team put all of it's hopes in to impeach and remove Mr trump from office and the investigation revealed nothing that could used to support your, and your team's dream.

So how do you know the future ??

Jim Tomashoff

Because I know how to read Mr. Miller. What I've said is that Trump will be indicted by March 20, 2021. That's two months after the new President takes office. I've never said he will be indicted or in jail by January 2021. I get my information from a lot of different sources, but not from the CIA (I assume you mean the Central Intelligence Agency, not the other CIA, the Culinary Institute of America. They are after Trump since they learned that he will only eat "prime" steaks, cooked well-done with ketsup, but that's another story). The Attorney General of New York and the Southern District of New York's Federal District Attorney will most likely be the sources of the indictments. So far, the only person who claims that the Mueller Report revealed nothing that could be used to support an investigation by Congress, or an impeachment resolution against him, is Trump. I'm guessing you didn't read Part II of the Mueller Report, in which Mueller says, “Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” Mueller wrote. “The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony.”

Mueller, however, refrained from recommending prosecution, saying that there were “difficult [legal] issues that would need to be resolved,” in order to reach a conclusion that the crime of obstruction of justice was committed by Trump.

Factoring into his decision not to weigh in on prosecution, Mueller wrote, was an opinion issued by the Office of Legal Counsel finding that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the constitutional separation of powers.”

“Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct,” Mueller wrote.

Mueller emphasized, however, that his analysis of the evidence did not clear the president of obstruction. Said Mueller: “[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.” IN OTHER WORDS, MR. MILLER MUELLER WAS UNABLE TO REACH THE JUDGMENT THAT TRUMP DID NOT COMMIT OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. See: www.factcheck.org/2019/04/what-the-mueller-report-says-about-obstruction/ for a more thorough discussion of the Mueller Report.

Keith Miller

Mr Thomashoff...thank you for responding. So basically Mr Mueller..."Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement." In other words, Mr Thomashoff, Mr Mueller was unable to reach the judgement that Mr Trump did not commit obstruction of justice...BECAUSE HE HAD NO ""FACTS"" TO PROVE MR TRUMP DID COMITT OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE !!!! Isn't that the truth ??

Conrad Meyer

Hey DG - I'll wager that biden still calls you DJ! Assuming his memory still works......

Kent Misegades

Political campaigns need more humor. Listening to Mr. Biden guarantees this. But will the general public learn the truth about his age, length in government and family scandals? Not much to laugh about there.

Jim Tomashoff

If "family scandals" were a disqualification, how in the heck did Kent's God, Donald Trump, get elected? I doubt if any Biden family "scandals" will measure up to Trump's infidelity, payoffs, failure to honor terms of contracts, tax fraud, bank fraud, and insurance fraud. By March 20, 2021, two months after the new President, hopefully Biden, takes office, Trump will set a new "first." The first former President to be indicted for numerous felonies by the Justice Department. Ooh, I almost forgot laundering millions of dollars for the Russian Mob, he'll be indicted for that too. Keep laughing Kent!

Conrad Meyer

Proof of this Jim? Of course not. I'm laughing at the big nothing-burger the dems got with the multi-year Mueller probe - and that was done with lefty lawyers that love Hillary!

Barr is going to get to the truth, and the left won't believe it. The left will do everything it can to trash Barr, including enticing him to release grand jury testimony which is against the law to disclose. Barr is smarter than that and the wrongdoers are going to be exposed. I pray that Barr is getting special protection from the nuts that are out there.

Nervous about the IG report coming out and your precious cia leadership? That leadership (Brennan), is a leaker and liar and reflects badly on the whole organization. (books written on this subject). A major stain on all those good people that serve in the CIA.

While we are on biden, has he ever done anything of significance other than being obama's sock puppet? I cannot think of anything.

Jim Tomashoff

You'll see.

Richard Wright

Kent! Kent! What would you do Jimmy without Kent. Biden is a light weight. Bob Gates said he was on the wrong side of every major national security issue for eight years. He propped up his son - in China and the Ukraine. And you know what type of man Hunter is? Obama's terms were filled with scandals, many known and several still being uncovered. Biden is an old white man in a party that is becoming more left wing than Lenin. Give it up.

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