Kay Hagan and Jim Neal are going to be asked all sorts of things by all sorts of people during the course of this campaign, about the substance of issues, as well as on their campaign tactics. In today's news, both are in the spotlight.
On Hagan, via the Dome:
State Sen. Kay Hagan said she does not know whether she would vote to approve Michael Mukasey for attorney general. The Greensboro Democrat told Dome that she has "not had the privilege" of hearing his testimony before Congress on torture and the Bush administration's policies. However, she did say that she thinks he is "a reputable individual that has great credentials."
"I don't have a vote in this right now, so I'm going to let the sitting senator decide that," she said.
My take: This disappointing response sounds a lot like Mukasey's own equivocating to the Senate committee, with echoes of "I don't recall" from Alberto Gonzales. The proper response would have been: "Based on what I know about Mr. Mukasey's reluctance to take a stand against torture, I would not vote to confirm him as Attorney General." Hagan's willingness to give the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt does not bode well.
Gary Pearce questions Neal's plan to hit all 100 counties as impractical and unproductive.
But some counties have fewer voters than precincts in Raleigh and Charlotte. It can take a full day to get in and out of them. And you’re not going to change many minds in them. The vote is always the same, year in and year out. Every day a candidate wastes on the 100-county tour is one less day seeing more undecided voters in a bigger county. Or raising money for TV ads that go to all 100 counties.
My take: I tend to agree with Pearce. Hell, I doubt Liddy Dole has visited every county and she's been in the Senate for what seems like a lifetime. To be fair, what Neal actually said is this:
I intend to visit all 100 counties. As far as Sen. Dole's name recognition, a great deal has been built on what Sen. Dole has done in the past. This election is going to be about what she's not done during the six years that she's represented the people of North Carolina.
At least he's smart enough to say "intend" instead of "will." Words have consequences, or at least they're supposed to.
I'm looking forward to hearing Neal's response to the same question the Dome asked Hagan about Bush's AG nomination. And I'll be surprised if he equivocates.
UPDATE: The Dome reports Neal's position on the AG nomination:
"I believe if we tacitly acknowledge torture as an option for interrogation techniques, we only magnify the likelihood that members of our armed services will be subject to torture," he told Dome.
Neal said that the United States needs to "restore its image in the world community."
Previously: State Sen. Kay Hagan, Neal's opponent in the Democratic primary, said she was not sure if she would vote to confirm Mukasey or not.