The Pilot: Burr Makes Campaign Stop in Village

Burr Makes Campaign Stop in Village

David Sinclair


U.S. Sen. Richard Burr told supporters Monday in Pinehurst that he will need every vote he can get in Moore County and other Republican strongholds in North Carolina to defeat Democrat Deborah Ross in November.

Added at the last minute to speak at the Moore Republican Women’s monthly luncheon at the Pinehurst Member’s Club, Burr shared a statistic regarding statewide races in presidential election years for the last 40 years: the winner, whether Republican or Democrat, received an average 51.4 percent of the vote.

“This was destined to always be a close race,” he said. “It really didn’t matter how you ran. North Carolina has proven that it is always a competitive state.”

That has proven to be the case again this year. And North Carolina is considered a crucial battleground state that could help determine who wins the White House.

Burr wasted little time in criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, holding up a button with the slogan “Hillary Thinks I’m Deplorable.”

“She’s a fake,” he said. “She would be disastrous for our children and grandchildren. But I am running against someone who matches her. … I am running against somebody that cheered when the U.S. Congress could not muster enough votes to present to you a change to the Constitution to put our flag where it should be — to where people can’t burn it, where a court has to decide that is your right. It shouldn’t be your right. People have died to lift that flag, people that live in this community.”

Burr was referring the mid-1990s when Ross was serving as executive director of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She criticized U.S House passage of a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the flag on the grounds that it violates the right to free speech, also guaranteed under the Constitution.

The state chapter of the ACLU declared a “flag victory” in 2000 when the U.S. Senate “resoundingly defeated the proposed amendment, which fell four votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Burr said the ACLU also refused to represent a Granite Falls man in 2001 who wanted to fly a flag in his yard but was told he could not because it violated deed restrictions in his neighborhood. Ross was still executive director at the time.

“You will represent the folks that want to burn it, but we’re not going to represent folks who want to fly it,” he said of Ross. “I think that tells you a lot about my opponent.”

Ross, who left her job as the state chapter’s executive director in 2002 to run for the state House, said in an August interview with the Associated Press that she didn’t recall the specific request from the Granite Falls man, but that the ACLU would not become involved in a dispute involving residential land use.

She pointed out in the interview that the organization’s recent court victory over North Carolina’s voter ID law was one way the ACLU fights for individual freedoms. A federal appeals court ruled last month that the 2013 law illegally targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision” to reduce their ability to vote.

Burr, who serves as chairman of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, was also critical of Ross for her support of the Iran nuclear deal, which he said is bad for the security of the Middle East and the United States.

“I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t believe the Middle East is screwed up and the Iran nuclear deal has contributed to the problems we’ve got in the Middle East,” he said.

Burr said Ross also supported Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, as evidenced by her vote to uphold then-Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of legislation “to free us from the individual mandate” that requires people to have health insurance or face a penalty.

He said Ross has a “lifetime record” of being opposed to things the majority of North Carolinians support. He added that a big thrust of his campaign in the next five weeks before Election Day is to educate voters about his opponent as well as about his beliefs and his record.

Burr said his values and beliefs “match up with North Carolina,” while Ross is “out of sync with the majority of North Carolinians, not just mine.”

“That is what the five weeks is going to be about,” he said. “It is about educating voters. This election is about a lot more. It is about the future of children and our grandchildren. … It is just about wealth. It is about opportunity. It’s the American dream. It is about the ability to go out and be as much as you can be.”

Internationally, Burr was critical of the Obama Administration for what he called its lack of a strategy in dealing with Syria, Iran and ISIS. He said America has failed to provide leadership.

Burr said Obama has carried out what he called “a pin prick strategy” by using airstrikes to take out “bad guys” in the war or terrorism. He said that is not working.

“Our allies turn to us and say, ‘When do we win? When do our folks come home?’” Burr said.

He said Obama recently announced that 500 more troops are being deployed to Iraq and that the “lion’s share” will be Rangers and Special Forces from Fort Bragg and Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“We just recently heard from his own secretary of state that the reason we haven’t taken on ISIS is because one person in the room outvoted his military leaders and that is Barrack Obama,” he said.

Burr urged everyone in the audience “to work hard” for the entire ticket, from top to bottom. He put in a big plug for Gov. Pat McCrory, who is in a close race with Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“I get the opportunity to meet a lot of governors from all over the country,” he said. “There is nobody in my estimation this year who deserves re-election more than Pat McCrory does. Pat McCrory turned our economy around. We are the fourth fastest-growing state in the country. … He has attracted business, 21st Century business.

“Let me assure you, with a Republican president, with a Republican Congress, we will set a course to being jobs back to the United States, to attract capital, to create a vibrant, growing economy that gets us on a glide path to help handle this $20 trillion debt … where we’ve run up this debt blindly, year after year after year.”

Burr closed by pledging to work hard for Donald Trump, McCrory and other Republicans, as well as himself.

“We’ve only got five weeks,” he said. “Five weeks is an eternity in campaigns. … We’ve got to turn out the vote.”