The Buzz

March 3, 2014

MORNING BUZZ: SC (hearts) Barack -- not

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

Barack Obama surely gets it by now. Most South Carolinians really don't like him.

They preferred the GOP guy more by some 10 points in the last two general presidential elections. And the prez has an approval rating here slightly above running out a beer at a football tailgate.

But Obama's getting it from all sides lately from Palmetto State politicians:

• Gov. Nikki Haley called Obama's behavior "offensive" at a White House meeting with governors last week and dared the nation's CEO to back up his threat if governors complained about potential National Guard cuts. (Yes, Haley -- the wife of a S.C. National Guard captain -- griped.)
• State senators should start debate this week on a GOP proposal that would wound the president's sweeping federal healthcare law in South Carolina by insisting D.C. cannot "commandeer" public resources in the state to aid the program. (More on that below)
• A statewide television ad campaign for the S.C. governor's race starting Monday uses his health-care plan to bash Democratic gubernatorial challenger Vincent Sheheen. (Also more on that below)
• And U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, called Obama "a weak and indecisive President that invites aggression" in reaction to threats by Russia to use force in the Ukraine. Obama needs to "stop going on television and trying to threaten thugs and dictators," Graham said while appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "It is not your strong suit. Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everyone’s eyes roll, including mine."

The Buzz figures some Palmetto politicos might have a hard time not rolling their eyes at the irony of Graham, a regular on Sunday news shows, criticizing someone else of going on TV too much.

Graham on Obama's TV time

Go here if you can't see the video

Top clicks

See the RGA's new ad for Nikki Haley : A statewide television ad campaign starting Monday criticizes 2014 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen for backing the federal expanded health care plan in South Carolina, according to a copy of the commercial obtained by The State on Sunday. See the Republican Governors Association ad on behalf of the GOP Gov. Nikki Haley. Full story

McConnell, Card among College of Charleston finalists : Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell and former White House chief of staff Andrew Card are among the five finalists for president chosen by College of Charleston trustees on Friday, a source familiar with the search told The State. Jody Encarnation, a College of Charleston graduate who spent three decades on the faculty of Harvard University, also is a finalist. The names of the other two finalists were not available. Full story

Graham challenger's secret weapon? : Det Bowers -- a Columbia pastor, retired attorney and former Democratic operative who is seeking to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham -- has made an ally in a political group that says it helped Texas tea party hero Ted Cruz rise from obscurity in 2012 to win a U.S. Senate seat. Full story

Senate will debate if the state can stifle the fed's new health-care program : A lengthy debate is expected to begin this week in the state Senate on Beaufort Republican Tom Davis’ long-awaited amendment to a bill that would curb the federal Affordable Care Act in South Carolina. Davis’ amendment aims to turn a S.C. House-approved health care nullification bill, which says, essentially, “Hey, D.C., no way we’re following your law,” into one that says, “Hey, D.C., no way you’re taking control of our state’s public resources to enact this law.” Full story

Poll: Tim Scott shares beliefs of GOP voters : Likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina overwhelmingly say U.S. Sen. Tim Scott – the state’s first African-American U.S. senator – shares their beliefs – and those of African-Americans, according to a new Winthrop Poll. Full story

Happening today

• Gov. Nikki Haley travels to Atlanta for a 6 p.m. campaign fundraiser featuring Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston, according to an invitation obtained by The State. The reception is being held at real estate firm Dewberry Capital. Tickets cost $1,000 to $5,000. (Guess all is forgiven after Haley's comment about Georgia's mishandling of the first snowstorm this year. Oh, and this kind of dredges up that whole port brouhaha .)
• Pat McKinney, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, and Jeff Bradley, a Republican who has said he will run for Rep. Andy Patrick's seat, will address the Hilton Head Island First Monday Republican Lunch Group. Patrick and state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, also might attend, organizers say.
• Charleston-based reality show “Southern Charm” debuts at 10 p.m. on Bravo starring former S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel. Learn more about the show and play a special game of bingo while watching tonight.

State House clicks

Duke Energy could avoid SC coal ash lawsuits : South Carolina policymakers are moving ahead with a plan that could shield Duke Energy from having to clean out polluted coal ash ponds in two areas of the state. This past week, the state House voted 80-30 for a bill that will block lawsuits by citizens groups under the S.C. Pollution Control Act. The bill now moves to the Senate, which signed off on a similar bill two years ago. Full story

Building a better beach wall : A walk along the seashore at the Isle of Palms reveals an experimental contraption some call the answer to South Carolina’s long-standing struggle with beach erosion. It’s a flexible, plastic fence intended to protect hotels, dunes and seaside cottages from angry waves – but without causing the beach erosion associated with concrete or wooden seawalls. The wall gained enthusiastic support last week in Columbia from state lawmakers. Full story

Bullying reporting bill advances : Bullying victims may soon have an additional forum to report harassment if a bill making its way through the House becomes law. Full story

Family fights for teen dating violence law : In the center of Robert and Jessica Landry’s Lancaster home sits a green urn filled with ashes of Sierra Landry, who was just 18 years old when she was shot last year in a yard, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. They’re taking steps to prevent another family from suffering what they have. They are pushing what they call “Sierra’s Law,” which targets teen dating violence. Full story

A wall in Robert and Jessica Landry’s Lancaster home is covered with pictures of their daughter Sierra, who was just 18 years old when she was shot last year in a yard, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. (Photo by Andy Burriss/The (Rock Hill) Herald)

SC clicks

Can't go west, nuke waste : A radioactive leak that has indefinitely shut down a New Mexico nuclear waste dump has left South Carolina holding a stockpile of weapons waste that had been scheduled to be shipped westward for disposal by the end of next year. Full story

Clyburn - Young Dems need to learn lessons from past : U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn on Saturday implored a group of politically minded youth to look to the past for guidance in their efforts to counter what he described as a national shift to the right. The congressman addressed the spirited crowd of party faithful in Charleston as part of the Young Democrats of America's weekend-long Winter National Conference. Full story

Questions about why so many prison probes don't end in punishment : State prison officials have conducted 3,175 investigations of employee conduct since 2005 and handed out 355 disciplinary actions that may involve inmates. Those numbers, released to The Greenville News as a result of state Freedom of Information Act requests, are raising the eyebrows of some lawmakers, who wonder why more investigations didn’t result in disciplinary actions. Full story

FCC switches off Columbia survey : The Federal Communications Commission is pulling the plug on a controversial survey of TV newsroom activities -- set to start in Columbia -- that sparked a firestorm of criticism from Republicans. Full story

Buzz clicks

Pastides joined USC's "coutrtstorm" after big win : South Carolina fans rushed the court on Saturday at the end of their 72-67 win over No. 17 Kentucky, and such an occurrence could dampen the mood of some administrators. But not South Carolina president Harris Pastides, who even joined in on the fun after realizing his school was going to lose money anyway. Full story

Somewhere in there is the president of South Carolina's flagship university (Photo by Mary Ann Chastain/Associated Press)

Is Winthrop football about to kickoff? : While Winthrop University’s leaders are still tiptoeing toward the notion of starting a football team, the prospect of Eagle football already has one first just around the corner. President Jayne Marie Comstock is setting out to officially gauge the opinions of the campus and the community on the issue. She has scheduled a March 13 campus-wide, town-hall-style meeting to talk football –– the first meeting of its kind for the university. Full story

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