#NCSEN: A sock puppet, a shih-tzu, and a buffoon walk into a fundraiser. (Stop me if you’ve heard this one.)






Neil Kinnock Joe Biden stumbled into Chapel Hill this week to offer his, um, assistance to our hapless junior US senator. Around Haymaker HQ, we were gleefully awaiting more of that patented Biden wisdom and eloquence.  

N&O executive editor John Drescher’s attack shih-tzu, John Frank, was there to lovingly capture it all:

Vice President Joe Biden on Friday avoided the political firestorm engulfing the federal health care law, instead touting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as a lawmaker who can work across the aisle amid the gridlock in Washington.

Biden spoke at a fundraiser for the Democratic incumbent that drew 160 people to the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. He emphasized “that it’s critically important that … Kay wins this race” and warned that if Republicans win both chambers of Congress, they would push drastic budget cuts to education, Medicare and other popular programs.

Introducing Biden, Hagan likewise avoided the troubles with the federal health care law, even as her opponents continued to highlight the number of times she echoed the White House in saying Americans could keep their current health coverage if they wanted.

The fundraiser framed a problematic political picture for Hagan – standing her next to the White House even as the health care troubles erode her once-solid lead against Republican rivals in her 2014 re-election bid.

She pivoted to focus on secretive political groups attacking her and the controversial policies pushed by the Republican-led state legislature, noting new laws restricting abortion, voting, jobless benefits and more.

It’s an attack on her main Republican challenger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is getting support from Republican strategist Karl Rove.

“For those of us in North Carolina, we saw firsthand what the Koch brothers and Karl Rove’s foot soldiers in Raleigh are willing to do to push their fringe agenda,” she said, mentioning the recent ads against her from outside conservative groups. “These guys are trying so hard to take my seat because they had great results with fringe, ultraconservative legislation that I have opposed.

“They want a politician whose strings they can pull to promote the same dangerous policies in Washington.”

Wait.  A bona-fide, gen-yoo-wine sock puppet is attacking someone else for being a puppet ????  Seriously? MORE: 

A day earlier, Hagan was critical of President Barack Obama’s move to allow people to keep their current insurance for one more year, saying it didn’t go far enough. She endorsed a bill sponsored by Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, that would allow people to keep their current policies for good.

“Americans who have health insurance that they like should be able to keep it,” Hagan said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction … but a one-year fix is not enough, and we need to do more.”

Okay, KAY.  You bragged about writing the bill.  You told us we would grow to love ObamaCare once we learned more  about it.  You told us we could keep our insurance plan if we wanted to.  You stood strong with Barry & Harry when Ted Cruz and Mike Lee tried to delay / defund / stop ObamaCare last month.  And NOW — with your poll numbers plummeting — it’s suddenly a bad thing that needs to be “fixed.” *Right.*  They might as well call the thing KayCare™.

Biden criticized North Carolina leaders for not expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law and made a passing reference to the Republican takeover in Raleigh. “You lead and you lead the South and Middle Atlantic states and then you go through a period of what you have in Raleigh right now,” he said. “But you always come back. You always come back better.”

Biden expressed hope that the Republican Party would move away from the tea party. “Your father’s Republican Party is trying to come back,” he said. “You are going to see the Republican Party wrestle back eventually to a mainstream conservative position, and that’s good. We need a strong Republican Party. Because we have to have somebody we can look across the aisle and make a deal with.”

Wait.  It sounds like he’s endorsing someone else in this race not named Kay Hagan.

Turning to Hagan, he added, “I can think of nobody better to be there to extend the hand on the other side when that happens than Kay Hagan.”

Really?  You expect that from a woman who earned a 95 percent rating — nearly a perfect score —  from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action?