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John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy

Speaker comments:

Brice Griffin, America, Defend Life!
Her mostly Catholic group offers "a peaceful, prayerful opposition to abortion."

Steve Brusk, CNN
"As reporters, we traffic in information. Questions are the most important thing... It is important how they are framed."
"The more we (press) asks question, the more the public benefits from it."
"Our job is not to be a stenographer but to check out the information and to put it in context."
"We (CNN) don't control what the campaign environment is--we cover it."

Michael Zytkow, Occupy Charlotte
"How are they (police) measuring my intent? That is what's dangerous."
"Vague language leads to innocent people being caught in the net."
Referred to free speech zones as "detention zones."
Referred to the march as a "parking lot tour."
"The same process we use at church raffles for iPods we use for free speech zones."
"At the end of the day we're (Occupy Movement) showing that another world is possible."
"If you have a voice and willing to use it, you will be heard."
"We're used to living in a society where people tell us what to do."
"We're suffering the consequences of their (rich) actions. Frankly they haven't been held accountable."
"I'll happily bash them both." -- in reference to Republicans and Democrats
"Corporations are violently stripping families away from each other by violently deporting law-abiding people."
"We're all concerned members of the city trying to overcome similar goals."
"I 'll be running for office simply as an independent."
"We're rallying over all issues people are facing on a daily basis."
"I've established enough of a reputation in this city that I won't be invited to the 1% anytime soon."
"All of us as part of our American heritage are protesters."
"Charlotte will be transformed. It's already transforming. We're ecstatic for the things to come."
"Democracy isn't choosing the lesser of two evils."
"We are all leaders."
"Maybe there is a little southern hospitality with the police officers."
"The whole idea is reclaiming public space. We are not leaving until things change."
"We do not want violence. That will be what is on the ten o'clock news, not our issues."

Don Fowler, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, expressed his surprise that Republicans let actor Clint Eastwood speak at the GOP Convention without vetting his remarks. Fowler was referring to the extemporaneous delivery by Eastwood minutes before GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave his acceptance speech.

“I said Friday to six friends I can’t imagine the decision-making process that led to his getting up there,” Fowler. He then went on to say that his puzzlement as to the GOP decision was cleared up when he read the The New York Times and saw that it was Romney's call. Fowler said: “I rest my case.”

Carol Fowler, former chair, S.C. Democratic Party
"Democrats are not going to become a majority party overnight." (in reference to S.C.)
"It's our hope that a lot of the young people who identify with the Democratic party will begin to win things in the state level and then things will begin to change."

Amanda Loveday, executive director, S.C. Democratic Party
"I have much more fun making fun of Nikki Haley then defending Vincent Sheheen. As a staffer, I love Nikki Haley as governor."
"Being a Southern Democrat is a lot different than being a Democrat in other states. Republicans in the south's beliefs are more radical. Democrats in the south are more mainstream."
"People who watch news networks are the people who have already made up their minds. Broadcast networks are for people who watch and will then make up their minds."
"The sole purpose these days is to convince the undecided."

John King, S.C. delegate
"To me, Obama has done more to move the ball forwards than any other president in the last couple of decades."

William "Bump" Roddey, S.C. delegate
"If there were no protests, some of these problems wouldn't get addressed. I'm not saying that I'm for the causes but these causes will bring about change whether we like it or not."
"I hope the people are protesting for the right reasons."
"Once whoever says 'go out and vote' and on the big screen, that's a powerful message."

John King, S.C. delegate
"I believe that we need more people that look like me as judges in South Carolina."
"People of York Co. have continued to elect me because I'm upfront and honest."

Brady Quirk-Garvin, S.C. delegate
"There's something really cool about casting your first vote and reelecting the first African-American president."

Christian Hine, Tea Party member
"Nobody has a true monopoly on what the truth is."
"Our nation as a whole is a right-leaning nation."
"The Tea Party started as a protest group. There was a time where that was necessary. But there comes a time where if you do a rally every month...it loses it's effectiveness."
"We have now really come together as a more organized fashion. We plan ways that we can help affect change."
"There are a lot of regulations in place for fear of what the Occupy Movement could do. God bless them, they have the right idea, but not the right solution--if they even have a solution in place."
"'Hey, move to Charlotte! We just raised your taxes!' It's hard to attract people to Charlotte that way."
"The Tea Party is an idea centered movement as opposed to a partisan movement. We look to party structure as a tool on how to get people elected."
"We do have Democrat members who are just as upset with the level of left direction that their party has taken."
"If the media wants to know what the Charlotte Tea Party is all about, they have to come talk to the Charlotte Tea Party."
"The federal government was never supposed to control education. That was supposed to be done on the state and local level."

Dennis Peterson, president of CAUTION [Common Americans United to Inspire Our Nation] / Tea Party member
"We (Tea Party) were dissatisfied before President Obama took office. We were dissatisfied with President Bush."
"Yes, we are part of the Republican party. I myself view myself as an American first."
"We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem."

Matthew Ridenhour, founder of the Charlotte Tea Party / Tea Party member
"That's the real power of the Tea Party movement--it doesn't matter how old you are, you can still get involved."
"The Tea Party should essentially resolve around fiscal issues. When the Tea Party focuses on those issues, we win. When we focus on other issues, like social, that's when we lose."

Glenn McCall, Republican National Committee member and Convention City Selection Committee member
"It's not about Republicans or Democrats--it's about the issues."

Jim Clyburn, U.S. Representative from South Carolina
"First lesson: don't ever go through life saying everything that's on your mind."
"One should not live his/her life by baseball rules" in reference to the saying, "Three strikes and you're out."
"Never give up--live by S.C.'s motto."
"We are not held accountable anymore like we used to be."
"There is no limit on what one can accomplish as long as you don't get caught up on who gets the presidency."
"I don't run from Obamacare. I embrace the term. I'm pleased that Obama cares."
"You get fraud out of the system by taking incentive out of the system."
He added that Democrats should not be bullied by the Republicans. "We need to be buoyed, not bullied."

Vincent Sheheen, S.C. State Senator
"You shouldn't do this job if you don't like people."
"People that just like being elected, they 'occupy' the chair."
"I encourage all of you to do good things in the public sector."
"South Carolina surely needs new blood involved."
"What matters is those relationships you build with people, family, community and the state. It's what makes you a better person."
"People like me try to focus on the state stuff."
"I run for state office because I really care for the state of South Carolina."
"Never say never. I don't know what the future holds. My way may know better what the future holds." (on every running for a higher office)
"You should not run if there is someone else who can do a better job."
"I hope I make a little difference in people's lives."
"I don't mind engagement with the press."
"It's entirely inappropriate for any leader to inject their personality. They should show respect. I might not want to answer your question, but I'll show you some respect."
"We (Dem. in S.C.) are a very faithful people, many of us. That's an important story to share with Democrats across the nation."
"Campaigns today have television budgets which dramatically influence the campaign."
"You can't sit back and expect the 'party' to go out and do it (register voters)."
"If they (protesters) are following the rules, they ought to be respected. That's what America is about."
"We are a TV-driven society, let's face it. We give respect to people on TV. Why? I don't know. They don't necessarily deserve it."
"In the United States, we've had a very unique system of government."
"Money has a tremendous influence on the government."

Lord Stuart Wood, British House of Lords and Shadow Cabinent Minister
"There are no local issues. Everything is national."
"We never have the two parties selecting a leader at the same time."
Occupy London was in force for several months and his Labour Party was split about their existence. Some thought they were priviledged middle class participants practicing self-indulgent student politics, while others thought it was a symptom of something much bigger.

Toby Short, Duke Energy lobbyist
"With great power comes great responsibility." (Spiderman)
"I tell people I'm an advocate. Lobbyist is a bad word and advocate is not. Essentially they do the same thing."
"It's a battle of expert witnesses. If I'm not credible you won't ask me back into your office."
"Charlotte is a growing energy hub. We can attract a lot of next generation activity to Charlotte."
"We have to be honest and we have to be transparent in all that we talk with."
"What we get out of the convention--name recognition. That's basically it. Don't talk a lot of shop at conventions. More for state delegates."
"Advice for young people: get involved in public service."
"If you're interested in politics, I would suggest getting an internship. That can give you a flavor of what to expect."
"Make yourself indispensable and the job is never too small. People can open the door for you. It's your decision if you want to walk through."
"Never close your mind off. Keep learning. Get involved in you community."
"I work for Duke Energy. I do not work for the Republican party and I do not work for the Democratic party. Some people take on attributes of people they work for--don't do that. It's annoying. I work for Democrats."
"If you work in politics, sometimes people do take on personality of their boss. Don't do that."
"Are protesters really educated half of the time? There are people you would consider protesters that can come in and articulate a speech really well."
"Again, they (protesters) have to be educated and honest."
"I'm going to tell you why you think you should do it this way, but I'll tell you how the other side works too."
"Just holding up a sign with one word doesn't work."
"It's all gut feelings anyway, right?" (on determining credibility)
"The more you do it, the more you understand it. The worse thing you can do is dismiss things right out of hand."

Student Kambrell Garvin asked: "How environmentally conscious is your company?"
Short: "Very. Next." (laughter) "Our employees drink the water and breathe the air."

Linda Lingle, energy & higher education lobbyist/consultant / Voices at the Convention panel
"Good manners go a long way in life and in politics."
"Conventions, most of it is friend building getting recognition."

Kaye Koonce, member of DNC platform / Voices at the Convention panel
"Be nice to folks. You never know who is going to be in what position next."