Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Press ignores McIntyre staffer's sick outburst at jobfest. We do the job they didn't.

By Verne Strickland
March 30, 2011

Seventh District Congressman Mike McIntyre hosted a “Jobs Creation Summit” this week at the northern campus of Cape Fear Community College near Castle Hayne.

But then you have probably heard about that. Not the actual meeting itself. That was a bust according to a report sent to me during the "summit":

"Half of the audience walked out during the middle and second half of the program. It was completely ineffective."

No, anything that happened with the program will surely not be remembered. It's what happened during the event that Congressman McIntyre and his people would like to forget.

A bizarre incident that went under the radar, at least as far as the audience was concerned, was captured and reported by an alert news team representing WWAY-TV3 of Wilmington. Here's an excerpt of from their story:

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)March 29, 2011 -- During Rep. Mike McIntyre's jobs summit today, one of the Congressman's staffers made some interesting comments to us.

After he saw Del Pietro, a Democrat who plans to challenge McIntyre in the primary, talking to our crew, McIntyre's economic development director Tony McEwen pulled them aside.

McEwen told us Pietro is "crazy," "shaky," "schizophrenic" and "not all there."

Pietro says McEwen is trying to destroy his reputation because he knows he is a serious contender to beat the Congressman.

"I think average folks like us should be able to run for public office without having to endure dirty politics," Pietro said.

"Quite frankly this is exactly what the folks in this Congressional district and across America are exhausted by. Our political system can be very dirty, and this is clearly an indication of that."

When asked about McEwen's comments, McIntyre's Chief of Staff said in an e-mail to WWAY, "(A)ny comments Tony McEwen made with regard to the subject manner you referenced were not authorized by, nor reflective of, this office."

When asked if he, the Congressman or McEwen would like a chance to talk on camera or by phone about what was said and Pietro's reaction, Mitchell e-mailed back, "We have no further comment. Thanks."

VS: But Pietro did have some further comments, which he offered in an exclusive interview for USA DOT COM:

Pietro: “The slanderous attack that Tony McEwen used against me with a WWAY reporter is just very unfortunate. I fully plan to pursue all legal avenues to put a stop to this. It’s just completely inappropriate.”

VS: How did this happen to erupt like this?

Pietro:“All I did was say hello to the WWAY reporter who was there. And after that the WWAY news director told me the reporter was pulled aside and told of all these slanderous remarks. WWAY called me immediately to get my comments on it, and it was such a serious situation that I was asked to go down to the station and get a face-to-face interview.”

VS: What are you considering in the wake of this incident?

Pietro: “I’m going to be pursuing all avenues in terms of civil litigation against Tony McEwen and the congressman. Tony is a representative of the congressman, and is doing the congressman’s dirty work, and basically the congressman is accountable for Tony’s remarks. They are baseless and it’s saddening that the congressman and his staff would stoop to this level.”

VS: You said that Mr. McEwan has run afoul of federal law?

Pietro: “Yes, he’s a federal employee covered by the Hatch Act, as I understand it, and he is not supposed to be campaigning while he is working in any way, shape or form. That’s the way I understand the law, and he clearly violated that law. When he made those remarks, he is technically campaigning against me. That’s an issue that’s to be reported to the Federal Government."

VS: What does the Democratic Party have to say about all this?

Pietro: “Tony is the State’s third vice chair of the party, and I was just told by a local Democrat that the party is going to put forth a resolution at our convention asking him to resign his office. This will be at either the county or the district level.

“This is just very dirty politics, and it’s uncalled for. They should be able to campaign on substance, but apparently if they don’t feel they can beat me on substance, they will just resort to these types of attacks.

“A call was made to the congressman’s office by the chair of the Democratic Party for the Seventh District, Melvin Williams, making him aware of what transpired, and explaining that I’m looking for a sincere apology from the congressman and Tony McEwan, and also asking for disciplinary action against Tony for slanderous comments.

“I am in consultation with an attorney right now to discuss what my legal options are in terms of filing a civil suit against both Tony and the congressman. This wasn’t typical political rhetoric, this was a direct slanderous attack, and I’m not going to tolerate it.”

VS: News media in the area treated the McIntyre job summit tempest like a hot potato. Although Pietro said he talked with StarNews reporter Patrick Gannon about the incident, the embarrassing political dust-up was ignored in Wednesday's print edition.

In an earlier time, this would probably be the end of awkward moments like this. In this hidebound Cape Fear region, which has been a Democrat stronghold for a century, no self-respecting news organization would have ventured the faintest suggestion of such a gaffe involving a powerful Democrat's staff.

But this is 2011, friends, and thank God for the Internet. No longer do Republicans and their supporters have to resort to sky writing or leaflet drops to report the news.

And no longer do we have to plead with pompous "news" writers to drop a favorable line or two about our agenda somewhere on the obituary page. Today, we don't have to run our information through a Democrat filter which sanitizes the copy into total obscurity.

Why? The American public has the Internet.

Free at last, free at last . . . as the late MLK famously intoned.

So I did my bit on my USA DOT COM blog, and some readers generously commented.

Blogger Darvin Dowdy said...

HEY DEL: I get your indignity "but" what you're experiencing is the norm from the main-stream DNC. We Tea Party conservatives have had to to endure slanderous attacks, such as this and worse, continuously by Democrats. We've just learned to try to ignore them. Sometimes its difficult.

Just know that the "folks" out in NC7 don't think you are crazy. They're cheering you on. Keep applying pressure and bring some civility back to the Democrat Party. (great interview, Verne!) DD
March 30, 2011 4:39 AM

Andy Yates commented on your link.
Andy wrote: "Tony McEwen is paid by our tax dollars and was on the clock when these statements were made. He shouldn't be commenting on political candidates or engaging political activities. What else is McEwen doing to attempt to advance McIntyre's political future while he is on the clock?"

VS: Then there was an assortment of comments posted on the WWAY message board:

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on Wed, 03/30/2011 - 8:27am.

This story is disgusting and for McEwen to espouse such dirty rhetoric is indicative of McIntyre and his office. Is this what happens when an entrenched incumbent has a legitimate challenger? I hope this is the straw that broke the camels back for McIntyre. McEwen should be fired.

Snakes, etc...
Submitted by Loyal Democrat (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:56pm.

I know both of the gentlemen you have written about in your story. If either of them is "not all there" or "schizophrenic" it isn't Del Pietro. I think Tony McEwen's actions demonstrated that he is the type of ambitious politician who would sell his grandmother to meet his needs. It isn't the first time I have seen him behave in this manner.

On the other hand, Del Pietro is a True Democrat, loyal to the party and to the President who says what he believes and follows through on those beliefs. He would make a fine, honest Congressman representing our district.

Smear tactics???
Submitted by Scar1 (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 9:25pm.

Del is kind enough not to slap Mike in the face for that one. How very low to smear someone's character. And Del has kids and family that will read such accusations. How would Mr. McIntyre like it if someone said this to his children. Del's children are young but can hear others repeat such "trash". How cruel can one be? Apologize!!!!!

Perhaps he is afraid Del will win. And with this type action he has my vote. How nasty!!!

Has a lot of Potential
Submitted by Guest (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 8:49pm.

If you look at Pietro's calm and cool demeanor he certainly looks like someone that is going to be a serious contender. So far when I've seen him in news clips he has been very knowledgeable and articulate. He very well could be our next Congressman.

A true Democrat
Submitted by True Independent (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 7:50pm.

Actual, from what I've read, Pietro sounds like a real Democrat.
McIntyre is a Democrat in name only. There must be something about Pietro that makes McIntyre worry because I don't think he would waste his time commenting on someone he considers truly "crazy".
It would be nice to have a real Democrat in the congressional race for a change.

McIntyre is Dirty
Submitted by Mike Miller (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 7:05pm.

The real story here that we need to capitalize on is that McIntyre and his staff are dirty. This is a golden opportunity for us to expose McIntyre for what he is.

Submitted by Tea Party (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 6:29pm.

What the real story here is how dirty the Congressman and his staffer are. Who cares what this guy's political philosophy is. This is a golden opportunity for us to capitalize on the fact that McIntyre is a dirty politician. Desperate is probably a better term.

Remarks (FOOLISH remarks)
Submitted by hugh (not verified) on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 9:58pm.

Mike is honorable and is not remotely "dirty". This is irrelevant to you and your other desparate supporters who can only try to gain ground by lying and distorting the truth and record of a senior Congressman who has been a great asset to his district. "A golden opportunity to capitalize" is all you seek without regard for the truth--you are indeed desparate.Save your slander.


VS: Well, it takes all kinds. We could go on and on but you get the idea. Interesting how the lack of civility and respect which the Democrats preach but don't practice at the national level also infects party hacks down the line.

Del Pietro is as quiet now as the press which has failed to give a fair report of this -- or any report at all. Pietro has said his piece, and likely has now fallen silent because he has hired that attorney he mentioned to go after Mike McIntyre Incorporated.

See you in court, boys.