Tag Archives: North Carolina

Failed deal to undo anti-LGBT law marks rocky start for governor

North Carolina’s next Democratic governor has seen a deal he helped broker to repeal the state’s law limiting LGBT protections fall apart and had several of his powers stripped away by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature.

And he hasn’t even been sworn in yet.

Gov.-elect Roy Cooper has vowed to keep his campaign promises to bend back the rightward course of the state.

But with only a 10,000-vote victory over GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and bitter partisan distrust in this deeply divided state, he’s already slipped along the rocky path he must walk to work successfully with the legislature. And Republicans will maintain veto-proof majorities in 2017.

“My future negotiations with them are certainly going to have to be instructed by this,” a somber yet angry Cooper told reporters after the deal to repeal the law known nationally as the “bathroom bill” collapsed.

Two December special sessions, one of which saw raucous protests against Republicans and dozens of arrests, have created further strain in a divided state that chose Republicans Donald Trump for president and Richard Burr for U.S. Senate but went with a Democrat for governor.

“There’s a complete lack of trust between the legislative leadership and Cooper at this point in time,” longtime state Democratic consultant Brad Crone said. “That does not bode well for an incoming governor.”

Missing out on ending House Bill 2 — which also directed transgender people to use bathrooms in public buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate — prompted finger-pointing between Cooper and legislative leaders. It would have been a major accomplishment to repeal a bill that has been blamed for job losses, canceled concerts and sporting events and staining North Carolina’s reputation.

“I think Roy Cooper did everything he could to sabotage a reasonable compromise,” said Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.

Cooper shot back: “My mom and dad used to tell me that when you sat down and looked somebody in the eye and told them something you should keep your promise, and clearly they have not done so.”

Even before the General Assembly sessions, Cooper already was at a disadvantage.

Cooper is a 30-year veteran of state politics — 14 years in the legislature before 16 as attorney general — and claimed victory on election night.

But it was another 27 days before McCrory conceded while dozens of ballot protests and a partial recount worked out the results.

Set to take office Jan. 1, Cooper hasn’t yet announced a single Cabinet appointment — something McCrory had done by this time after his 2012 election — and faces new hurdles for his choices. One law the General Assembly approved this month requires his Cabinet choices be confirmed by legislators. The state Constitution gives the Senate the ability to “advise and consent” to the governor’s appointees by a majority vote, but that provision hadn’t been used in at least several decades.

GOP legislators argued they are only rebalancing the powers between the legislative and executive branches, but Democrats and their allies call it a brazen, unlawful power grab.

Another law reduces the number of political appointees Cooper can hire. Republicans had expanded the number of such policymaking jobs for McCrory from 400 to 1,500. That number goes back down to 425 for Cooper.

Cooper previously threatened lawsuits to challenge the efforts to scale back his power. “They will see me in court,” he told The Charlotte Observer last week.

Even as lawmakers held special sessions, the board of North Carolina’s private nonprofit tasked with luring companies to the state _ now filled with appointees from McCrory and the legislature — passed a bylaw change that will make it hard for Cooper to put his board choices on quickly.

The bad blood with lawmakers could portend Cooper’s difficulties to follow through on other campaign platform planks, such as accelerating public education funding and shifting tax burdens away from the middle class. He’s also vowed to preserve voting and abortion rights, after Republicans passed laws in 2013 scaling back early in-person voting and extending the abortion waiting period to three days.

But both Cooper and GOP lawmakers have said they could locate areas of agreement.

“I am optimistic that we can strike a good balance with the governor-elect in trying to build a consensus agenda and move our state forward,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. “Relationships have changed between the legislative and the executive branch, but that doesn’t mean … we can’t work together.”

3 charged in hatchet attack on transgender woman

Charlotte, North Carolina, police say they’ve charged three people in a hatchet attack on a transgender woman.

Ralayzia Taylor tells local media she was attacked Nov. 7 in a park.

She thinks the group wanted to rob her and intensified their attack after they realized she’s transgender.

The 24-year-old Taylor says one attacker cut her with a hatchet and they used gay slurs.

The FBI says it is working with Charlotte police in the investigation.

The Mecklenburg County Jail website says 18-year-olds Dajion Tanner and Destiny Dagraca face charges including attempted first-degree murder. Police say a 15-year-old also was arrested.

It wasn’t clear if they have attorneys.

North Carolina is in the midst of a fight over LGBT rights after the state passed a law limiting where transgender people can use the bathroom.

Groups ask court for broader injunction to protect transgender people in North Carolina

LGBT rights groups challenging the North Carolina law that bans transgender people from using restrooms that correspond to their gender identity this week filed their opening brief on appeal, requesting that the preliminary injunction in the case be broadened to protect all transgender people in the state from discrimination.

In August, a district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the North Carolina university system from enforcing H.B. 2 against the three individual transgender plaintiffs in the lawsuit Carcaño v. McCrory, which is scheduled for trial in May 2017. The advocates also asked the Fourth Circuit to expedite the appeal and schedule oral argument for January.

“Every day that H.B. 2 singles out transgender North Carolinians – whether at school, at work, or just moving through their daily lives – is another day that the transgender community is told that they are second class,” said Chris Brook, ACLU of North Carolina legal director. “Though the district court recognized the serious harm to three of our clients at UNC as a result of H.B. 2, that recognition unfortunately didn’t extend to the harms that law inflicts on other transgender individuals in public buildings across North Carolina. We hope and expect that the Fourth Circuit will expand this ruling to protect all transgender people.”

The appeal filed this week argues that H.B. 2 violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because it specifically targets transgender people, and that discrimination against transgender people is a form of sex discrimination.

While North Carolina has argued that H.B. 2 advances interests in public safety and privacy, Lambda Legal and the ACLU argue that these interests, which can be protected in other ways, do not justify the harms H.B. 2 imposes on transgender people and that to restore the status quo, the court must grant a broader preliminary injunction while the case proceeds to trial.

“H.B. 2 makes transgender North Carolinians pariahs in their own state. Courthouses, airports, libraries, public schools, highway rest stops, police departments, state hospitals and the very halls of government itself are now unsafe for, and unwelcome to, transgender North Carolinians,” said Jon W. Davidson, National Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair at Lambda Legal. “Such unequal treatment simply cannot be squared with the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of equality under the law. The Fourth Circuit should order this broader relief, pending trial.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging the law in federal court on behalf of four LGBT North Carolinians in addition to members of the ACLU of North Carolina.

The lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory, was filed days after H.B. 2 was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory. In it, the groups argue that H.B. 2 sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect and protections afforded to others, and that transgender individuals are expelled from public life since they are not allowed to use the restrooms and changing facilities that match who they are.

Clinton can put away Trump by winning North Carolina

Republican Donald Trump can do little to stop Democrat Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency if she carries North Carolina, where their close race reflects the national liabilities of both candidates.

Trump is struggling with conservative Democrats, especially women in the big and booming suburbs of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, who’ve long been part of the GOP’s winning formula in North Carolina.

Clinton has her own worries: Younger voters who helped Barack Obama win the state in 2008 and come close in 2012 are far more hesitant to back her.

In a scenario playing out across the most contested states, Clinton’s pursuit of new supporters is aided by a huge, data-driven ground force in North Carolina.

Trump is sticking with his come-what-may plan.

“Both candidates have problems here,” said Paul Shumaker, an adviser to U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who is seeking re-election. “But I think the Clinton people are more attuned about fixing their problems than Trump’s are.”

Clinton, in a recent visit to Charlotte, addressed congregants at a black church less than two weeks after the police-involved shooting death of a black man. The shooting led to two nights of violent protests and a debate over race relations.

“We’ve got to take action. We’ve got to start now, not tomorrow. Not next year, now,” Clinton said.

Polls suggest North Carolina, Ohio and Florida are among the most competitive states expected to decide the final steps on the path to the 270 electoral votes required to win the White House.

In all but one of the past nine presidential elections, the Republican nominee has taken North Carolina.

Clinton’s apparent strength in once reliably Republican Virginia and swing state Colorado may mean a perilously narrow route to an electoral majority for Trump.

If Clinton captures North Carolina, Trump would have to carry perennially tight Ohio and Florida, plus Democrat-leaning Pennsylvania, and sweep less populous close states that appear increasingly out of reach for him.

Shumaker says GOP support for Trump is lower than usual in North Carolina, as estimated in private GOP and public polling. 2012 nominee Mitt Romney received more than 90 percent of the GOP vote in North Carolina, according to exit polls. Trump appears markedly short of that.

Trump promised to win over conservative Democrats, who are common in Cary, a suburb of roomy brick homes and newer retail developments west of Raleigh.

Such a voter is Sunday Petrov, who is backing Clinton.

“It’s more like I’m voting against Trump,” she said. “What bothers me most is his disrespect for Hispanics, for Muslims, his unprofessional demeanor.”

Trump has little outreach aimed at specific voter groups in North Carolina; Clinton does. She needs it with younger people, with whom her polling margins pale next to Obama’s in 2008 and 2012.

After last Monday’s debate with Trump, she pleaded her case during a rally at Wake Tech Community College. The election, she said, “is more about the future of young people and children than it’s ever been,” and she talked about her plan for government-subsidized, tuition-free college. Later in the week, Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, visited Asheville and Greenville, stopping at Eastern Carolina University to focus on college debt.

“North Carolina feels like Virginia in 2012,” said Dan Kanninen, the Clinton campaign’s top adviser in the state.

Obama won Virginia in 2008 and 2012, after 10 consecutive GOP victories there, by attracting younger, ethnically diverse and more educated adults, especially those flowing into northern Virginia’s tech and defense sectors.

Clinton is putting that same strategy to work in North Carolina.

Universities, high-tech companies such as Cisco Systems and the financial sector, including Fidelity Investments, have attracted thousands of young professionals to the Raleigh area alone since 2012.

In the past four years, North Carolina has added roughly 300,000 voters, mostly in metropolitan areas that account for half of the state’s vote. They are predominantly college-educated, which is good news for Clinton in a close race.

“Trump’s biggest problem is college-educated whites,” said Republican strategist Michael Luethy, who charts legislative races. “If he solves his problem there, he wins. Easier said than done.”

Perhaps the biggest unknown heading into the Nov. 8 election is whether African-Americans will turn out for Clinton at near the historic levels they twice did for Obama, the first black president.

Clinton dominates Trump among African-Americans, who make up 22 percent of North Carolina’s voters, the biggest share of any of battleground state. Trump has done little to turn around long-standing support for Democrats by black voters.

Clinton has organizers on or near campuses of the state’s 12 historically black colleges and universities.

Moreover, early-voting restrictions enacted in 2013 by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Legislature and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory were overturned after being ruled discriminatory toward black voters.

McCrory is up for re-election in November and trails Democrat Roy Cooper in a rare case where a down-ballot race could generate turnout for the presidential campaign.

“I think Democratic intensity on that issue — the attempt at voter suppression — is going to keep African-American turnout at the levels we’ve had lately,” said Ken Eudy, a Democratic campaign strategist.

Shumaker, the GOP senator’s aide, said that may be enough to lift Clinton in a close race.

“It’s going to come down to the wire,” he said. “And we’re a 2-point state.”

Republican Donald Trump. — PHOTO: Gage Skidmore
Republican Donald Trump. — PHOTO: Gage Skidmore

Investors representing $2.1 trillion join call to repeal anti-LGBT law

Some 60 investors representing $2.1 trillion in managed assets joined the NCAA, entertainers and more than 200 businesses in calling for North Carolina to repeal its law limiting LGBT protections against discrimination.

“While the U.S. economy continues to grow, quite frankly North Carolina appears to be headed for what I would call a state-government-inflicted recession,” said Matt Patsky, chief executive officer of Trillium Asset Management. Trillium has more than $2 billion in assets under management.

Patsky spoke this week at a news conference alongside some of the investors who signed a statement calling for repeal of the law known as HB2. Trillium was one of the organizers of the statement, along with environmental research group Croatan Institute and the New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer. Stringer was unable to attend because of a New York ban on travel to North Carolina, Patsky said.

“As long-term investors, we can’t sit idly by as HB2 undermines fundamental human rights at our expense,” Stringer said in the statement. “For the last 25 years, New York City’s pension funds have pushed more than 100 companies to enact non-discrimination policies that protect LGBTQ individuals and ensure they attract, retain, and promote the best and the brightest. These policies are essential if we want companies — and our economy — to succeed, and we can’t let a hate-filled law get in the way.”

State legislators were enraged when the Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance expanding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. During a one-day special session in March, Republicans passed a state law that blocks any municipality from expanding protections against sexual discrimination in public accommodations to LGBT people and ordered public schools and universities to ensure that students use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.

Earlier this month, Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP legislators offered to consider rescinding the law, but only if the Democrats who pushed for Charlotte’s ordinance would essentially admit they were wrong, something the council hasn’t done.

Meanwhile, the NBA pulled its All-Star Game from Charlotte. The NCAA earlier this month took the unprecedented step of pulling seven championship events from the state over its objection to the law. Two days later, the ACC did the same thing — relocating all 10 of its neutral-site championships from the state the conference has called home since its founding in 1953.

Performers including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Maroon 5 canceled concerts in North Carolina, and more than 200 business leaders signed a letter to McCrory. The Williams Institute, which is part of the UCLA School of Law, has said HB2 could cost the state as much as $5 billion in lost federal funding and business investment.

“This latest attack on North Carolina values is being coordinated by the same people who manage the New York City pension fund that is on the verge of an ‘operational failure,’ according to a recent report,” McCrory said in a statement released by his campaign. “For New York hedge fund billionaires to lecture North Carolina about how to conduct its affairs is the height of hypocrisy.

McCrory is seeking re-election in a campaign against Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who opposes the law.

Some clients are seeking “North Carolina-free portfolios,” including divestment of municipal bonds, Patsky said, and he expects that number to grow if the law isn’t repealed.

Those who signed the letter include representatives of North Carolina-based groups such as Investors’ Circle and the Mary Babcock Reynolds Foundation. Others who signed are from Morgan Stanley Investment Management, John Hancock Investments and RBC Wealth Management.

“This fallout is real,” said Bonny Moellenbrock, executive director of Investors Circle, which she said has invested $200 million in more than 330 start-ups. “It has had a devastating impact on our reputation and that has a direct impact on entrepreneurs’ ability to grow their business here.”

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NCAA relocates championships from North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

The NCAA has pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games, for the coming year due to a state law that discriminates against LGBT people.

The NCAA said the decision by its board of governors came “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”

“This decision is consistent with the NCAA’s long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, the chair of the board of governors.

The law — known as HB2 — requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. That means that heavily muscled and bearded transgender men have to use ladies’ rooms, while transgender women with breasts wearing makeup have to use men’s rooms.

The effect of the law is so jarring that it prevents many transgender people from using public facilities.

The law also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections. HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. A spokesman with McCrory’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” spokeswoman Kami Mueller said.

The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are ones determined when a team earns the right to play on their own campus. North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham and North Carolina State AD Debbie Yow both issued statements saying they were disappointed at the loss of the events.

“We certainly hope there will be resolution in the very near future,” Yow said.

The campaign spokesman for Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general and McCrory’s re-election opponent in November, said the law needs to be repealed.

“It seems that almost every day, we learn of a new consequence of HB2,” spokesman Ford Porter said. “… We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track.”

The NCAA’s move leaves the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in Charlotte as the marquee college sporting event in the state this year as the men’s basketball tournament starts a two-year stay in Brooklyn, New York.

However, that event also could be in jeopardy. In May, the ACC announced that member schools discussed the law during their annual spring meetings and said it could impact whether the state hosts league championship events.

In April, the NCAA announced it was adopting an anti-discrimination measure that would affect the way the governing body evaluates bids to host sporting events and required sites to “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

In a statement Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the governing body will delay announcements on future championship sites until early next year. That comes as it reviews responses to questionnaires required of prospective site hosts on how they would comply with the NCAA’s anti-discrimination measure.

In announcing its decision Monday, the NCAA stated current North Carolina laws “make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver” on that requirement.

The NCAA also took special note of four ways North Carolina’s law differs from other states. The NCAA pointed out that five states — Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington — and several cities prohibit travel by public employees and representatives of public institutions to the state of North Carolina. Those representatives prohibited to travel could include athletes, coaches and athletic administrators.

Monday’s action by the NCAA is the latest public and business backlash that has arisen since the law was enacted. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte as originally scheduled because of the law. Duke lost a men’s basketball game from its schedule when Albany backed out due to that state’s travel ban, while the Vermont women’s basketball team has canceled a December trip to play North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Ringo Starr have canceled plans to play in North Carolina. And PayPal reversed plans to open a 400-employee operation center in Charlotte.

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Anti-LGBT law drives NBA to move all-star game from N.C.

The NBA will move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, over the state’s anti-LGBT law.

The NBA issued this statement on its website:

“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019. 

Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.

“Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community — current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2. 

“We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons — including members of the LGBT community — feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena. 

“We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter. 

“The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks.”

Commenting on the development, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “Today the NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won’t stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans. The NBA repeatedly warned state lawmakers that their hateful HB2 law created an inhospitable environment for their 2017 All-Star Game and other events

“Nevertheless, Gov. McCrory, Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore doubled down on HB2 and refused to undo their discriminatory and costly error in judgment. Every day that HB2 remains on the books, people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm. We appreciate the leadership of the NBA in standing up for equality and call once again on lawmakers to repeal this vile HB2 law.”

Chris Sgro, executive director of the statewide LGBT group Equality NC, also commented: “North Carolina General Assembly leadership and Gov. McCrory repeatedly ignored the warning bells as businesses, conferences and entertainers left the state.

“From the beginning, NBA leadership has been clear that HB2 creates an untenable situation and jeopardizes the safety and comfort of their fans. The withdraw of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte came as the NBA took a principled stand against the discriminatory HB2 and the failure to repeal HB2.”

LGBT civil rights advocates made clear that Charlotte’s leadership is not to blame for the discriminatory legislation.

The city had adopted anti-discrimination protections last year.

Responding, GOP leadership enacted what has been called the worst anti-LGBT bill in the nation. It rolled back existing protections for LGBT people in Charlotte, removed municipalities’ ability to enact nondiscrimination ordinances and banned transgender people from using the public facilities consistent with their gender identity.

Earlier this month, the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned after a short session and it is not scheduled to reconvene until January.

In the nearly four months since passage of HB2, more than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2.

Also, major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state and conventions have withdrawn from the state.

And North Carolina cities no longer qualify to host NCAA events, including the Final Four.

Lost business has been estimated at more than $329.9 million.

Obama vigorously vouches for Clinton’s dedication

President Barack Obama made his first outing on the campaign stump for his former secretary of state just hours after his FBI director blasted her handling of classified material.

The president vigorously vouched for Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and dedication in his speech in North Carolina on July 5.

“I’m ready to pass the baton,” the president declared.

“I’m here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I have had a front-row seat to her judgment and her commitment.”

The energetic Obama-Clinton appearance in North Carolina was a show of Democratic unity in a state Clinton is hoping to put back in the party’s column. But the moment wasn’t what her campaign and the White House imagined during the long primary season.

Shortly before the president and his would-be successor flew to Charlotte together, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommend charges against Clinton for her email practices, but only after he presented a searing description of her “extremely careless” handling of classified information that ensured the matter won’t be going away.

The White House declined to comment on Comey’s findings, saying the investigation was not formally closed and it did not want to appear to be influencing prosecutors.

Still, the timing of the trip pulled the president into a controversy he has at times tried to keep at arm’s length. His appearance with Clinton was a reminder that it was his appointee who declined to pursue criminal charges.

Yet Clinton and Obama did not veer from their display of lockstep unity. The duo flew to Charlotte together on Air Force One, and they rode to the rally together in Obama’s armored limousine, known as “The Beast.” Clinton shared photos of her grandchildren, Charlotte and newborn Aidan, with the president.

Welcomed by a screaming crowd of supporters, the president led chants of “Hillary!” as they stood onstage under banners reading “Stronger Together.” He declared that “there has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton, ever. And that’s the truth. That’s the truth.”

Referring back to their own bruising primary battle in 2008, Obama said, “We may have gone toe to toe, from coast to coast, but we stood shoulder to shoulder for the ideals that we share.”

Clinton’s Republican rival didn’t let the Democratic duo’s outing go unanswered. As the rally began, Donald Trump released a lengthy statement casting the joint appearance as an example of a “rigged” political system.

“It was no accident that charges were not recommended against Hillary the exact same day as President Obama campaigns with her for the first time,” Trump said, later echoing the charges at a rowdy rally held across the state in Raleigh.

Clinton shot back early as she introduced the president, chiding Trump for once leading the questioning of the president’s birthplace.

She said Obama was a man that “I was honored to stand with in the good times and the bad times, someone who has never forgotten where he came from. And, Donald, if you’re out there tweeting, it’s Hawaii.”

Obama, too, got in a dig at Trump.

“Anybody can tweet but nobody actually knows what it takes” to be president, he said.

Later, Obama and Clinton dropped in unannounced at Midwood Smokehouse, a barbecue place in Charlotte. He offered a hug to a woman who tried to pay for his meal while Clinton chatted up a woman and her preschool-age child.

At Trump’s rally, which attracted a smaller but still enthusiastic crowd, Trump said Obama should be in Washington, dealing with the issues facing the nation, instead of out campaigning.

“We’ve got a person in the White House that’s having a lot of fun,” he said. “I watched them today. It’s like a carnival act. A lot of fun.”

The Clinton campaign hopes Obama can reassure voters about her experience, talent and character — and speak to their questions about her honesty and trustworthiness, some of which stem from the email investigation.

The president cast the negative impressions of her as a result of her many years in the political spotlight. He also noted that he had benefited from Americans’ desire for a fresh face.

“Sometimes we take somebody who’s been in the trenches and fought the good fight and been steady for granted,” Obama said, as Clinton sat behind him. “As a consequence that means sometimes Hillary doesn’t get the credit she deserves. But the fact is Hillary is steady and Hillary is true.”