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Topics: Elections | Legislature | Politicians    Columns: Christensen | Under the Dome    Photo Column: Jones Street


Published: Jun 12, 2006 12:30 AM
Modified: Jun 12, 2006 01:31 AM

Mary Easley has active public life, but she's no Hillary Clinton
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POLITICAL SCORECARD

DOWN: VIDEO POKER. Couldn't compete with the lottery. Gov. Mike Easley last week signed a bill abolishing it in 2007.

DOWN: TEENAGE YAKKING. The Senate passed a bill banning teenagers from talking on the cell phone while driving, except for emergencies and calls to parents.

UP: GEORGE HOLDING. The federal prosecutor was nominated to be U.S. attorney to replace Frank Whitney.

DOWN: U.S. REP. BOB ETHERIDGE. Slow progress irked the Lillington Democrat as he toured Iraq. "Whether we win or lose is really up the Iraqi people. We're doing our part."

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First lady Mary Easley says she has no interest in running for governor in 2008, despite gossip in the Raleigh rumor mill that she is considering succeeding her husband.

Gov. Mike Easley is barred by the state constitution from running for a third consecutive term. There has been talk that Mary Easley, the first career woman to be first lady, might consider pulling a Hillary Clinton or an Elizabeth Dole -- and enter politics as her husband leaves.

But while Mary Easley says she hopes to remain active in public affairs after she moves out of the Executive Mansion, elective office is not on the horizon.

"I don't have any interest in running for governor in 2008," she said. "I love public service. I am honored at the opportunity to serve the public, whether as district attorney or whether it's been working as first lady."

"I plan to continue public service in the future. But I'm confident I can be just as effective without seeking elective office."

Mary Easley is a former prosecutor, trial lawyer and law school professor at N.C. Central University. She is currently a senior lecturer at N.C. State University, where she is teaching in the master's program on the legal aspects of public administration.

She has been active in a broad range of activities as first lady, from education to the arts.

Dole for Senate, again

Also not running for governor is U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Rumors about Dole running for governor have been circulating in GOP circles for months. But Dole says she plans to run for re-election in 2008.

"This is where I am, raising funds tonight and planning to run for the Senate," Dole said Friday after a speech in Durham to a meeting of community credit union administrators.

Later in the day, Dole was in Wilmington to tour the ports and attend a fundraiser for her re-election effort.

Edwards in Israel

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards returned last week from a four-day visit to Israel, where he met with that country's top leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Edwards told the Jerusalem Post that the U.S. should not rule out using military force against Iran to prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons. He praised Olmert's unilateral realignment plan as a "bold idea."

The likely 2008 presidential candidate toured Israel by helicopter, examining the security border and the Golan Heights. The trip was arranged by the American-Israel Education Foundation.

Edwards has been seeking to enhance his foreign policy credentials, visiting Brussels, Dubai, India and Russia during the past two years.

He will be in Hawaii on Wednesday to attend a rally of hotel workers -- part of a national campaign by the hotel workers to get a new contract.

Cain at Camp David

Raleighite Jim Cain, the U.S. ambassador to Denmark, spent time at Camp David on Friday with President Bush.

Bush rolled out the red carpet for Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has been a staunch U.S. ally in Iraq.

It was the first time in two and a half years that a head of state visited the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains.

"The invitation was a testament to our special relationship with this small country," Cain said. "This is about the president thanking this small country for being such a significant ally."

Before the prime minister's visit, Cain took part in a presidential briefing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten.

Lunch was a cheeseburger, onion rings and Blue Bell ice cream, the sort of food Cain said he can't get in Denmark.

Cain, a former president of the Carolina Hurricanes, said he couldn't stay to watch the Stanley Cup Finals because he was due back in Copenhagen on Monday to give a speech.

By staff writer Rob Christensen. Christensen can be reached at 829-4532 or robc@newsobserver.com.
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