Local/State

McCrory's cookie offer to abortion rights protesters crumbles

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Protestors are dishing out the criticism after governor McCrory hand-delivered a plate of cookies to abortion rights advocates outside the governor's mansion Tuesday.

The protesters, who were dressed in 1950s era outfits, gave them back.

"It was very quick," said Planned Parenthood's Irene Godinez.

Southern hospitality or chocolate chip diplomacy -- either way the governor's cookie gesture crumbled.

"Really, everyone was just in shock," said Godinez.

Godinez was in front of the Executive Mansion around 1 p.m. Tuesday with several others protesting against the new abortion law when McCrory and four security guards came out.

"All he said was, 'God bless," and he said that a few times and turned around, handed off the cookies and walked away," said Godinez.

"The least that he could have done is come out and directly answered some questions," said abortion supporter Jes Cromiller. "Why did you sign a bill that you say you didn't read? Why would you go back on your campaign promises? But none of that's been answered. Instead, we're given a snack."

The backlash was even more apparent on Planned Parenthood's Facebook page replete with outrage.

"Let them eat cake," said one poster.

"Just as Marie Antoinette was disconnected to her country, Gov. McCrory is completely disconnected to North Carolinians," said Godinez.

Protesters slipped the full plate of cookies back under the mansion's gate with this a note indicating they wanted women's health over cookies.

To that the governor's communications director released the tersely written response, which said, "Sometimes a plate of cookies is just a plate of cookies."

"When someone comes out and protests not just the policy decision and says you're a liar, you're not keeping your promises, that that probably does cause some heartburn for him and he wants to let the people of this position to know 'Hey, I'm not a bad guy,'" said Mitch Kokai with the John Locke Foundation.

"This is not the first time McCrory has pulled a petty stunt like this," said Gerrick Brenner with Progress NC. "He did it with the baseballs."

Brenner is referring to the governor's game of baseball that recently caught controversy when his critics submitted thousands of petitions protesting education cuts.

"This raises real questions about the character," said Brenner. "Is this someone who's not only going to turn a deaf ear, but is going to give you the Heisman, with a plate of cookies and throw it back in your face?"

Political analysts question the timing of it all.

"The governor's poll numbers are way down. He is the butt of jokes in the national media and the object of protests here in Raleigh, and I think he's struggling with that," said Rob Schofield with NC Policy Watch. "He's in a much tougher and deeper situation that he ever faced as mayor of Charlotte."

After a tumultuous month in the legislature, protestors aren't sweet on the gesture. They say it just adds insult to injury.

"Thousands of women have shown up and said we care passionately about women and women's lives and women's health, and the governor delivered cookies," said Paige Johnson with Planned Parenthood.

Around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, someone from the Executive Mansion passed out cake out to the three protesters outside, who were with the Occupy movement.

Officials said that wasn't connected to the governor's cookie offering earlier in the day.

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