Associated Press (and former Charlotte Observer) business writer Christina Rexrode started calling CEOs at the start of the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament for their brackets. The North Carolina alums who picked up the phone had few kind words for Duke.
Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine told her he went to UNC's basketball camp as a kid, and still wears his UNC hat to meetings to antagonize co-workers who went to Duke. So he was heartbroken when older son Brian chose to do the same.
"I told him, 'OK, you're going to Duke, and I can get over that,'" Levine recalled. "But you can't wear that Duke stuff when you come home.'"
Cute, but hardly impolitic. For that, we turn to U.S. Rep. Brad Miller.
After speaking with the state's five-term congressman last week, Rexrode decided to call back when North Carolina State made the Sweet 16 as well, and ask about divided loyalties.
"The way I deal with it is, I scream my lungs out for Carolina," Miller said. "I make no pretense that I am at all half-hearted in my support for Carolina. Nobody in North Carolina would trust a politician who claimed to be neutral on a matter as important as college basketball."
Miller said he rooted for N.C. State against Georgetown, And when they play out-of-state. And any time a Wolfpack win doesn't affect Carolina's ranking.
Duke is another story altogether.
"I have said very publicly that if Duke was playing against the Taliban," Miller said very publicly again, "then I'd have to pull for the Taliban."
Guess who's not running for re-election?
- Jim Litke, Associated Press
Friday, March 23, 2012