On Sunday, January 22, 2012, I had the opportunity to debate perhaps one of the most powerful political operatives in North Carolina, if not the nation, attorney Art Pope, owner of Variety Wholesalers, Inc., on the Spectacular Magazine Radio Show on WRDU-FM 106.1.
Much has been said and written about Mr. Pope, particularly about his Republican conservative politics, associations with infamous right-wing characters like the Tea Party; the industrialists, the Koch Brothers; and the organization Americans for Prosperity - all vehemently anti-liberal, anti-Democratic Party, and certainly anti-President Barack Obama.
A week earlier, on Sunday, January 15th, Mr. Pope debated Chris Kromm of the Institute of Southern Studies. Chris has investigated Pope with zeal, even creating a website to update his reports on Mr. Pope's activities.
The two went at it pretty good then, with Chris chiding Mr. Pope for essentially installing the Republican-led NC General Assembly in Nov. 2010 by way of his tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to at least 19 GOP candidates. Pope, in turn countered that he hasn't done anything that Democrats and liberal campaign donors haven't also done.
After their heated two-hour debate, Chris and Pope agreed to come back on Jan. 22 for part 2, but at the last minute, Chris couldn't make it, so I was asked to step in.
So what you're about to hear now is a recording of the debate I had with Art Pope about his politics, his ownership of discount stores in the black community, and what he does with the money from those stores.
This is not an aircheck from over the air, but rather a recording from inside the studio, so you won't hear commercials (edited out), and you'll barely hear callers. But you will hear hosts Phyllis Coley and Gary Jones, Mr. Pope and myself very clearly.