North Carolina doesn't have that many celebrities but one of the most iconic is actor Andy Griffith, who was born and raised here, went to UNC-Chapel Hill, and then starred in the classic TV show set in the fictional North Carolina town of Mayberry.
Well, yesterday Andy joined director Ron Howard (who played his son Opie on the show) in this video endorsing Barack Obama. It's getting lots of press here in NC in the papers and on the local TV news. One local writer wonders if the "Mayberry Miracle" will be the thing that pushes NC over into the blue!
It's a great video. I got a little choked up when I heard that "Andy Griffith Show" theme song! Kudos to Ron Howard for making this. And after Ron revisits Andy and Mayberry, he reprises his role as Ritchie Cunningham and gets The Fonz to endorse Obama too! Happy Days!
The photo at the top is the endorsement from the Raleigh News and Observer that was published last weekend.
And this endorsement is one that's really close to my heart since Coach Dean Smith is one of my heroes. Not just because he coached my Tar Heels for 36 years and is the greatest basketball coach of all time, but also because he's a kind and compassionate man who has done so much for North Carolina above and beyond giving us many years of excellent basketball. A few facts from his Wikipedia page:
"Smith is also known for running a clean program and having a high graduation rate for his players with 96.6% players going on to graduate. Smith is one of the most prominent liberals in North Carolina politics. Politically, he is best known for promoting desegregation...In 1964, Smith joined a local pastor and a black North Carolina theology student to integrate The Pines, a Chapel Hill restaurant. He also integrated the Tar Heels basketball team by recruiting Charlie Scott as the university's first black scholarship athlete.
While coach, he was recruited by some in the Democratic Party to run for the United States Senate against incumbent Jesse Helms. He declined. But in retirement, he has continued to speak out on issues such as the war in Iraq, death penalty and gay rights. In 2006, Smith became the spokesperson for Devout Democrats, an inter-faith, grassroots political action committee designed to convince religious Americans to vote for Democrats."
Here is the text of Coach Smith's endorsement:
There is a point in every contest when sitting on the sidelines is not an option. That is why Linnea and I are writing to urge you to join Barack Obama's campaign for President.
There are pivotal moments in history when the right decision by a nation can change its course for the better -- opening up new paths before us and providing future generations with opportunities that we had not thought possible. This coming election provides one of those moments. Linnea and I believe Barack Obama is the right leader at this critical juncture. I have written that when coaching a team, you must be prepared to make changes to meet new challenges and obstacles. We must be prepared to do the same as a nation. Now, it is the United States that needs a change in direction... and a change in leadership.
Linnea and I respect all that Senator McCain has done for our country. However, we feel strongly that it is Barack Obama who offers the real leadership our nation needs to tap its potential as a land of opportunity -- even as we face difficult times at home and abroad. Senator Obama is a patriotic American, a committed Christian, a good family man, and a man who shares the bedrock values that most North Carolinians have in common: fairness, hard work, respect for others, and personal responsibility. And he has the vision and judgment to help us push through this period of uncertainty to a time of greater economic stability and greater security from threats abroad.
If you believe America needs to set a new course, then the time to join us is now. If you are already an Obama supporter, please step up to help our campaign. There are only about three weeks left before Election Day, and if we are going to move away from the failed policies of the past, then we need your help now.
So we encourage you to get out there and get involved -- talk to your neighbors and sign up to volunteer today.
Get involved now: http://nc.barackobama.com/jointhesmiths
And pass this email along to those you think might be interested. This election is too important to stand on the sidelines and watch history pass us by.
Coach Dean Smith and Linnea Smith
Chapel Hill, NC