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Republican State Budget Director Art Pope and NC NAACP President William Barber debate on sidewalk

Civil rights leader and State Budget Director speak outside government building.
December 2, 2013 7:13:18 PM PST
Television cameras were rolling Monday as North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and State Budget Director Art Pope exchanged words outside the government office building where Pope works.

Click here for video of the exchange

It happened as Barber was holding a news conference urging Pope to renounce GOP initiatives approved by Governor Pat McCrory and the legislature.

Pope - a well known Republican figure - has used his money to promote conservative causes in North Carolina. Now, the NAACP says it plans to picket outside discount stores owned by Pope's family business - accusing Pope of supporting policies that hurt North Carolina workers.

Pope asked Barber whether he was trying to close Maxway, Roses, and other stores that create jobs in communities. He said a third of his store's employees are African-American and unemployment has dropped under the McCrory administration.

"That is helping people get jobs. That's not hurting them, that's helping them," said Pope.

Barber responded that Republicans have cut unemployment benefits, denied Medicaid expansion and worked to restrict voting rights.

According to Barber, Monday marked the first time he ever talked to Pope.

Barber will be among the Moral Monday protesters in court Tuesday morning.

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