If you're running for U.S. Senate you should be able to pass a 10th grade civics test. We selected three sample questions from the North Carolina Testing Program's Civics and Economics exam. Here's how several Senate candidates stacked up:
1) Who can prevent the president of the United States from controlling the Supreme Court by blocking appointments to the bench?
A) state legislatures
B) the Joint Chiefs of Staff
D) the Senate
Correct answer: D. Thankfully, everyone answered correctly. Marcus Williams cited Article 1 of the Constitution. Ken Lewis joked that "I suppose the joint chiefs if they really engaged the military could do so as well."
2) Which propaganda technique is represented by the quote, "my opponent is soft on crime"?
A) name calling
C) glittering generality
D) stacked cards
Candidates found this question a bit trickier, struggling with the "glittering generality" term. After working through it, Cunningham was the only one to respond with the correct answer, A. The others all went with C.
3) Which action is a civic responsibility of all U.S. citizens?
A) Voting during local elections
B) Paying taxes
C) Attending school
D) Maintaining security
"Is it not all?" Cunningham asked, echoing the others. Nope. Eventually, Cunningham and Lewis answered correctly: A. Paying taxes and attending school are legal, not civic responsibilities. Marshall's logic led her astray. " It's an obligation to report and pay taxes if appropriate," she said. "Voting is a privilege. I wish people would consider it more of a responsibility." Williams also answered B saying it was the best fit because people should vote not only in local elections.
Cunningham urged us to ask him another one. He picked a number at random, leading us to question 13, which asked "Which type of cost occurs when an individual pays for a piano lesson instead of going to a movie." "Opportunity cost," he answered quickly, chuckling. "A master's degree from the London School of Economics pushed got me over the hump on that."
Cal Cunningham (campaign finance reports)
Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling
State Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford
Sig Hutchinson, Sig Hutchinson and Associates
State Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake
John Sanders, former director of UNC Institute of Government
Tim Toben, N.C. Energy Policy Council chairman, Greenbridge developer
Ken Lewis (campaign finance reports)
Joby Branion, sports agent
Willie Covington, Durham register of deeds
Branford Marsalis, musician
Emanuel McGirt, Durham assistant city attorney
Nathan Simms, GlaxoSmithKline account director
Phail Wynn, Duke University administrator
Elaine Marshall (campaign finance reports)
Ronald Bernstein, Liggett Group CEO
Joe Cheshire, defense lawyer in Duke lacrosse case
Robert Eubanks, Franklin Street Partners executive and founder
Jim Goodman, president of Capitol Broadcasting
Greg Hatem, founder of Empire Properties
Larry Wheeler, director of N.C. Museum of Art
Marcus Williams (campaign finance reports)