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‘We can walk and chew gum at the same time’: Cheri Beasley vows to fight inflation and for abortion rights

<i>Jonathan Drake/Reuters</i><br/>
Jonathan Drake/Reuters

By Andrew Millman, CNN

Cheri Beasley, the Democratic nominee for US Senate in North Carolina, said Sunday her state needed a senator “who’s going to fight hard to lower costs” but avoided a question over whether she was satisfied with how President Joe Biden and national Democrats have handled inflation.

“Folks want to know that the Senate is going to lower costs,” Beasley told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked about Washington’s response to inflation. “In the greatest country in the world, folks should not have to make choices around buying groceries or school supplies or high-price medication.”

Republican Rep. Ted Budd, Beasley’s opponent in the key Senate contest to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr, has made inflation and worsening economic conditions a highlight of his campaign against the Democrat. While the North Carolina race has not received as much national attention as other battleground Senate contests, with the chamber evenly divided, the result could be crucial in determining which party will control the Senate after the midterms.

Bash said CNN had invited Budd to appear on “State of the Union” but he declined.

Beasley, who spent two decades as a judge, including serving as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, has leaned into her judicial experience to position herself as a non-politician on the campaign trail.

She described abortion as a “real big issue,” adding that she would “fight to make sure that Roe vs. Wade becomes the law of the land.”

“We can walk and chew gum at the same time. I’m prepared to fight to lower costs and to fight for our freedoms,” said Beasley, who wore a necklace that read “Protect Roe” during the interview.

She also attacked Budd, accusing him of “leading the charge” and aligning himself “with the most extreme faction of his party” on abortion.

When asked if calls by some Democrats to “defund the police” were hurting her with voters concerned about crime, Beasley said, “I have worked with law enforcement. I have held violent offenders accountable,” while noting that she does not support defunding the police.

“The reality is Ted Budd and national Republicans are trying to frighten folks about my record,” she added. “Ted Budd certainly is because he cannot defend his own. They are spending millions of dollars against me to distort my judicial record.”

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the North Carolina Senate race Tilt Republican.

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