Associated Press announced it would not cover last night’s debate between gubernatorial candidates Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton in protest of restrictions on print reporters and photographers, who were not allowed inside the UNC-TV studio while the debate was taking place. Instead, reporters watched the debate onscreen from another room, but were allowed access to the candidates following the debate.

N&R editor Jeff Gauger explains his paper’s position:

The restrictions, in our view, are not ideal. But they also are not so limiting as to trump the public’s interest in knowing about the debate.

We thought it important to provide coverage while also acknowledging the restrictions.

The News & Record initially planned to publish the Associated Press’ report on the debate. Instead, we assigned staff writer Joe Gamm to watch the debate on TV from Greensboro and prepare a report.

JLF president John Hood doesn’t say where he watched the gubernatorial debate, but he still offers up interesting analysis:

For his part, McCrory stayed relaxed and even-tempered throughout the second debate, rather than becoming testy as he had at one point during the first one. He obviously doesn’t like his public career and personal ethics to be challenged. Who does? But he’s also come to understand that the Democratic strategy here is to provoke him into losing his temper. The strategy isn’t really to convince North Carolina voters to base their selection of the next governor on the public disclosure of tax returns. Voters aren’t going to do that.

Hood also notes Dalton’s argument that his experience in state government –first as ‘powerful state senator,’ later as lieutenant governor —qualify him to be the next governor. when McCrory questioned why the state hasn’t made more progress during that time, Dalton he has yet to be “given the steering wheel.”

As for President Obama —Hood called last night presidential debate ‘a draw’—- he’s had the steering wheel for four years, yet we’re wondering where the progress is. Significant questions, considering the fact that voters were promised the world four years ago.