WATCH: N.C. Gov. McCrory Trounces Cooper in HB 2 Debate

The consensus seems to be that Gov. Pat McCrory did a much better job in this week’s North Carolina debate than the robotically-programmed, soundbite-stuffed Roy Cooper. Here’s one exchange over HB 2:

MODERATOR: As you know, since its passage businesses have cancelled plans to expand in the state. NBA, ACC, the NCAA, have all moved events from here. Duke basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, even called the law embarrassing. The majority of voters, even ones who support it, believe it’s hurt the state’s reputation. How do you fix the state’s reputation without repealing the law?

MCCRORY: Let’s first state the facts. The thing that’s embarrassing is that a very liberal mayor of Charlotte with very strong support from our very liberal attorney general started this whole bathroom mess. It’s one of the biggest fibs in our national press, and frankly, our state press which they say that the bathrooms laws were made by Republicans. We had never brought this issue up; it was the mayor of Charlotte with strong support from the attorney general who decided to put a mandate on the entire private sector who had public facilities and say, ‘we are going to fine you unless you recognize a brand new concept of gender identity and gender expression’ — a major change in culture, and not just in North Carolina but in our country.

It wasn’t needed; it wasn’t called for; it was the liberals who brought this issue up. But as governor I will say this: I don’t care if you are in the private sector what your bathroom, locker room, shower rooms should be. That’s not any of our business and it continues not to be the business of North Carolina. But if you are in our schools, including Rocky Mount High School where Roy’s running commercials from — if you are a man, you are going to the man’s locker room, rest room, or shower. If you are a woman, you are going to their appropriate shower. No change whatsoever.

COOPER: House Bill 2 has to be repealed. It writes discrimination into our law and it has been a disaster for our economy. PayPal, hundreds of jobs; Asheville, hundreds of jobs; the ACC, the NCAA. This legislation was passed in one day and signed in the middle of the night. And Governor McCrory continues to go across the state telling people that this is not hurting our economy. He attacks businesses who are opposed to it and says that everything is going fine. Governor, what planet are you on? We have to pull the business community together. We have to get this law repealed. We gotta quit blaming it on other people, blaming it on me, blaming it on the president, blaming it on Charlotte. What we have to do is repeal House Bill 2 now.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe.