October 18th, 2008
06:42 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain aide defines 'real Virginia'


McCain campaigned in northern Virginia Saturday. (AP PHOTO)

(CNN) - Hours before John McCain took the stage in the northern Virginia suburb of Woodbridge – his second visit to the battleground state in less than a week – campaign surrogate Nancy Pfotenhauer told an interviewer that voters in that part of the state did not represent the ‘real’ Virginia.

“I certainly agree that northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. And as a proud resident of Oakton, Virginia I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia. And that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, ‘real’ Virginia if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.”

Asked if she wanted to clarify her comments, Pfotenhauer stood by her remarks. “I did say outside of Northern…I did say ‘real’ Virginia, because northern Virginia is where I’ve always been, but real Virginia I take to be this part of the state that is more Southern in nature, if you will. Northern Virginia is really metro DC, as you’re aware, Kevin.”

Shortly after, and a quick drive away from his campaign headquarters, McCain tried to rally the faithful in an area that may already be out of reach.

“I’ve got to give you some straight talk. Let me give you the state of the race today,” McCain told the crowd. “We have 17 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off…. But my friends in all this planning they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them.”

The line has become a familiar one – and drew a now-familiar reaction from the strongly-Republican crowd, which began booing and chanting “Liberal media!” One woman threw a pack of gum at CNN Correspondent Ed Henry.

Right outside the entrance to the outdoor venue, a sign urging voters to "stop Barack Obama" featured the Soviet hammer and sickle, and the Muslim crescent.

Virginia’s 13 electoral votes have not gone to a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 White House re-election run. But the Democratic ticket has visited the state more than a dozen times since the beginning of this summer – more than twice as often as its GOP counterpart. Prince William County, site of Saturday’s rally, is one of the fastest-growing in the state.

And Barack Obama leads John McCain by 10 points in Virginia, 53 to 43 percent, in the CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released last week.

For months, “NoVa” was the only region of a battleground state to get a special nod on the McCain campaign’s list of ad buys. But that distinction has disappeared, and the campaign’s presence on the airwaves here – which falls in the expensive Washington, D.C. media market – has dramatically diminished.

Republicans never thought McCain would take the area – but did hope to cut into Obama’s winning margins in the D.C. suburbs. The campaign may not view the area’s residents as real Virginians, but their very real votes carried Democratic Senator Jim Webb to victory over Republican George Allen in 2006. Democrat Tim Kaine is governor, and former Governor Mark Warner is highly-favored to add to the party’s Senate majority, taking the seat that currently belongs to retiring Republican Senator John Warner.

The party is stepping up its focus on this former Republican stronghold. Stepping in where the McCain campaign has pulled back, the RNC’s independent expenditure unit is boosting spending in the state. McCain himself has visited the state twice in less than a week, including an event with running mate Sarah Palin. On Sunday, her husband Todd Palin will take a bus tour of more favorable downstate areas.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Jenny

    . . . Want to see a picture of what Sara Palin will look like as President?

    Just Google Mudfats.wordpress.com and look under funstuff and
    click on Sara Palin as president.

    SOOO HILLAROUS!!!, or maybe not.

    October 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Scott L

    What frightens me? The hateful energy that McCain is sowing. Winner or loser, he's stirred up some serious hate and anger. In the end, the blood will be on McCain and, especially, Palin's hands. So very sad that they would instigate such ugliness.

    We're all Americans, "rea, and otherwise.

    October 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. ohio voter

    McCAin claims to be a fighter
    He knows how to fight wars, He fights his own party, blah blah blah
    Doesn't he understand I myself am tired of the fighting!
    Gridlock in the congress not being able to get nothing done
    He screams that he can work with the other party to get things done that he has done it before , But how in the world can he do it again with the way that he is treating the other side
    dirty and nasty
    And its not only congress that he will have a problem with what about the American people that he is attacking
    God bless us all

    October 18, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  4. Virginia Native

    I am a Virginia native from the southern part of the state. I don't believe NOVA is any less a part of the real Virginia than any other part. I'm tired of the McCain-Palin campaign's notion that if you aren't from a small town than you aren't American enough. Now if you're from the metropolitan areas of Virginia, then you're not "Virginian" enough. They need to get a grip and realize that republican policies just aren't working for this country nor are they working for Virginia.

    October 18, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. Chloe

    Anyone on either extreme of the civil war McCain and Palin are desperately stoking who believes pragmatic, centrist Obama will deliver anything remotely resembling socialism, let alone communism, is seriously delusional. I mean, what are we talking about here folks? A 3% increase on earned (i.e. wages or salary or net profit) income over $250,000.

    Do they offer math in plumbing school? The McCains pay 10% less in taxes on Cindy's $4 million income than the average plumber, electrician, cop or teacher.

    October 18, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. jen from VA

    Let me clear something up, I too am from VA, the so called real VA (tidewater area). Like the rest of the country VA is ready for change. I came home this weekend and was very much surprised to see all of the obama signs in people's yards. People are voting early and everywhere i turn i see Obama stickers. Mark me words McCain, Obama will take VA, and we're excited about it.

    October 18, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. adg

    When is mccain going to stop blaiming the media for his down fall, the media has not written him off voters have written him off !! he needs to stop his nonsense and start taking the blaim for his own bad judgments. starting with palin!!!!!

    October 18, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. ATLanthony

    Disgusting! I can't wait til the john-sarah-cindy-todd circus packs up and leaves town.

    October 18, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. stephen

    The Republicans will lose this state and the general election by a Land Slide. Anybody wanna bet?

    October 18, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  10. ek, ny

    More divisiveness from the McCain/Palin campaign.

    October 18, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. Leslie

    I hope McCain loses Virginia. This has to be the worst campaign ever run.

    And it looks like these rallies are still being as hateful as ever. How sad.

    October 18, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Theresa in Minneapolis

    Palin said it too... These crazy Republicans believe that the "real" and "patriotic" parts of the country mean REPUBLICAN. They have the "You're with us or against us" mentality.

    To all Obama supporters... Do NOT underestimate these ring wing looney's. We ALL must get out and vote. The simple truth is that there are more of US!

    October 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. Jen

    NOVA (Northern VA), Hampton Roads, Southwest VA....we are all Virginians! And guess what....we are for OBAMA and BIDEN!!!
    Turning VA blue right here from Blacksburg, Virginia!!!
    With Hope and Hokie Pride!
    Obama '08!
    Yes We Can!!! 🙂

    October 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. John Smith

    So wait wait wait a second…

    How can Obama be both a Socialist and a Muslim palin' around with terrorists at the same time?!! You fruit loops can't even get your own propaganda straight.

    HINT: Most extreme Muslim regimes are ULTRA RIGHT WING FANATICS. You can't be a looney Muslim extremist and a Socialist at the same time!

    I doubt Gov. Palin even knows what Socialism even means. Maybe Sam the Tax Evader can clue her in – he seems more qualified for the job.

    October 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. David

    And by their definition, only those who vote for McCain are "real" Americans.

    Four years after Barack Obama proclaimed, "We are not red states, we are not blue states, we are the United States of America," John McCain seeks to push exactly that wedge, now dividing brother from brother even within a single state.

    Next stop, he'll proclaim the Red States of America are seceding from the Union. With Sarah Palin of the Alaska Independence Party as Queen, it makes perfect sense.

    October 18, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)

    Republicans at their best!!
    Accuse the Democrats of dividing the nation while one adviser defines the "real Virginia" while their sheep accuse Obama of being a communist and a Muslim.

    Voters please pay attention and note who is pitting Americans against Americans. It is time to stop the Republicans.

    October 18, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Does this guy (McSame) EVER change the language in his stump speeches? The smallest things tell the biggest stories - so ponder this thought: if elected, will McSame's approaches to our problems be one or two ideas he repeats over and over and over?

    Too bad about the real Virginia, huh? Wonder what NOVA's think about that?

    October 18, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  18. zoe monster

    I'd say this is unbelievable except I've been paying attention for most of this campaign...the Republican party only has left the extremists and the right wing nuts that would rather point a finger at Barak Obama and resort to name calling and childish antics (throwing gum? are you in kindergarten?) to try and make their point.
    I'd have a whole lot more respect for Republicans if they could actually address the issues at hand. But they'd much rather yell "socialism"...I wonder how these Repubs would feel if they had their Social Security taken away...

    October 18, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. RZ

    5 Trillion added to the Debt
    Loss of Privacy
    Legalized Torture
    Trash the Constitution
    Economic Meltdown
    Bail out the Wealthy
    Illegal War
    Yes – That's what we need. 4 more years of Bush

    October 18, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  20. Timothy

    Mccain/Palin is not the leaders that I want my family to look up to they encourage their supporters to show hate and anger to others and that is so dangerous No to Mccain/Palin.

    October 18, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  21. Republican in Missouri

    And this is how you Pro-American? I am so embarrased to be called a Republican right now. This crap has no place in a Presidential election. I think I may become an independent when this is all over so I can be patriotic without hate for my fellow Americans.

    October 18, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  22. Chris, Antioch, CA

    Simply idiots.

    Go Obama / Biden 08 and 12

    October 18, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  23. Nation in Crisis

    Is Pfotenhauer's "Real Virginia" also one of Palin's "Pro-America" areas? The divisive rhetoric of the McCain campaign neither serves his bid for election or the country as a whole. That is why Obama's message of hope and change has resonated with so many people over the last 20 months.

    October 18, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Irving

    Why does the "liberal" media put up with this rhetoric? Don't cover their campaign and then we will see them begging for your return.

    October 18, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  25. trace800

    How can the media let this hate continue, are they waiting until after the election to see if they can help McCain win. What gives!!

    October 18, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10