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. Al

    itsa really very sad and pathetic how McCains campaign and Palin have sunk so low to try and divide states as *real* and *pro* America
    its a sad day in America when a candidate stoops to such devisive
    hateful tactics.No wonder people are wandering around like crazies
    McCain and Palin do NOT deserve to win!!!!
    they are a disgrace in my opinion

    October 18, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. ready for change

    just what part of Virginia are mccain and palin calling not real, VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN, EVERY PERSON AND EVERY STATE IS REAL WITH OBAMA-BIDEN.

    October 18, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. West Virginians For Obama

    My God, what are McCain and Palin perpetuating in this country? They've aimed it all at Obama and Biden. Racism. Dangerous political rallies. Socialism. Terrorististic connections. Arab. Islam. They've even called Obama the Anti-Christ. These people will do anything to win an election. This has to STOP NOW. We should all, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and even people who hate politics and never vote, rise up and call for an end to this. What is happening here is frightening. And it's like a tide that gets stronger as time goes by.

    Obama/Biden 2008 for America's sake.

    October 18, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. AM in VA

    I've already voted here in Southern Va...looks real to me.

    Obama '08

    October 18, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. Gracie

    OH PUH-LEEZE....

    If the McCain camp think Voters are STUCK ON STUPID they've got another thing coming on Nov. 4th!!!

    This whole notion that if they continue to "recycle" the same lies it will somehow resonate as the truth.

    You have to wonder just WHO is McCain's Aides really trying to convince here? The Voters or THEMSELVES?

    If this is their lame argument, I can honestly see what Johnny boy is losing big time. I mean, if you listen to Tucker Bounds and all the other "Blonde and Blue-Eyed" Bimbos he has spewing these ridiculous lies, it truly becomes COMIC RELIEF!!!!

    What a bunch of clowns!!

    October 18, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. JD

    It's a shame that these "supporters" of Sen. McCain are too ignorant to realize the contradiction in calling Sen. Obama both a Soviet-style socialist and a radical Muslim.

    October 18, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  7. mitch

    this is typical of how they think. us and them.

    October 18, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  8. Chris Spence, A Real Virginian voting for Obama

    I live in Va. Beach and I'd say it is " Real Virginia" . I usally vote Republican, but this year, I am going blue. Nancy Pfotenhauer do not speak for me or the millions of " Real Virginians " that will vote for Barack Obama. We will deliver this state to a Democrat for the first time in 44 years. History will be made.

    October 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. Will the Real Maverick Please Stand Up?

    McLame and his gang still depending on lies, hate and misinformation instead of explaining his plans and policies. With Palin taking about 'pro-American parts of the US and now Nancy Pfotenhauer mentioning that part of Virginia is 'did not represent the ‘real’ Virginia'. Is McManiac and his posse trying to drive a wedge between people/ethnicities in America?

    How can anyone still consider voting for this morally bankrupt campaign?

    October 18, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  10. TarishaClark

    Just pitiful.......and dont they really need to win virgina?

    October 18, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. Only Northern Virginia

    To the minorities that were PAID by McCain and camp during this election, WE can’t wait to see which ONE of you BECOME the NEXT Presidential nominee for the Republicans party in 2012. Per campaign surrogate Nancy Pfotenhauer statement……....."REAL Virginia’s – ONLY live in Northern Virginia", that right she is telling us what her and McCain REALLY think about the voters in OTHER cities in Virginia.

    Seeking MINORITY Presidential nominee's for 2012, who live in Northern Virginia falling for McCain and camp bull

    I WORK for McCain and I approve THIS recuit......BETCHA!!!!!!!!!!

    October 18, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. jam

    The strategy of belittling those who aren't decidedly in your camp seems unlikely to improve one's chances of winning.

    October 18, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  13. Lizzy

    Well, since DC is denied the basic rights of any US citizen to have voting representation, even though we pay taxes just like everyone else, good for Northern Virginians who are part of the "DC metro" and not "real" Virginia for using the vote they have.

    October 18, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. Julianne

    Good Lord – what's wrong with these people!

    This is not my America, these actions are shameful. McCain has lost all honor and dignity. He is pandering to the lowest common denominator.


    October 18, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  15. mel in pa

    The "real" Virginia? The "pro-America" parts of America? "John the plumber" as a representative of wannabe small business owners? Who are these people playing to anyway?

    October 18, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. Terry B.

    Wow, McBrainless loves palling around with a bunch of air heads....

    October 18, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  17. BK

    So democrats aren't 'real Virginians'? Is this like when you guys said some parts of the US were more pro American than others?
    What gives you the right to dismiss a large portion of a population or particular ethnic groups you don't like?

    October 18, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. Hopeful Floridian

    Boy oh boy – McCain has stooped as low as he can go. The Republican party have done an amazing job with propaganda. They have worked hard at convincing Americans that it is not the governments duty to 'help' its people in any way. If you are having any kind of difficulties you are on your own. The government however will happily tax you and give you FREE schooling, libraries, police, firemen, etc etc, however, they cannot provide free health care. Nope you are on your own there – that's socialist to provide free healthcare to those that cannot afford health insurance! Oh and then they convince you that its ok for health insurance companies to make a profit out of your illness, these health insurance companies get to decide if treatment is really necessary and then what treatment is necessary. Your doctor may not agree, but if the insurance company wants you to get a certain type of treatment then thats all they'll pay for. Come on America – lets stand up and unite for a better future.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 18, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    A radical redistribution of wealth by the state _is_ socialism, and a longstanding tolerance for radical black liberation theology _is_ the moral equivalent of embracing equally delusional Islamists.

    October 18, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  20. JB

    Wow! The crazies are coming out of the woodwork. Now they are dividing parts of states that don't agree with them. Maybe the "real" part of Virginia could become South Virginia. There's already a West "by God" Virginia.

    October 18, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. Florida for Obama

    The republican party has divided this country into 'pro-americans' and 'anti-americans'. If you agree with the republicans you are viewed as being 'pro' if you don't then you are 'anti'. How are they going to reunite americans should they by some misfortune be elected in Nov? McCain and Palin have come out with the most divisive comments I have ever heard! They have worked the crowds up and convinced people that the Democrats are 'anti' america, that they hate america and want to destroy the american dream. This is so far removed from reality! There are brave men and women in the military that are democrats – they are NOT anti america – they are fighting to protect the american dream. Yet they have been insulted by the republicans. How sad. I cannot imagine a peaceful, uniting McCain/Palin presidency.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 18, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  22. Steven

    What is with these people? The only 'real' American parts of the country are the parts that vote Republican?! Give me a break!

    October 18, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  23. Cathy

    So now according to McCain/Palin campaign is only "real Virginia"..."Pro-America"???

    The republicans are really trying to divide this country. "Good guys v. Bad guys"…"Pro-America v. Non-Pro America"…"Real Virginia v. Non-Real Virginia"…"Christians v. Non-Christian…"..."Obama doesn't see America as "we" do..."

    What's next??? Separate water fountains for democrats and republicans.


    October 18, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. David

    First the whole Palin thing about who's more pro-American, now this. /shakes head

    October 18, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. derrick

    "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."

    just let that keep happening, mccain. shows us exactly what you are willing to do to win this race...

    October 18, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
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