(CNN) - A North Carolina congressman locked in a tight re-election race admitted Tuesday to recently telling a crowd of John McCain supporters that "liberals hate real Americans," the latest in a string of comments from Republicans that appear to question Democrats' patriotism.
Rep. Robin Hayes, a five-term Republican who has been heavily targeted by Democrats this election cycle, first denied making the remarks, but conceded Monday afternoon that he was accurately quoted.
"After reading it, there is no doubt that it came out completely the wrong way," Hayes said. “I actually was trying to work to keep the crowd as respectful as possible, so this is definitely not what I intended."
The comments came at a McCain rally in Concord, North Carolina Saturday before the Arizona senator or members of his staff had arrived at the event. As first reported by the New York Observer, Hayes said, "Liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God."
Hayes also told the raucous crowd to make sure "we don't say something stupid, make sure we don't say something we don't mean," warning the news media would likely distort such remarks.
In his statement Tuesday, Hayes suggested he meant to differentiate between the liberal and conservative philosophies rather than directly impugn the patriotism of his opponents.
"Liberals are advocating higher taxes, which I believe punish success - and they are advocating policies like gay marriage that I feel undermine strong families," he said. "We have a strong difference of opinion about the future of our nation, but obviously this was the wrong way to get that difference of opinion across."
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) – Barack Obama told a Miami rally John McCain is “running out of time” and as a result has taken to “making stuff up” on Obama’s record and tax cut plan.
“He’s decided to make up, just fabricate this notion that I’ve been attacking Joe the plumber. Now, let me tell you something even just yesterday, Joe the plumber himself said that wasn’t true. I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the plumber. That’s why I want to give him a tax cut,” Obama said.
“Apparently Senator McCain’s decided that if he can’t beat our ideas, then he’s just going to make up some ideas and run against those. What we need now is not straw men we don’t need misleading charges. What we need is honest leadership.”
On Tuesday, Obama wrapped up a two-day Florida swing designed to pump up supporters and get them to vote early.
“We can take nothing for granted. My view is that Barack Obama is the underdog and will continue to be the underdog until he's sitting in the Oval Office,” said Michelle Obama, who joined her husband in Miami after campaigning in the northern part of the state. “We need you to vote early and then after you vote early to spend Election Day getting five, six, seven, ten other people to the polls.”
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (CNN) - John McCain attacked Barack Obama in Western Pennsylvania Tuesday over a surrogate's comments that some of the area's residents were racist, telling locals the region was "the most patriotic, most God-loving" part of the nation.
“I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama’s supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania lately,” he said, to loud boos from the crowd.
Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, who supports Obama, was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying there is "no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area," and predicted that those attitudes could cost the Illinois senator on Election Day.
“I couldn't agree with you more than the fact that Western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most God-loving, most patriotic part of America, and this is a great part of the country,” McCain said Tuesday, to cheers.
HENDERSON, Nevada (CNN) - Flanked by a quintet of former Hillary Clinton supporters, Sarah Palin on Tuesday made her most direct appeal to female voters since kicking off her vice presidential campaign in August.
With polls showing Palin's unfavorable ratings among women rising over the last month, the Alaska governor looked to tap into any lingering tensions left over from the drawn-out Democratic primary battle - a fight that left many Clinton supporters disappointed.
"Our opponents think that they have the women's vote all locked up, which is a little presumptuous," Palin said. "Little presumptuous, since only our side has a woman on the ticket."
"You've got to ask yourself, why was Senator Hillary Clinton not even vetted by the Obama campaign? Why did it take 24 years, an entire generation from the time Geraldine Ferraro made her pioneering bid, until the next time that a woman was asked to join a national ticket?"
Palin spoke glowingly of Clinton in the early days of her campaign, but mentions of the New York senator elicited boos from her heavily-Republican crowds. She soon dropped the references from her stump speech.
(CNN) - Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has sent two separate memos to the Obama campaign in the past five days requesting that the Democratic Presidential candidate—as well as Hillary and Bill Clinton—return to campaign in Pennsylvania, Rendell told CNN's Gloria Borger.
Rendell said the McCain campaign is clearly making a push to win Pennsylvania, given the recent visits by the Arizona senator, his wife and his running mate. As a result, he wants Obama to appear in western Pennsylvania, Harrisburg and one more “large rally” in Philadelphia. Democrats generally worry that the race is significantly closer than what recent polls have suggested. According to Rendell, there is also worry among Democrats the McCain campaign has successfully raised the enthusiasm level among Republicans in the state.
“I don’t want to be selfish,” Rendell said. “But I’m still a little nervous, so I have asked Obama to come back. We understand he’s got demands from 20 different states, but we’d like to see him here.”
Obama's support appears to be weakest in the western part of the state, a region Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha recently called 'racist,' and one where he badly lost to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.
Obama last campaigned in Pennsylvania on October 11, a week and a half ago. VP candidate Joe Biden made an appearance with Bill and Hillary Clinton in Scranton on October 12. McCain and running mate Sarah Palin have both made visits to the state this week.
The latest CNN poll of polls in Pennsylvania suggests Obama holds a 13 point lead over McCain there. CNN currently considers the state leaning Obama.
The Statement: Speaking during a campaign stop Monday, Oct. 20 in Belton, Missouri, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain criticized Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama's proposals on taxes. "The Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America, and especially for small businesses like the one Joe dreams of owning," McCain said. "The small businesses Senator Obama would tax provide 16 million jobs in America."
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GREELEY, Colorado (CNN) –- Joe Biden spoke directly to John McCain during a speech Tuesday afternoon, demanding that his campaign end robo-calls that attack Barack Obamas character.
“You've heard a lot of scurrilous ads and phone calls lately which lie about Barack Obama and also raise unfair questions about his character,” said Biden to a crowd of several thousand in rural Colorado. “A lot of Democrats are angry. But folks: if, God willing, we win this, when we win, we have to reach out. We have to isolate those extremes. We have to reach out to Democrats and Republicans and Independents.”
“And I say to my friend John McCain, if he's really serious when he said this morning on one of the shows that this election is all about the economy, then I say, John, stop your ads!” said Biden, raising his voice over the applause of the supporters. “Bring down those robo-calls. If it's about the economy, argue about the economy. Not about Barack Obama's character. Not about these scurrilous ads. John, stop these calls!”
On CBS’s Early Show Tuesday morning, anchor Harry Smith pressed McCain on comments made by a campaign advisor that the election isn’t about issues, but character.
“That's simply not true, responded McCain. “We've been focusing on the economy. Listen to me, I'm the candidate. And this - this campaign is about the economy.”
Colorado is one of several battleground states where the Arizona senator’s campaign is making robocalls that tie Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers.
“These attacks don’t hurt Barack Obama, they hurt you, they divide the country,” Biden continued at his Colorado event Tuesday. “They distract people, or attempt to distract you, from things that are affecting people’s everyday lives.”
“Barack Obama and I can take two more weeks of these attacks, but our country cannot take four more years of this policy and these politics. It must, it must end, it must stop now!”
The Statement: In a campaign stop Monday, October 20, in Tampa, Florida, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama criticized Republican opponent Sen. John McCain for comments he's made about taxes. "It's true that I want to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans and go back to the rate they paid under Bill Clinton. John McCain calls that socialism. What he forgets is that just a few years ago, he himself said those Bush tax cuts were irresponsible. He said he couldn't 'in good conscience' support a tax cut where the benefits went to the wealthy at the expense of 'middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.' "
(CNN) – Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin apologized Tuesday for any misunderstanding that resulted when she referred last week to the patriotic values of "the real America" and the "pro-America areas of this great nation."
Democrats and others immediately criticized Palin, alleging she was saying that some part of the country are more patriotic than others.
Palin denied that was her intention in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
"I don't want that misunderstood," Palin said. "If that's the way it came across, I apologize."
Speaking at a fund-raiser in North Carolina, the Alaska governor said: "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."
Watch: Palin explains what she'd do as VP
Palin also said Tuesday that Sen. Joe Biden's comment that as president, Sen. Barack Obama would face an international crisis within six months of taking office points to the dangers of electing a relatively inexperienced person.
"We need to thank Joe for the warning," Palin told CNN's Drew Griffin.
She made similar comments earlier Tuesday at a rally in Reno, Nevada.
At a fundraiser Sunday night, Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said that after taking office, "it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. ... We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
His point, according to an Obama-Biden statement issued later, was that "we need steady leadership in tumultuous times, not ... the stubborn ideology of John McCain."
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama has his largest lead so far over rival Sen. John McCain, according to CNN’s latest national poll of polls.
Obama leads McCain by nine points in the poll of polls released Tuesday – 51 percent to 42 percent. Seven percent of those surveyed are unsure about their choice for president.
In Monday’s CNN’s poll of polls, Obama’s lead over McCain was seven points – 51 percent to 44 percent.
“Today’s Poll of Polls average reflects the fact that Obama has moved into a commanding position in the presidential race,” said CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “Obama is either tied or ahead in all of the battleground states. The Democrats now have what may be a decisive edge in terms of voter enthusiasm and financial resources. The financial meltdown has played to Obama’s advantage. By most measurements, McCain was not able to use the debates to gain ground on Obama. And most of the campaign is now being waged in previously red states. While anything can happen in the remaining two weeks, it’s hard not to conclude that McCain’s back is against the wall.”
Tuesday’s CNN poll of polls is composed of the following six national general election surveys of likely voters: Pew (October 16-19), CNN/ORC (October 17-19), ABC/Washington Post (October 16-19), Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby (October 18-20), Gallup (October 18-20) and Diageo/Hotline (October 18-20). The poll of polls does not have a sampling error.