April 3rd, 2009
04:29 PM ET
6 years ago

Virginia Democrats blast Huckabee for 'Beltway' comments

Huckabee told voters in Appalachia that northern Virginians have it easier.
Huckabee told voters in Appalachia that northern Virginians have it easier.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia Democrats are eagerly pouncing on Mike Huckabee for telling an audience in Appalachia that voters in northern Virginia "aren't necessarily thinking the same way folks like you and me think."

Huckabee made the remarks in southwest Virginia's Tazewell County on Monday while campaigning with Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor. His appearance was recorded and posted on YouTube by a state Democratic operative.

"They have never fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, be able to feed a family," Huckabee said. "Some folks up there near the Beltway," he claimed, have "never fully understood how hard it is for a lot of people to put a paycheck together, be able to feed a family."

The comments were reminiscent of a gaffe made last October by Nancy Pfotenhauer, a campaign adviser to John McCain, who went on cable television and contrasted the strongly Democratic Washington suburbs with the rest of state, which she called 'real Virginia.' The Obama campaign, eager to shore up support in vote-heavy northern Virginia, seized on the comment.

Virginia Democratic Party chairman Richard C. Cranwell called Huckabee's remarks "divisive" and demanded that McDonnell condemn them. "It's the same thing they tried to do last year with the 'real Virginia,'" Cranwell said. "I expect we won't be seeing Mike Huckabee back in Virginia again."

State senator Creigh Deeds, one of three Democrats seeking his party's nomination for governor this year, said Huckabee's comments were "hurtful" and asked McDonnell supporters to "pick up a newspaper to find out that Virginians are hurting across the commonwealth."

Another Democratic candidate, former delegate Brian Moran, said Huckabee "knows better than this." Moran said "there's no real Virginia or fake Virginia, there's just one Commonwealth of Virginia."

Terry McAuliffe, the third Democratic candidate for governor and a resident of the wealthy northern Virginia enclave of McLean, did not put out a statement on Huckabee's remarks.

The McAuliffe campaign had made a separate push on Thursday to highlight a different statement in the same Huckabee speech. Huckabee joked that Republicans should let the air out of Democrats' tires on election day. McAuliffe said that voter suppression is "not a laughing matter."

A spokesman for McDonnell, Tucker Martin, pointed out that McDonnell was raised in Fairfax and that "he knows northern Virginia is the economic engine of Virginia." Martin said Huckabee "made some comments that do not reflect how integrated Virginia's economy is."

Virginia congressman Frank Wolf also chimed in to defend McDonnell. "He understands Northern Virginia and the issues we face because this is where he is from, and where his family is from," Wolf said in a statement issued through the McDonnell campaign.

UPDATE: McAuliffe issued a statement calling Huckabee's remarks "the latest incarnation of the tired 'Northern Virginia vs. the rest of the state' myth" that has blocked progress in the General Assembly.

"It's unfortunate that Bob McDonnell stood by silently as Mike Huckabee demeaned Northern Virginia," he said.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Brian Moran • Creigh Deeds • Mike Huckabee • Terry McAuliffe
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Mobius

    He's right on the money. NOVA is a bureaucratic cesspool.

    April 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Brian Crooks

    I'm not a fan of feigned outrage, but this one deserves it. Come on, how dare Mike Huckabee label an entire region of a state as not understanding what the real world is like? They don't understand how hard it is to put a paycheck together? Why, is the unemployment rate in Northern VA 1% all of a sudden? More attempts to divide, divide, divide the country.

    April 3, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. ib

    He spoke the truth so get off his case. I've watched my tax dollars from the area go into northern and eastern va. all my life while the area did without. Typical Va. democratic spin.

    April 3, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Reality Check

    Maybe the people of Northern Virginia really don't think like the people of Appalachia.... is there something wrong with that?

    April 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Mr. T

    You call yourself a Pastor....I live in Northern Va. and serviced this country for 24 years and I'm not real (Va)...

    April 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Jasmine in Germany

    All of 'em should get a spanking, they are dividing our country for self-fulfilling gain.

    April 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Gene

    Yep.. these "We are the REAL Americans" type comments worked really well for Palin... Are these people campaigning really this stupid? Ok.. with Palin the answer to that is yes. But Huck? He's not a dumb guy... I have a feeling Huck is trying to sabotage something here :)

    April 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Eileen

    "aren't necessarily thinking the same way folks like you and me think."

    You're right – we disagree with your statement that the constitution should be altered to coincide with the bible. It's that whole pesky separation of church and state thing – but I bet you'd fit right in in a country like Iran.

    Keep stepping away Gomer Pyle, you're irrelevant.

    April 3, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Some guy

    voters in northern Virginia "aren't necessarily thinking the same way folks like you and me think."

    Thank God.
    Have a nice day!

    April 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. james

    this huckabee is a real loser!

    April 3, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Steve In California

    Fortunately for our country, not a lot of people think like Mike Huckabee.
    Snide remarks, derisive chuckling, and pompous strutting came to an end when we threw the former administration and all its minimions out of office. Go ahead, Mr. Huckabee, try to maintain the Republican status quo, completely disconnected from the people who are the core of this country. Oh, and fire up your resume. You're going to be looking for a new job soon. buh BYE now!

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. NICK

    Why, do losers continue to think that citizens want to hear, or believe what they say? McCain, Palin, Romney; Huckabee, Thompsom, and the rest of the also-rans should shut up as they are only hurting future Republican hopefuls.

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. JoycesVoice-Marshall, TX

    What happened to the Rev. Huckabee who use to pastor in Texarkana, AR? His wife was an educator and you want to tell me he wants to be President. I'm glad I left Arkansas. Where's Huckabee now, I pray he's nobody's pastor spreading venom in the guise of Christianity.

    April 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. arithmetic is liberal

    The GOP should stop blasting populated areas as "not like them" or areas with a population will stop voting for them.

    April 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. arithmetic is liberal

    Way to reach out to different voting blocks.

    At this rate all the Republicans will be left with in 2012 will be two dueling banjos.

    And ib –

    The reason why most tax dollars are spent in Northern Virginia is because most Virginia tax revenue comes from there. If the rural areas paid more taxes, they'd see more returns.

    Also, you're not getting your tax revenue back as a check. You're getting it back in services. DO you have any idea how expensive it is to pipe running water, electricity, and cable out to the middle of nowhere?

    Aaaaand this is why we need to increase taxes by 3% for the upper 1%, because federal monies would then flow freely to people in under-serviced areas like yourself.

    April 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Huckabee needs to be concerned about Arkansas affairs and stay out Virginia business. This is the home of the our military. Plus we are Virginians. We are not Northern Virginians or Hampton Roads Virginians or Southside Virginians, we're Virginians!!! Stop the divide and conquer tactics Huckaboo.

    April 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. ray ray

    Does anyone think the vast majority of Northern VA voters were going to vote GOP in this election??

    PLEASE!

    You people crying about this are nothing more than partisan hacks. You lamblast Huckabee and wildly applaud the Democrats buying a billboard mocking a private US citizen (Rush).

    Many of you need to buy a clue.

    April 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. John in Virginia

    What a loser. Divide and conquer is an old war tactic that works in lots of arenas. But seriously: people in Virginia want to work and want to provide for their familes; regardless of what our professions may be. I live in Fairfax in northern Virginia, and I don't need Huckabee to COME FROM OUTSIDE MY STATE and start ruining things for his own political gain. We all need to stand together right now, period. I am so sick of people just running for offices and saying stuff to people just to get elected. Do something to make life better for working people; whether they live in northern Virginia or southern Virginia, or simply SHUT UP!

    April 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. pat C.

    huckabee has a record of sticking his foot in his mouth. some leader he would make!

    April 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Greg

    Yea, your right Huck, we don't think backwards like you....give it up...you don't matter any more Huck....go find Tom and go fishing in those backward woods...

    April 3, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Carl

    Can someone from Virginia comment about their state here?

    I'm not familiar with the area, and who knows if what this man says holds water.

    However, if NE Virginia near the Potomac and Washington DC is much different than Blacksburg, then he has a point.

    That means Virginia is a diverse state with diverse needs... maybe more so than other states.

    Until then, you one party biased loons continue to make me laugh with your comments, because anyone with half a brain will NEVER take you seriously.

    April 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Ghost

    And when exactly was the last time HE had to worry bout putting food on the table?

    Man, all these guys kill me with this I'm like you attitude. I'd be happier if they just said, hey, I got mines. I'd like to help you get yours, too.

    April 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Joanna

    Mr. Huckabee, exactly when was the last time you couldn't feed your family? Have you EVER gone hungry, in your entire life?
    (wink wink...I'm one of you....wink wink)

    April 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. wasabe kid

    Everybody gets so huffy about a phrase. All Huckabee meant was exactly what we all understood. There are many people who are not native to Virginia who live around Washington, drawn because their paycheck comes, directly or indirectly, from the federal government or its contractors. Huckabee was saying, in effect, "Those folks are not from the southern tradition that you and I (southern Virginians) come from." That statement is:
    1. True
    2. Not an insult to anyone.
    3. So what?

    I live in El Paso, and someone from Austin might say that we El Pasoans have a different culture because we come from different roots. That would be quite true.

    What Huckabee was saying is that you and I take for granted certain assumptions that those folks don't have. If we polled attitudes in Virginia, Huckabee's assertion would be proven true, I'll bet.

    For the record: I think Huckabee is a nice guy. If he was a Liberal, I'd vote for him.

    April 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    These kind of statements are signs of how ignorant Huckabee is and makes one wonder what he says to others in private conversations. Huckabee isn't and never has been a man of God, he holds a bible in his hands on Sunday and the remaining days he does the work of the devil himself.

    April 3, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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