October 23rd, 2009
06:39 PM ET
4 years ago

Democrat blasts White House for anonymous sniping

The president last campaigned for Deeds in August.
The president last campaigned for Deeds in August.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A well-known Democratic strategist in Virginia is blasting the White House for placing anonymous quotes in the Washington Post in a pre-emptive effort to blame Creigh Deeds for what might be a loss in the state's upcoming gubernatorial election.

David "Mudcat" Saunders, who gained political fame helping Democrat Mark Warner reach out to rural voters during Warner's successful 2001 gubernatorial bid, told CNN Friday that trying to blame Deeds is "bulls**t" when Democrats around the country are "just tired of politics."

"The Democrats right now are a real bruised brand right now where I am," Saunders said in a phone interview from his home near Roanoke. "There was so much energy put into last year's race, everybody's just burned out. You can't get anybody fired up."

In a story published Friday, a senior administration official told the Post that the Deeds campaign ignored their advice to embrace the president, which the official claimed would have boosted the Democratic candidate's lackluster support among the African-Americans and young voters who supported Obama in 2008.


Saunders rejected that argument. Embracing Obama - who does appear with Deeds on ads running in some parts of the state - might not have hurt the candidate in Democratic-leaning areas, he argued, but with the contentious economic debates going on in Washington, the presidential stamp of approval wouldn't have turned him into an instant frontrunner. In southwest Virginia, he said, embracing the president would have been a "devastating" political move for Deeds, who is trailing Republican Bob McDonnell in the polls.

"They're making the assumption Virginia is a blue state, and it's not," Saunders said of the administration. "It's not a red state either. The very best that can be said about Virginia is that it's light purple. For them to say if he had listened to us they would win, that's chickens**t. That's Monday morning quarterbacking."

He also questioned the White House's unsuccessful efforts to court former governor Democratic governor Doug Wilder, who publicly refused to endorse Deeds. "I don't think Doug Wilder means anything anymore," Saunders claimed.

"It's a goddamn shame when our center of government, the White House, won't talk on the record. I discount all of it," Saunders said of the Post article. "It's a lack of courage. And it goes against transparency that Obama told us last year was going to come out of the White House. Anybody who makes anonymous quotes out of the White House should be fired."

Admidst the sharp back-and-forth among Democrats, the president is still scheduled to campaign for Deeds in Norfolk next Tuesday.

UPDATE: Republicans, not surprisingly, are enjoying the back-and-forth. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Katie Wright said the White House is trying to "save face" before Election Day.

"Looks like Creigh Deeds has made the White House enemies list," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Katie Wright. "Deeds isn't the only one responsible for the downfall of his own campaign. While Deeds has promised higher taxes on Virginia families and small businesses, President Obama has had an equal hand in dragging his party down in the Commonwealth."


Filed under: Creigh Deeds • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen John Ensign (R-NV)

    David "Mudcat" Saunders admits that "there was so much energy put into last year's race, [but that now] everybody's just burned out. You can't [get] anybody fired up."

    Wonder why?

    President Obama is stepping all over the Democratic momentum he started last year by failing to live up to his campaign promises.

    Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) told us to get him 60 votes in the Senate, and we did. Well, now he's not strong enough to run with this once-in-a-iifetime opportunity and achieve real health care reform, which must include a strong public health insurance option.

    David "Mudcat" Saunders is right. Our Democratic leaders are failing us and all the energy among rank-and-file Democrats is fading fast.

    Where's the change that we were told we could believe in?

    October 23, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. demsrulz

    Hey rethugs ... Go back to studying creation ism and worrying about whether a terrorist is going to blow up your subsidised cornfield. Let us dems worry about facts..

    October 23, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Peter s

    Its not too late you can snatch this one! GOP is dead to anyone of sound mind!. Im sorry is Virginia one of the southern states?

    October 23, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Emma

    Deeds ran the worst campaign against McConnell. I live in the State of Maryland and witnessed his candidacy. Deeds NEVER challenged McConnell's negative media ads, disputed whether he would raise taxes. McConnell used Deeds words against Deeds and Deeds has never clairified his positions on taxes, transportation or touted any of his successes.

    Deeds used generic phrases to describe himself and his Washington Post endorsement was not clearly defined. He failed to change the talk to his record, his accomplishments, his wishes for Northern Virginia and he NEVER described clearly what he would do for Virginia. If your message is cloudy you can't expect the public to read your thoughts.

    October 23, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Idiot_Pelosi

    OBUMMER and his chicago mafia staff are showing their true colors. These guys think their "stuff" doesn't stink, and anyone that doesn't agree with them or doesn't do exactly like they want is EVIL and BAD.

    Well, Obummer. It's time you realized that you are NOT the next American Idol, and that most people are already SICK OF YOU.

    October 23, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. File under "Sarcasm"

    This is defensive personal politics at it's finest. It's not about Deeds campaign failures so much as it is an attempt to insult President Obama from Deeds' loss. Obama's handlers learned from his support of the failed Chicago Olympic bid that they need to protect his winning image from any failures. They want no one to say that the Campaigner in Chief's support wasn't enough to win the race. Instead it's Deeds failure to embrace his support that was the problem.

    October 23, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Rick CT

    Does this come as any surprise? Obama's mission is clearly to run all aspects of our lives. He's decided who can and can't run for governor in NY. He's decided how much certain people can get paid (no, I have no smypathy for the overpaid bankers who supported by the Gov't bailout). But if you believe government control of pay will stop there, I've got a bridge from lower Manhattan to sell you – witness the action today to control pay of most people in the banking industry. The health care bill will require seniors to stay with Medicare (even if they have a better private plan) if they want to keep their Social Security benefits – and all this is just for starters.

    This is the same administration that couldn't even get cash for clunkers payments out on time, the one that is way behind in distributing so-called stimulus funds, the one that promised the stimulus would halt the rise in unemployement at 8%, the one that legalized the AIG bonus payments, and the one who has so far distributed only 13 million season flu shots when they promised 120 million by now (and some want them to control all of health care??)

    October 23, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Dave

    Who is Obozo going to blame this on? Must be Fox's fault.

    October 23, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. anthony

    The White House should not play the blame game. The Democrats will be judged by what they do, now that they are in power. They will be punished by the voters if they don't pass health care reform, or if they mismanage Afghanistan, or if the economy does not recover. They will get the blame if they don't deliver. This is fair because Bush got the blame for not delivering, as well as what he delivered (an unnecessary war in Iraq, an unfinished war in Afghanistan, a ten trillion dollar national debt before Obama became president, and the worst economy since the Great Depression). Leave the blame game to the party that is out of power.

    October 23, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. New Age Independent

    I feel sorry for people living in Virginia. I dont mind the President endorsing "his guy", it's kind of expected from either party. But I feel he's abusing the power of the office to overshadow the people of the state. They are the ones that should be making their choice, not the democrat or republican parties.

    October 23, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    Blame Bush....no, no, no, that won't fly.

    OK, blame Deeds, yea that will do. It sure can't be the emperor with that fancy new set of clothes he keeps wearing....

    October 23, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. stsooma

    the only thing i got out of this article, except for politics as usual, is the fact that when the curse word for crap was used it was asterisks out ..."s**t"..... but when the Lord's name was taken in vain, CNN wrote the whole thing out, no asterisks.

    October 23, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    What an ego? So, if he had just embraced Obama he would have won his campaign handily. Sounds like the White House is drinking their own kool-aid.

    October 23, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Death Panel Sarah

    To Jobless recovery.....sorry, but the rethuglicans are the racist ones.....funny how the reptiles always project their failings on others!!!

    October 23, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Fitz in Texas

    Who will Obama blame this one on..........his dog BO?

    October 23, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. mjm

    Don't worry Deeds.

    Obama will join you on the sidelines soon. 4 and the door.

    Obama can go be "Charming, charismatic, intelligent, hard-working and focused" someplace else.

    WE WANT RESULTS, not a fund raiser in chief. Bush had 6 years of GREAT economic growth and unemployment under 6%. That's what we want, not 9.8% and 3 trillion in debt.

    I hope we're done with Tax and Spend liberals (or Socialist) after this.

    This is the worst white house EVER.

    October 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Jamie

    While I am amazed Deeds beat out McAuliffe, shut up and be helpful if your such a strategist, and don't ruin what you helped Warner achieve!

    October 23, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Barry In Las Vegas

    Better watch out Mr. Saunders – you are going to get put on the Obama enemy list.

    October 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Paul from Phoenix

    I agree with, and am in the same boat as Mike in Columbus.

    I voted for Obama, and have not seen even one ounce of Candidate Obama. I was suckered.

    I find it funny that his team can throw the blame game at Deeds, when polling clearly shows he started losing favor as Obama lost favor. Basically, Deeds tried riding Obama's coattails, and it is leading to a defeat.

    What concerns me is the comment that because Deeds didn't "embrace the President" he is now being thrown under the bus. That sounds incredibly arrogant, which follows a pattern of Obama not appreciating it when he is questioned (see Fox News).

    October 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    When all is said and done about Democrats we will remain united as Democrats. We will not go against one another due to the fact that so many Republicans, etc. are uniting with us.

    October 23, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. Ron In California

    Typical Chicago style politics. Ram Emmanuel is the worst.

    October 23, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. simp

    I love all the haters out here. You clowns wait for a negative article and then you jump on it like the morons you are. Whether this administration did it or not, guess what losers? Barack Obama is the President of the USA and you haters will have to whine for another 8 years. LOL!!!!

    October 23, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. inofritzn

    The President needs to focus less on state politics imo.

    October 23, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. Sean

    The only person to blame for Deeds lackluster performance is Deeds himself. He has no clear vision for not only his campaign, but for the position of Governor. He cannot give a direct answer to questions that are asked him. He has a patronizing attitude. And, he doesn't align himself with either Clinton or Obama, but then has them come campaign for him. I think he's put together THE WORST campaign I have ever seen on any level of government. I wouldn't vote for this man as the President of the PTA. It's a shame that he won the Democratic Primary, because he cost Virginians a chance at a real race between McDonnell and McAuliffe, two men who have ideas, solutions, and can answer questions.

    October 23, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Kevin

    I know Mudcat and he is right Virginia is a purple state, and it just so happens that whenver there is a democrat in the White House, there is a republican in Virginia's Governor's mansion. We Virginians just like a little balance in our representation. I like the fact that we are not an easy win, you have to respect us...and you have to work to get our vote....both Dems and Repubs..

    October 23, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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