October 23rd, 2009
06:39 PM ET
5 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. Anonymous

    I don't know, Obama won Virginia and Deeds looks like he's losing it to a very questionable candidate. Now the voters of VA are idiotic to consider someone like McDonnell to begin with but usually Democrats have enough to form the circular firing squad only after losing. It's not over yet.

    October 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. anotherGDlefty

    Wow. Someone called "mudcat" is calling the shots now? He sounds like a strategist who apparently isn't listening to the strategy. His last win was in 2001? He matters why ?

    You righties are a hoot with your "end of times" , "scary", "Chicago machine", commie, socialist, fascist, propaganda drivel.

    Sorry, I voted for a man, you are the ones calling him a messiah. You are after all good christians so this false god worship will get you where..............

    October 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Bush's Favorite Things Blanky, Bikey & Nappy

    What is bulls**t is the Virginia Democratic Party putting up a horrible candidate and then trying (along with the media and Republicans) to blame the President. The responsiblity lies with the idiots who nominated Deeds. You know, kind of like when the Republicans nominated John McCain and tried to sell him as good candidate.

    October 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. A wised up Democrat who is now an Independant

    Wat you have here in the White House is; at the Commander-in-Chief position is an immoral rat. He will do anything to get elected and now the same to this country to see to it that it falls to a third world country. This is the muslim's goal. Be proud you people that you voted for this monster.

    October 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. A Conservative

    thanks cnn for not baring FNC from speaking with the pay czar. I'm glad to see some support for our constitution.

    October 23, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Beau

    Purely pathetic. Democrats are going to be the downfall of this great country.

    October 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas

    Wow, do we have some folks on here that need a good dose of reality.

    You ascribe an anonymous White House source as being the President himself throwing Deeds under the bus. Interesting, since just last week, you same guys were screaming about the President campaigning FOR Deeds. Deeds' has only himself to blame if he cannot get his message across. Either he is incompetent, or he hired incompetents for his campaign.

    A "source" can be anyone in the White House, except the First Family. There is no way that if it were a member of the Family that it would remain anonymous. It can, however, be anyone from the security guard at the gate, to a telephone operator, up to and including Emmanuel, and they do NOT always speak for the President, you know.

    October 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Josh

    Who first reported this story? If it was Politico, it's most likely a lie. Politico is a GOP rag, and always is "breaking news" from unnamed sources. It's trash journalism IMO.

    October 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. LegalGeek

    It's a little funny how quickly many (not all) Democrats are disrespecting the President.....considering many (not all) where elected only because of those voting a straight Demo ticket during the election.

    Enough’s enough.......Never bite the hand that feeds you.

    It is possible to disagree without being DISRESPECTFUL!!!!

    I'll remember this when I go to the polls to elect my congressional members.

    October 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Mitchell Dorpinghaus

    BLAME? When are the polititions going to start listening? Around the country people are starting to look at and embrace new commers and third party canidates. Its time both the Republican AND Democratic parties start to listen to the people and get rid of the politics as usual, spin it our way, say one thing and do another, method of governing.

    I would wonder how this canidate would fare if his merits were promoted instead of his affiliations?

    October 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Darryl J Kalk

    Mr. saunders needs to keeps personal mouth shut and carry the voice of representation of his elected dist......Or IS this about you,...? Keep jeopardizing your competency to represent. See ya next election son.

    October 23, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Dave

    You made my governing house, a house of cheap politics!

    You Chicago politicians are really something!

    Attempts to limit Fox News, preaching to the media what they should or should not report, my goodness– the president is saying he does not lose sleep over Fox News, but in reality it looks like he never even fall asleep because of Fox News! I am glad even democrats catch the cheap tricks coming out of this white house (that has been a disaster in these 10 months).
    CNN, if you are a serious news organization start making sure free press continues in this country! Do not pay attention to smooth speeches, nice talks and big smiles, start assessing the real things in government!

    October 23, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Tom

    Know how to get people fired up?
    DO SOMETHING!!!!

    October 23, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. jon

    Washington politics as usual from the Obama administration. A failing war in Afghanistan, disastrous spending resulting in disastrous unemployment, no solution to stop the nut job Iranians, a failing healthcare bid; and this president still has time for insults, wow.

    October 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. lisa

    people, it's a governor race, calm down. this guy is just embittered, hence his asinine comments & you're all overreacting.....SEVERELY.

    October 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. JohnM

    Never has so many racist mongoloids resided together in one party as the repugnant party.

    October 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Sea.gem

    More manipulation and distraction by Obama..Deeds will lose because of him...he DID reach out for his support earlier but was denied...the WH wanted to check the polls first...Obama has lied too often and not done what he said he would in the campaign...good-bye Deeds, good-bye Bama.

    October 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Tom G.

    October 23rd, 2009 12:43 pm ET

    "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?"

    You are an idiot. I won't harp to much on your silly attempt to drive home that we are now on some kind of 1 party system, as the GOP is still very much alive and you will see that come mid-terms as the Democratic party continues to tear itself apart like 500 toddlers surrounding a single gummy bear. However, I am just flabberghasted that you would even dare hop on CNN.com (of all places) and ask if Virginia is a "southern state." Grab a history book and scroll back to 1860-1865.

    k thx.

    October 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. ICARE

    The elephants gave W a blank check for the past 8 years. Why are you folks putting them back in power?

    We HAVE NOT even teach them a lessons yet. They havent even paid the 5 trilion dolalrs back yet.

    We're in a deep hole because the elephants drank all the water.

    October 23, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. JP

    Any one ignoring advice to embrace the president are on the enemy list?

    October 23, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. nyc

    Blame Bush, Blame Fox news, blame anyone but don't deal with the truth. Yet, the Obama sheep just follow along....

    October 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Lisa in CA

    Saunders has it semi-correct - Americans overall are just plain tired of politics. We elect people to run the our government and what, we are 10 months into a new administration that is facing many hurdles domestically and internationally that should be commanding 100% of our president's attention and he's on Letterman and in NY and elsewhere fundraising.

    The goodwill of this new president has pretty much run out. He was not elected to be out fundraising but to get this ship back on course. If the Dems are unable to do that (and so far they have been unable to do it), then they need not remain in office.

    It is truly a shame that this president has not delivered on his campaign of change (other than who is currently occupying the Oval Office) and even more sad that the parties never learn either. Perhaps it is time that our elected representatives spend more time in their home districts than they do on Capitol Hill. The Constitution I believe says they need only meet once a year. Perhaps they should start doing that. Maybe then they would be more effective at running the country rather than running for re-election.

    October 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. Themuddman

    "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."

    Hmmm.... where have I heard this before? oh yeah! "Yer either with us or against us" I believe that was right after "mission accomplished"

    It's all just politics!

    October 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Donkey Dr. No

    Don't blame the White House, blame a stupidly run campaign by Deeds. Acting like a Republican by constantly going negative doesn't work. Thanks for nothing.

    October 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. Jobless Recovery

    I thought Obama was about change? He's a socialist thug.

    October 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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