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. deedee

    May the Swine Flu fall on all of you "Obama Hate Mongers" .

    No shot for any of you!

    October 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Taylor

    President Obama has done more in 9 months than Bush did in 8 years yet some of you people would rather the country continue to go downhill than give President Obama a chance. Get a freakkkkinnng life.

    October 23, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Boo Boo Duh

    Republicans, this, Democrats. that. Wake the F up people. Start voting independent. That is the only way to get the attention of Washington and these parties. Oh but I'm throwing away my vote. BS. If there is a 10% vote for independents this year, that's a wake up call that could turn in to 15% – 20% the next election. 4-6 years from now, we could have some independents with real chances of winning.

    October 23, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. VAGuy

    I live in VA, and no, this is not Deeds running a bad campaign. No, this is not Deeds being an unqualified candidate.

    Rather, this is an early referendum on the president leading up to the 2010 midterms and 2012 presidential race – his Chicago mob-style politics and the lackluster results he's provided. It's a referendum on uncontrolled deficit spending with no end in sight, healthcare being rammed down our throats that most of us don't want, and the most shocking expansion of government anyone can remember. It's buyer's remorse for those of us in the middle who voted Obama into office while we were too scared over the economic crisis to fully understand who he was or what he wanted to do.

    Now we understand, and Creigh Deeds will loose because the majority of Virginians know this is the wrong direction not only for our state but the entire country.

    October 23, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. John

    Wait a minute, aren't we forgetting someone to blame?

    If we can't blame Bush, Obama, Saunders or Deeds, just blame white men in general, everyone knows they are a "free hit" until 2012.

    Dirty White Boy

    October 23, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Joe

    If you're not with us, your against us.
    –Barack Obama

    October 23, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. jas

    I think the amount of corrupt people Obama has surrounded himself with is starting to take its toll. It may be time for him to clean house before he is the one on the outside looking in.

    October 23, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Darryl J Kalk

    Everyone banging their key board about B.S. like this needs to commit to military sevice in afg.or iraq.....today. WE need help fast. And not the kind of help that focuses on " coming home". I never did, never once not ever. Be warrior about for real for american supremacyin global defense. nothing else follows...................

    October 23, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. D.

    This white house is sooooo.... thin-skinned !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It is scary when this is done on US matters, I wonder on the international level what are these guys thinking.
    The campaign continues, and we seem to have president-elect ready to start his job sometimes....

    October 23, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Motivated

    i need to stop reading comments. They make me sad...think i'll go outside and make a real difference.

    October 23, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Independent Bob

    It is time for a revolution in this country! Not a revolution of bullets but of ballots. Politics as usual is getting this country nowhere. The Republicans and Democrats continually poison the well from which we all must drink, the well of public policy.

    The Declaration of Independence states we have the right to "institute new Government". It says we have the right to "throw off such Government , and to provide new Guards for our future security".

    Our form of government, a Constitutional Republic, is not the issue. The issue is the entrenchment of the two major parties and the stranglehold they have on the political process in this country. We must provide new guards for our future security – electing independent and third party candidates.

    Don't let people fool into thinking that it can't be done. The Declaration goes on to say that "...Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." The colonists suffered under Royal tyranny for many years before they finally chose independence.

    We have become accustomed to the two party system and have suffered under the politics as usual of the two major parties for decades. It has become intolerable and it must change. We can be successful in electing new Guards for our future security just as the colonists did.

    Now is the time! You are the voters, take your rightful place as the ultimate power in this country and make it happen!

    October 23, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Soren

    David who?

    October 23, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. David, CA

    Still though- not as bad as leaking the identity of CIA operatives.

    October 23, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Pking

    And I thought it was just me. Time was, I loved to jump into political topics- but the past 6 months have left me feeling apathetic. Left or right- I feel that politicians are all lying and dragging their feet- except when they're on their way to the bank. I seriously do not believe that ONE of them have empathy for the average struggling American. I am sick of the lot of them. It's all about power and money. To hell with integrity.

    October 23, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. slow news

    snipe at each other all you want, but first solve the things that are hurting the electorate

    October 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. joel palmer

    If Creigh Deeds loses, he has only himself to blame.

    If Virginia elects a republican, they have only themselves to blame

    October 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. David, CA

    "Obama is downright scary. He is a typical chicago mob politician...except he has the biggest stage in the world. "

    @ Jobless Recovery: And what was your opinion of Dick Cheney? Mr. Nice Guy?

    October 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Hypocrisy

    The Obamabots political strategy: when things go well, praise The Messiah. When things go bad, blame the GOP, Fox News, Bush, average Americans, or anyone else, including Dems, that don't fall in lockstep with the Beloved Leader. And when all else fails, call everyone a racist. That'll shut 'em up real quick!

    October 23, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. GGD

    In response to MFPDX – if Republicans are really manipulating and swaying Americans why don't we now have a Republican Administration and a House and Senate Republican majority?DUH?

    October 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Joel

    Hmmm, Mr Deeds must be a racisit for not "embracing" Obama. Well that's the line the democrats were using all through the campaigning last year and this year. There is so much infighting that Obama seems to be the only bright spot of the Democratic party. I am fairly impressed with Obama considering he has to work with the likes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. I would say that Obama's weakest point is his inability to twist the arms of his fellow party members. Maybe he is just too nice of a guy.

    October 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. MarkE

    Absolute WRONG! The Dems are burnt out because the entire country is pissed off that they have had TOTAL CONTROL of the country since January 21st and what have we gotten? The biggest bonus payout program for Wall Street and the major banks and, oh yeah the "Cash for Clunkers" program which dramatically revived the Big Three (Toyota, Nissan and Honda). No new HealthCare, no closing Guantanamo, no recall of Don’t ask-Don’t tell, we’re still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, 10-12% of the country is out of work, our homes are worth squat (we can only sell for 70% of what we paid). Oh, I stand corrected; he put a “Wise Latina” on the Supreme Court. Wow, Obama must be exhausted…. THAT’S WHY WE’LL HAVE TROUBLE GETTING DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES ELECTED / RE-ELECTED! I'm ashamed to say I voted for this guy....

    October 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Pete East

    In sixteen years the Democrats have gone from FOB or Friends of Bill to EOB or Enemies of Barrack.

    Just sample some of the odium that the Lib / Dem's attack bloggers heap on public, and not so public figures who are not slavish devotees to President BHO.

    Please, please keep it up and see where your thoughtless vitriol gets you by 2012.

    October 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Robert

    Uh, I don't blame Deeds for not wanting Obama's help. Obama could only hurt the guy's chances. And no, Virginia is not a suburb of DC nor is it a cornfield and a whole lot of us voted for McCain.

    October 23, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. NVa Native

    Deeds, who is from the south-western part of the state, in my opinion was the least quailified of our three Democratic contenders for governor, but still far better than McDonnell.
    N VA is the cash cow that the backward partisan Repubs who control the state house abuse at every chance they have. The VA repubs are a narrow minded klan that doesn't want to move forward. If it weren't for the progressive N Va area, and present and recent past Democratic governors, we would not be the Forbes #1 state for business. Repub governors Allen (McCahcah) and Gilmore almost destroyed our triple A bond rating, and McDonnell with his alligence to the religious whacko Pat Robertson (he said we deserved the attacks on 911) would be even worse. McDonnell is a religious radical who cares only for his fellow followers of his particular interpetation of the bible. McDonnell will betray many of the ideals and civil liberties that were formed so many years ago by our founding fathers, many of whom were Virginians.
    McDonnell is not who he wants you to think he is.

    October 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Alice

    It's obviously Bush's fault.................or maybe Rush Limbaugh's.......

    October 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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