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. Greg

    I'm very frightened by all the ignorant, and hateful comments being left. GOP + Backwoods Intelligence + Fox News = mindless hateful racist war-mongers. Did I just say that?

    October 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. VAGuy

    For those attempting to falsely play the race card here, please.

    Racism has absolutely no relevance here. Virginia was the first state in the country to elect an African American Governor – Douglas Wilder, a Democrat who served from 1990-1994. Mr. Wilder is still an active and respected political force here in VA.

    And guess what – Mr. Wilder refused to endorse Creigh Deeds in this year's governor's race, despite immense pressure from the White House and Democratic leadership.

    This isn't about race. It's about President Obama and his policies and results (or lack thereof). It's buyer's remorse and the people truly understanding what's going on.

    October 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Kim

    I live in Virginia. The people who are commenting here that don't live in this state have no idea of what they are talking about. After the thesis story came out, this was Deeds race to lose. It looks like that is exactly what is going to happen. He has backtracked on taxes, to the point that the Washington Post couldn't even understand what he was trying to say. WashPo has endorsed him, but even they realize that he has shot himself in the foot.

    His campaign has been all over the place and poorly run.

    October 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Ray in Phoenis

    Truth is....

    Its hard to run a back room, Chicago style, back stabbing, thug administration on a national level. You can get away with this garbage on a local level, but there are too many eyes and ears watching the White House.

    Obama is proving to be the teleprompter reading, inexperienced, do nothing, empty suit we all thought he was. What we didn't know was how thin skinned he is.

    He is now spending his Presidency getting into a pissing match with FOX news, and slandering other Dems who politically can't afford to latch onto his Socialist ideas.

    What a small, petty man Obama has turned out to be. The only people who look more pathetic are you Obamatons who cling to this false messiah. Wake up.

    October 23, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. kbcart

    I have to laugh everytime I hear or read some moron spouting about "Chicago politics" – as if they even have a frigging clue about what goes on here.

    Proof they are capable only of regurgitating the lunacy of FOX (news? LOL) or the drug addict Limbaugh. The willful ignorance of these people shows why only 1 in 5 admits they are a Republican.

    Thinking Republicans are too embarrassed to admit they belong to the party (and there are many). Can't blame them.

    October 23, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. TCM

    KP – anyone who supports Obama...may be a US citizen...but really aren't a True American. Perhaps you should be the one to shut up

    October 23, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Barb,
    firstly, if you think that Obama is the first president to have to deal with people wanting it faster but not cramed through the house and senate, then you just don't get it.
    Second, this is exactly why people said he was inexperianced, he made promices we all knew he could not keep and acted like everyone was just going to go his way because he said everything would be okay.

    October 23, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. no longer a democrat

    Obama – too nice of a guy...that's excactly why I didn't vote for him

    October 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Tony

    You can only call people racists for so long before they stop listening to you. And that's something you don't forget. The Democrat party is doing a good job of setting itself up for failure over the next few years.

    October 23, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. morcutt

    "anonymous sniping"? But Obama promissed us transparency in government? Certainly this can't be...

    October 23, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Joe

    I live in Virginia and haven't seen or heard much about Deeds ... and we have ... what... a week to elections?... Deeds needs to step up his game.. especially in Northern VA and Hamptons ,,,, not forgetting the rural areas if he really wants to win. I think Deeds still has a shot at it if he works harder. but for now ...at least from what I gather in the news... the numbers are not going for him.

    October 23, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. ldkinva

    Howdy ya'll. Dk way down here in hillbily Virginia and yeah I is a redneck. You all look like ya got ya self a snoot full o problems. I aint never saw so many anti obummer comments on a CNN forum. Wow. Are the chickens coming home to roost or what?

    October 23, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. nyc

    Taylor,
    what are Obama's 3 the biggest accomplishments so far? And what planet are you from?

    October 23, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Dan

    Why is the White House even involved in Virginia politics ? I guess for now the American people are content to have a White House that accomplishes nothing for the country, campaigns for their party candidates, and blames all problems on the previous administration.

    October 23, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. CG

    Previous comment about Obama being' the head of a snake' is extremely well-put and spot on. I concur with enthusiasm.

    October 23, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Hobo Joe

    Hey. You all have great comments and I am goin' to let you continue, but Hypocrisy has the best comment of all time.

    October 23, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Kim

    Okay, we all know that both parties, the White House and Congress do their best to make sure their candidates win important elections. In the past it has not been nearly as forceful as it has under the new administration. Anyone can tell a candidate that they think it would be beneficial if they supported certain things or people, but that's all it is an opinion or advisement. It is up to the candidate to do what they think is best and the advice giver can do nothing but go pout about it and has no right to get vindictive about it.

    This is a disturbing trend by the White House this year. This is the same flavor as was dished out against the New York governor for not doing what the White House/Obama wanted. There are also the episodes of "mandating" Congress to present a health care reform bill to the president by X date. All of which are blatant overstepping of the lines of power.

    Congress and Governors do not work for the Executive branch and there is a darn good reason why the Founding Fathers set up the government that way. It doesn't matter whether you like Obama or not, whether you are Dem or Rep, or which party is in power where; we all have to keep an eye out that no branch of the government is overstepping its Constitutional authority.

    October 23, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. jim

    I really believe Obama wanted to do what is right for the country when he took office but he is just not a leader. The lack of leadership on almost all aspects these past months will take its toll on the democratic party in the coming elections, 2010 and I fear even 2012.

    October 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. kbcart

    "You can only call people racists for so long before they stop listening to you."

    That's probably true, but if you read these posts, you'll find the majority using the word "racist" are wingnuts whining about being called "racists".

    And methinks they doth protesteth too much.

    October 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. lefty loosy

    WOW a democrat calling his majesty Obama a sniper. Some of us call him a lot worse than that. How about , Commander and thief.
    LUV IT.

    October 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Candide

    People are getting weary of Obama and his continuing war with those who dare disagree with this policies and it's bound to rub off on others in his party. His "my way or the highway" is even more pronounced than Bush's and makes for added stress and anxiety in our lives ,so it would not be a stretch to imagine that there will be some Democratic defeats due to the arrogance and extreme views displayed by the White House occupant and his czars.

    October 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Wade

    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..
    -------------------------------–

    I'm a Republican and an atheist. I guess that screws up your blanket assumption that all of us believe in God and creationism.

    We already have terrorists in this country, they're called politicians.
    They will do more to cause the destruction of this country than any foreign group could ever dream of.

    As for facts, try learning to spell and construct a proper sentence first.
    Then perhaps we can have a coherent discussion about the facts.

    October 23, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. David in Houston

    If Deeds fails he has no one to blame but himself.

    October 23, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Gentwelve

    This is just Obama politics, strong armed and fascist, do no refuse the will of Barrack!

    Barrack Obama 2009-2012, one term!

    October 23, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Now What?

    deedee October 23rd, 2009 3:00 pm ET

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

    No shot for any of you!

    Talk about "Hate Mongers" You ignorant hypocritical clown.

    October 23, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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