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. VAGuy

    To all you Obama supporters from outside Virginia, please keep up all the "backwoods, hillybilly, racist, redneck" comments! Thank you, really!

    Your words are the best proof I can think of to show how intolerant, closed-minded, bigoted, self-righteous, immature, malcontent and non-credible you are. You like to act so intellectual and open minded, but you are helping educate the American people with your every bigoted statement why we need to stop listening to you on issues that really matter like healthcare, defense, financial regulation, and our march to Socialism. I have been trying to get this point across this myself, but it's so much more convincing coming from you directly.

    Thank you a thousand times!

    October 23, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Now What?

    What about the CNN Poll? October 23rd, 2009 12:03 pm ET

    What about the latest CNN poll showing that the GOP has such an unfavorable rating? Maybe the CNN poll reeks of biased propaganda – like many of the Democrat Party tactics of late. The 2010 elections will be the biggest bloodbath of voting out Democrats in the last 100 years. Good ridance!

    No surprise coming from the "Communist News Network"

    October 23, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Phyllis

    I'm really tired of the Republican mindset in this thread. They blame the President for everything, they think he's an idiot and a socialist. They haven't the faintest idea of what real socialism is all about. Medicare is socialism, but no one wants it taken away. Social Security and unemployment compensation are socialism, but no one wants them taken away - in fact, they want them increased. Unbridled capitalism, as practiced by the banks and their "derivatives," caused this recession. The Republicans had 8 years in which to keep us out of this mess, but instead they let capitalism do its thing, and we are stuck with the consequences. You Republicans like your health insurance the way it is now? Wait till your claims are denied (as my mother's was). Wait till you lose your job. But all the Republicans can do is complain about this administration and stand in the way of any attempt to fix the things that are messed up. Apparently, they are all fine, and they don't care if millions of other people are in deep trouble. It's their own fault, isn't it? That's why they lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, couldn't pay their mortgages without jobs and so lost their homes.This I'm-all-right-screw-you-Jack Republican attitude makes me heartsick. And now we have a really smart guy in the White House, who needs the cooperation of both parties, not a sea of complaints, and all the Republicans can say is they hope he fails.

    If the Republicans are so good at everything, why are we in the trouble we're in now?

    October 23, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Aaron

    Its seems that Deeds ignored sound advise given to him by a successful and popular Democratic administration to his detriment. He has no one to blame but himself for any potential loss. I think that this guy should be intelligent enough not to argue with success and just listen and follow sound advise, especially when it comes from President Obama. I know that I would if I were running for any elective office.

    October 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Jose N.

    Go Bob McDonnell, Virginia's next governor!

    October 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. conservamer

    Ian- you are simply a dip****. medicare and medicaid are poorly run, and far from being something to hold up as an example if you are trying tomake the case for socialized medicine. moron.

    October 23, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Proud Member..Party of No

    Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see a president worse than Jimmy Carter but, lo and behold, Barry O has done it.

    October 23, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. ldkinva

    For all of you wondering why obama the media appointed messiah is interested in Virginia politics, its quite simple. Virginia tilted his way last fall. The outcome of the governor's race here will be a clue as to what he can expect next fall when we evict the VA democrats from congress and more importantly how we might react in 2012. Can ya'll say spanking? Yee Haw!!!!!

    October 23, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Brian from NJ

    Something remarkable happened this week and I think we should all commend and thank the entire media... the WH has tried in vain to silence it's critics and influence the media not to report on stories from FOX News. This week the Treasury Dept. refused to do an interview with FOX and the rest of the major media outlets said if FOX was blocked in this manner then they would not do the interview as well. The WH relented... This is a major step for Free Speech and showing this WH that contrary to what it believes, We the People are in charge, NOT them... and their latest attempt to silence their critics failed... Thank You CNN...

    October 23, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Michael

    It just seems like this is just an opprotunity for the racist GOP to attack Obama. just face it last administration screwed up our country and they wont stop messing it up

    October 23, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. john

    This is about the confidence game in congress over the health care vote. Blue Dogs know they will be gone if they vote for the public option. The Virginia race is a prime example of how much people hate what is going on in DC.

    I think we will see a push to jam the public option through the Senate via reconciliation. But it's not clear if it will go through either the House or Senate right now.

    Voters who are paying attention are more likely to be against this because they don't see how we can afford it.

    We are still losing jobs. Oil is up to $80 dollars and the dollar is falling rapidly. Job 1 should be the economy. Deal with healthcare later.

    And don't include a payroll tax of 8% like the house bill does because that will just increase unemployment more.

    October 23, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. EJ

    I guess any time anyone disagrees with Obama, the race card will be thrown out. I expect that from Sharpton and Jackson, but the general public? I thought most of them were smarter than that. Of course, look who the majority voted for.

    October 23, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Ridgeway

    More Democrats need to wake up and smell the coffee. Obama is just using your party and you to further his one world order agenda. He doesn't care about America's values or way of life. What matters are his socialistic and arrogant beliefs. Get with it.
    Fox News knows the truth about him and he doesn't like it. This guy is the anti-Christ.

    October 23, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Marie in California

    Just another example of Obama behaving like a dictator. He has taken Chicago-Style Strong-Arm Politics to a national level. We might as well have elected Blagojovich to the White House. Same mind set.

    I found it particularly interesting when, on 9/12, Washington DC was flooded with tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people participating in a massive Tea Party Rally. What did Obama do? He left town and threw a political tantrum in a Minneapolis stadium in front of 15,000 kool-aid drinkers. I can still see the anger in his face.

    The Democrat Party dirt of the past election year was disgusting enough to make me forever turn my back on them. Now I call myself a "recovering Democrat."

    Well.....people are getting exactly what they voted for.

    October 23, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. VAGuy

    There actually is a similarity here with last year's presidential election. Barack Obama won the presidency not because he was the best candidate, but because he was not George W. Bush. Bob McDonnell is going to win the governor's race in VA because he is not Barack Obama.

    In just 12 short months, Obama has lost his base of support here in VA with his radical march to socialism and agenda to undermine the most fundamental underpinnings of American greatness, security, and prosperity.

    To those who say Virginia is backwards, we are actually providing you and early look at 2010 and 2012.

    October 23, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Jason S.

    I wonder if all the people blubbering about Obama's lack of leadership during the first 9 months of his presidency remember Clinton's first 9 months? Or George HW Bush's?

    October 23, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Bob

    Totally agree with "Mudcat" Saunders. Its not Deed's fault that he has not energized a base to win.

    Let's remember, Mark Warner won the senate seat because his work as Governor of Virginia. He is a real consensus builder and a fiscal moderate. He did not will because of President Obama. Jim Webb won his senate seat for similar reasons. He was an established national figure already with an esteemed resume. He also would have won without the President.

    So here we are 10 months into the Presidency and the President is saying to the Washington Post, if he would have reached out to me earlier then I could have turned the tide for him. That is absolute nonsense.
    Democratic contenders will be backing away from the President because everyone now sees that his extreme liberal positions, inability to show leadership and decision-making and making an enemy list is not good for the country. Rahm Emanuel is not well liked by the conservatives, moderate republicans and independents who voted for Obama.

    Bottom line execution for Obama
    – Higher deficit
    – Promised Guantanamo shut-down, has not occurred.
    – Said there would be a buildup of troops in Afghanistan and is waffling until after our November elections based on a pretense of improper elections in Afghanistan
    – Wins the Nobel Peace Prize for no achievement to date – Accepts it, a National embarrassment.
    – Loses badly on the Olympics and spend a very short period of time with General McCrystal
    – Waffling about health care
    – Becoming perceived as a socialist
    – Controlling pay caps on private companies.
    – Unemployment rate increases
    – Hires Czars to manage areas that the Secretaries are supposed to do
    – Has not let the Secretary of Labor nominate an Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. Instead put in a left-wing labor guy who had such a distasteful Website that if you read it you could charge him with hate crimes.
    – The list goes on.

    SO, Deeds is losing because Virginians think the other guy will be better for the state. It is also a blast against the President's current approach to governing this nation.

    October 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Anne E.

    So I guess this means everyone should want a return to the "good old days" of BushCo??? Anyone for Cheney at the helm?
    Or how about those pillars of morality and "family values," like Larry Craig, David Vitter, John Ensign, or windbags like Boehner, Cantor, McConnell......OR, how about moonbats like Palin, Foxx, or Bachmann? Not now, not ever, NEVER.

    October 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    WELL – I for one was a little PISSED when I heard several quotes coming from DEEDS trying to distance himself from President Obama.... I was not voting for that reason!!! My son, who campaigned wholeheartedly for President Obama – knocking on doors and making phone calls – is not voting because he does not like DEEDS for the same reason!!!

    NO, we're not fired up but I will vote and try to convince my son and daughter to vote also..... WE SHALL SEE!!

    October 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Doc Ray

    I would any day support President Obama over any of the Republican morons who are responsible for 1) the war in Iraq and 2) the recession caused by tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of financial and insurance industries. What the right wing extremists don't understand is that there are plenty of us in the Midwest (remember swing states?) who have long memories. We would not vote Republican for a long, long time. Thank a lot for all the memories, President Reagan, Bush and Bush and thanks but no thanks for the recession and needless wars.

    October 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    The HATERS who do not live in VA should shut up because I followed all candidates in VA and I much rather stay home – either one excite me. I am a democrat and will vote democrat but DEEDS did distance himself from President Obama – which in my opinion was a bad thing to do – and now it's difficult for ME to rally any young folks and/or African Americans to vote!!!

    Hopefully, the rally in the Hamptons next week with President Obama will get things FIRED UP!!!

    October 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. andy

    Yea...the White House is upset because Deeds didn't embrace the president. See what happens when you don't bow down and kiss the choosen ones butt.

    October 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. The Party of No = The Party of Nobody

    I think all of you Republicant's should start looking to heal your own party and stop mouthing off so much about the Democrats. All you seem to know how to do these days is shoot off your mouths and shoot yourselves in the feet! The Democractic party is doing ok, thank you very much . . . .can't say the same for the Republicant's

    October 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Jenn, Philadelphia

    So 10 months is not enough time to judge how well the President's doing, but enough time to give him the Nobel Peace Prize?

    October 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Can't wait till 2010

    You gutless progessives are as usual getting schooled by the Conservatives, Moderates and Independents on this site that don't bow down at the alter of this empty, empty vessel that you elected.

    Many actually voted for the fraud in chief with reservations, but becausr Mccain ran such a por campaign and the media carried this frauds water, he got elected.

    Now if you dissent or disagree with him, you are Fox watcher, bigot, racist, teabagger or a redneck.

    This college educated VETERAN who uh, uh, uh works for a living and doesn't sit on the porch waiting for the monthly check to come uh, uh, uh disagrees.

    Ding, dong school is out for the bleating sheep.

    October 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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