October 21st, 2008
10:20 PM ET
13 years ago

Congressman admits saying, 'Liberals hate real Americans'


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/21/art.hayes.ap.jpg caption="Hayes is facing a tough reelection race."](CNN) - A North Carolina congressman locked in a tight re-election race admitted Tuesday to recently telling a crowd of John McCain supporters that "liberals hate real Americans," the latest in a string of comments from Republicans that appear to question Democrats' patriotism.

Rep. Robin Hayes, a five-term Republican who has been heavily targeted by Democrats this election cycle, first denied making the remarks, but conceded Monday afternoon that he was accurately quoted.

"After reading it, there is no doubt that it came out completely the wrong way," Hayes said. “I actually was trying to work to keep the crowd as respectful as possible, so this is definitely not what I intended."

The comments came at a McCain rally in Concord, North Carolina Saturday before the Arizona senator or members of his staff had arrived at the event. As first reported by the New York Observer, Hayes said, "Liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God."

Hayes also told the raucous crowd to make sure "we don't say something stupid, make sure we don't say something we don't mean," warning the news media would likely distort such remarks.

In his statement Tuesday, Hayes suggested he meant to differentiate between the liberal and conservative philosophies rather than directly impugn the patriotism of his opponents.

"Liberals are advocating higher taxes, which I believe punish success - and they are advocating policies like gay marriage that I feel undermine strong families," he said. "We have a strong difference of opinion about the future of our nation, but obviously this was the wrong way to get that difference of opinion across."

Hayes is top target of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and his prospects of re-election appear to be endangered by Obama's stronger than expected support in North Carolina. According to Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report, Obama is out-polling McCain by 9 points in Hayes' 8th district, a dynamic that could spell trouble for Hayes come Election Day. In 2004, President Bush defeated John Kerry by 9 points in Hayes' district and the GOP congressman narrowly won in 2006.

Hayes' comments echo those of other Republicans in recent days that have drawn fire from Democratic circles. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said late last week she's concerned Barack Obama “may have anti-American views,” and suggested other liberal members of Congress also may be anti-American.

"The news media should do a penetrating exposé and take a look," she said. "I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?"

Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin also drew fire from Democrats earlier this week when she suggested at a recent GOP fundraiser that she only likes to travel to "Pro-America parts of this great nation."

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation," she said.

In an interview with CNN Thursday, Palin apologized if her comments were interpreted to mean some areas of the country are more patriotic than others.

"I don't want that misunderstood," Palin said. "If that's the way it came across, I apologize."

McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer also turned heads when she said over the weekend that Northern Virginia, did not represent 'real Virginia' because of the influx of Democrats to the region in recent years.
“I certainly agree that northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. And as a proud resident of Oakton, Virginia I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia. And that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, ‘real’ Virginia if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message," she said.

Filed under: DCCC • Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. shay

    Sound like he put his foot in his mouth.

    Time for me to learn the Obama Hustle to the tune of Signed Sealed and Delivered by Stevie Wonder.

    One two Kick Kick turn

    Obama Obama Obama

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Schneider (D) - CA

    Dissent is patriotic

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Matt

    CNN won't let you make comments to the Joe Biden blog after first offering you to make a comment so they offer this republican up for you all to make fun of.

    I guess too many people wanted to know about how the innocent people must suffer so Obama can gain some experience if elected.

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Lou from CT

    Once again, another Republican stokes the fires of hate and CREEP and Swift Boat and splatter theory with his uncaring, insensitive remarks.

    Democrats in NC – send a message – defeat Robin Hayes and send a Democrat in his place.

    Let's make sure the Republicans KNOW that divisive speech will not be tolerated by ANYONE in the United States of America.

    Obama/Biden 2008.

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Georgia for Obama

    All republicans needs to be voted out of the office they have mess this country up........I am American I should not have to be scared that my job would laid off because of the fell Bush adminstration.........McCain/Palin this is not a joken matter this is serious people are losen jobs, health care, homes I dont want to be homeless person.

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. kescia

    Conservatives hate everyone except unborn fetuses.

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    Will this ever STOP!
    Other nations are looking at us as real idiots!
    Come on people get your act together.
    In the sixities we sang:
    Come on people smile on each other
    everybody get together and love one another
    right now
    right now
    right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. James

    Liberals get a bad rap for having a brain between their ears.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Ann

    My goodness, this hoof in mouth disease is spreading rapidly in Republican circles. What a pity; this might weaken their numbers in the next Congress.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. sandee in Portland

    Here's one liberal that works, believes in God and voted for Obama. What is it with these republicans that think they're the only ones that work or have faith? As far as I'm concerned, I think they feel it's their way or no way. Please save me from these right wing radical evangelical politicans. It's just one comment after another either about pro-american or liberals hate America. I am so tired of all of the name calling, lying. Our political process has become a joke to the entire world.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |

    john mcsame brother, called the northern part of Virginia: communist!!

    CNN, please add that to the list of john mcsame pro america dividers also!!!!

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. RIF

    What's up with all of the division by the GOP? Man, during a time when we all need to come togehter to get through the tough times all McCain, Palin and the rest of the republicans want to do is divide this country. What ever happened to One nation under God?

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Kenneth M. of Flushing Queens

    He spoke the truth but only after he lied about it.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. MD

    Things are getting really crazy. I getting worried. Is the idea of electing a Black man as President so horrible that it has now caused everyone who ever wanted to say a racist, bigoted, small town vs. large city nasty remark to lose all restraint.

    This is sad, really sad. I want Senator Obama to win. Frankly he's earned it but will we have to be concerned that some wacko will try to act out what some many of our State and Federal leaders are expressing.

    What should be a wonderful, historic moment in our nation's history is quickly becoming the all time worst moment in US history. Everyone spuing this hatred should be ashamed of themselves. I am definately ashamed of them all.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Chris

    It is amazing idiots like this ever get elected.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Anne E.

    I hope this is the swan song of the wingnut campaign tactics.
    Grasping at straws, reaching into the cesspool and flinging at the Democrats what they pick up to see what sticks. Here's hoping it sticks on the GOP, from McCain on down to guys like this - and I don't think he's one bit sorry about the way his remarks came out.

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Eric

    I'm a Liberal, and I hate other Liberals....

    Does that mean other Liberals are real Americans?

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |

    What is wrong with all these Congressman spreading all this HATE speech? These people NEED to be VOTED out of office NOW!!!!!

    October 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Arkansas Undertaker

    He is the male version of Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota! Her campaign is in the tank after her comments on HARDBALL last friday.

    The GOPers should learn their lesson by now but of course they dont. "Liberal" is not the bad word now a days. Now "CONSERVATIVE" is lethal to you political aspirations.

    People are tired of all the hatefullness and code RACISM! its a new day and people want change and a new direction.

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Lou in Iowa

    Let's see...I fly the flag on every holiday, my daughter proudly serves in the U.S. Army, and my stance on most issues makes me a liberal. Would Rep. Hayes say I am a "real American"?

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. mac

    well senator i am so sorry that you all don't yet get it. I will be glad you and your group of Mcsame admit that the question in the election is not about your philosophies, it is not about Republicanism or liberalism, it is about a crisis cause by the present administration.Both of your camps have the opportunity to present an agenda to the American people how you can best solve the problem and above all bring all Americans together, to fel protected and save as one nation while the hardtimes comes and go.
    Well so far, you have not been making your case and twoo weeks to election day you don't get it.It is not that you don't have a message, but you are ignorant of the time.This is not a moment for ideology..... sorry my dear republican friends.i am so ashame it is not my party that is leading on this issue, Obama is a clear choice in the case.He has make his case and it is clear, now the American people will choose what is best fro them, so Mcsame, stop the divide game and hate game and make you case if you can do that in 2 weeks.Your campaign is a disgrace.

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. james in s.c.

    there in a nut shell...seems these so called conservative repubs are acting like mccarthyism, boyhowdy these right wing nut jobs are for a huge downward spiral this election, this is 2008 not 1950's for God sakes!!!

    obama-biden 08

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. A Sousley

    I don't think anyone misunderstood what he said. It was loud and clear. So was Palin's comment.

    I will be so glad when the next 2 weeks are over and we get the election over.

    Make sure you vote. VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not going to tell you who you should vote for, just make sure you vote.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. go vote

    who's a terrorist now?
    Um... I don't know...

    The Republican BASE?

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. john for Obama

    wow this is what happens when rats are back against the wall. They know the change is coming!

    OBAMA 08!!!!

    October 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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