October 22nd, 2008
05:25 AM ET
14 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 • Sarah Palin
soundoff (594 Responses)
  1. Russ, Albuquerque

    LOSER! Is this how republicans reach across the aisle?

    October 22, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. R in Maine

    Typical. First he indulges in hate speech. Then he lies about it. Then he claims that the media distorted him. Is he trying to run for vice president?

    October 22, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Donna

    That is it! As a registered republican, I will be voting Obama.

    October 22, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. KNIGHT-7579

    The man spoke the truth.l

    October 22, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  5. Helene

    This is why I am voting Obama. To defeat these abject, warmongering, divisive creatures who would have us back to the McCarthy era. Their time is up. We will have our country back !

    October 22, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. N.S of Huntsville, Al

    This was on here yesterday, GO get something good to talk about. Like maybe the voter sites that the machines aren't working. This is old. We already know the Republican party are big jokes.

    Talk about big spending Pailn who bought her and her five children clothes on tax payers dollars, over 150k report about that. She is a big liar and McCain should take his money and help Pailn and her five children and first bum dude Todd. This is news

    October 22, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  7. Carol

    No, actually, we just hate people who are jerks and who think they are better than everyone else.

    October 22, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. Vincent, Great Lakes, Illinois

    Well, I guess I must hate America because I am voting Democratic this time around. I must also be considered a "Liberal" because of my choice of candidate.

    I will also tell you that I served this country during time of war, am a member of the VVA and fly my flag everyday.

    This coming from a man who never served one day in the military.

    October 22, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Goddess

    What a way to unite Americans.

    October 22, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Ethan

    Bounce this buffoon.

    Let's throw some $$$ to his opponent, Democrat Larry Kissell.

    Let's GET 'ER DID!


    October 22, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. BatCat05

    Stupid is as stupid does and they just keep on coming out of the Republican Foot in Mouth Club. McCain and his surrogates are taking advice from the Malcolm X play book. Win by any means necessary. Thirteen days to go, too bad, so sad for the McCain/Palin team. One voice, one nation, one people, Obama-Biden, now that's the ticket!

    October 22, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Sagan

    RW, you took the words out of my mouth.

    This guy is a piece of work...
    However, all this is adding up to one thing: bitterness from the Republican Party.

    October 22, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. SBP, Syosset, NY

    Have Americans finally gotten fed up with Conservatives' 20 year old attempt to paint anyone who disagrees with them as "the Enemy." Can you picture this behavior during the Continental Congress? "Mr. Jefferson, you're not only wrong, you are evil and I call upon the nation to destroy you, burn your house to the ground and spit on the ashes." This kind of rhetoric is how dictators grab and hold onto power. Does the Republican National Committee have no shame? Seems they never ask themselves if these tactics are good for the country - only if they work.

    October 22, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Hana

    The republicans have divorced from the party ideals. The culture of corruption we have witnessed in these past 8 years, supports this statement. Mark Foley, Ted Stevens, Larry Craig and the list goes on.

    October 22, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. mitch

    when you dont post my comments ,i go to huffington post.

    October 22, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Baze

    I don't fault the G.O.P. for rallying the "real" Americans. Honestly, that's all they got left. It's either that or go home.

    October 22, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. BJGT

    McCain accidentally agreed: Western Pennsylvania Is Racist

    then catches himself – "Western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most god-loving, most, most patriotic part of America,"

    October 22, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. Craig in Washington

    I guess we should all be "true Americans" like the KKK and the neo-Nazis? Hopefully, between Hayes and Bachmann, the Dems pick up two more seats in the House.

    October 22, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
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