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. Jeremy

    Forget this divisive garbage. Let us unite.

    October 22, 2008 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  2. Junior


    October 22, 2008 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  3. Dave, IA

    Liberals hate ignorant conservative bush neo cons. I can't wait when we control DC and shove our libral agendas on these neo cons.

    October 22, 2008 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  4. claudia dick

    when these people on the right speak you always notice it was not what they meant to say.and thats only after they get caught.

    October 22, 2008 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  5. McCain 08

    Liberals do hate real Americans, liberals only like other socialists, clinging to their wine spritzers and atheism with antipathy for those who are not socialists like them

    October 22, 2008 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  6. JP

    As a liberal I don't hate "real Americans that believe in God" but I don't like them very much.

    October 22, 2008 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  7. Ex-pat from TN

    Ah yes. The more senile, ancient Republicans to express their idiotic ramblings and fear-mongering, panic-induced tirades, the better. (I heard Obama is an alien!)

    It must be terrifying to be this out of touch. I almost feel sorry for the geezer.

    Wait, no I don't.

    October 22, 2008 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  8. BK

    Typical republican nonsense. It usually works, but this election people have wised up to their strategy! Unfortunately for them, they are slow to wise up to people having done so.

    October 22, 2008 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  9. anthony a

    boo to all of you.

    October 22, 2008 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  10. Proud Progressive

    Statements like Hayes', Palin's, Bachmann's, and, yes, even McCain's infuriate me! It is ridiculous and plain false for any Republican (who value corporations over citizens) to utter this nonsense. If it wasn't for LIBERALS, you TORIES would still be kissing royal butts!

    I'm sending more money to the Dems and, especially, to NC. Enjoy yourself, Hayes. You keep making these outrageous remarks and I'll keep sending more money into the Dems' campaign coffers. And FYI I am a former Republican, who has been completely turned off by the actions of you and your idiot pals in a once good political party. I have been an Independent since 1999 or when that idiot (Bush) was tapped to represent the Republican Party. The GOP just keeps sinking lower and lower.

    October 22, 2008 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  11. WIlly Brown

    He's right!

    October 22, 2008 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  12. Tom Swift, Shopton USA

    And this is what Sarah Palin has brought to the Republican Party. I didn't hear any of this BS until she started spouting it. McCain always ran a decent campaign until she came along.

    Who's driving the Republican bus?

    October 22, 2008 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  13. whippingstick

    yet another case of labeling people and creating the great divide. i am a liberal and this bigot doesn't speak for me or the generations of family members that have proudly served in the armed forces.

    October 22, 2008 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  14. Robert A. Decker

    Kind of funny hearing this from someone that has accomplished nothing more than being a politician... Speaking as someone that has succeeded and has grown a business, I say Representative Hayes can go to hell.

    October 22, 2008 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  15. Marie Canada

    Perhaps it's time for a culture change in America where it is accepted that people can disagree with one and another or any political stance or platform and not risk being branded as unpatriotic. This is the 21st Century and the civil war is ancient history so why keep up the divisive rhetoric.

    Actually news legitimate news outlets should be leading the charge on changing this culture so it won't plague the next generation like it has the current generation.

    October 22, 2008 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  16. Jon

    This is just politics as usual as I see it. Nothing is going to change after this election, no matter who wins. Obama says that he's focusing on issues like the economy, but he's only using it as a means to tie McCain to Bush and Bush to the failing economy.

    Since it wasn't Bush who wanted fewer regulations on Fannie and Freddie, and it wasn't Bush who forced banks to give mortgages to uncreditworthy borrowers, and it wasn't Bush who forced banks to become leveraged 30-1 and it wasn't Bush who issued credit default swaps at unrealistically low prices compared to the return, and it wasn't Bush who gave subprime mortgage bonds a AA rating, how exactly is he the cause of all this???

    October 22, 2008 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  17. White Christian Mother for Obama

    Oh boy.. Palin didnt abuse her powers?? How is taking kids on taxpayers dime not abuse? And why didnt husband Todd watch the kids? I thought he took a lower paying job so he could be home more to be Mr. Mom??? What was he doing? I dont think kids getting a raffle ticket qualifies as a JOB!

    How is this cutting expenses?

    Cutting taxes?? She raised other taxes!! So no one really got a break!
    Including Grocery tax! Wow that was nice!

    October 22, 2008 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  18. james in s.c.

    seems like all these to be repubs losers are catching the sinister palin disease...too bad!!

    go OBAMA-BIDEN 08 AND '12

    October 22, 2008 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  19. williefloyd

    CNN I would very much appreciate your posting this as you fail to post most of my comments-not pro McCain I guess.

    I am sick and tired of hearing Reps. say you can't be a Christian and still support Obama. I am a 63 yr. old white woman (widow). I have been a Christian since I was 9 yrs. old. I have worked, and continue to, since I was old enough to get a job-with a signed statement from my parents, which SC required at that time. I am an Independent who voted for McCain in 2000. However, I do not see the same McCain today. In fact, I see him as a complete opposite of the man he was. I no longer have any respect for him.

    As for taxes, I don't like paying them anymore than anyone else, but I am intelligent enough to know you can't run a government without them. These "Christians" who so strongly object to helping the less fortunate among us need to remember, "For even as you do unto the least of you"...I shouldn't need to finish it or designate the location, "Christians" should know it. Many of the people in need are there because of lost jobs-which IMHO must be blamed on our government-they sent the jobs overseas-why shouldn't the government be willing to help them??

    God bless all Americans, not just PRO-AMERICANS!!!


    October 22, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  20. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Gov. Palin thinks the GOP's 2nd stimulis proposal is redistribution of wealth according to her interveiw with CNN. I would like the deal she got $150,000.00 dollars for food , clothes , and travel for her family. Thats some outstanding WELFARE benifits and far better tax break then I get for housing and supporting my family for the year.

    October 22, 2008 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  21. TrueBlue

    Liberals ARE real Americans. We demand freedom of speech. We demand the right to question our government. We demand separation of church and state. These are true American values.

    October 22, 2008 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  22. Rob

    Wow, as it approaches electoral defeat, the GOP is devolving into a politically-disjointed monstrosity spewing hatred and obscurantism.

    What a sad fate for the party of Lincoln.

    October 22, 2008 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  23. rhybeckah

    Why does it seem that many, if not most, Republicans think that anyone who doesn't think and believe as they do, is un-American? What a dangerously prejudiced and hateful belief this is. Just because one does not agree with the beliefs and ideals of another, does not necessarily mean they are against achieving the same goal. I am a liberal, and I care very much about America and hope for an America that is good and fair and tolerant of everyone's opinions.

    October 22, 2008 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  24. Greg

    What ,have we not grown since 1860s.how dare he talk such nonsense and Hayes isn't the only one from the republican talking trash. This is in need of an apology and should be backed up with Hayes stepping down.

    October 22, 2008 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  25. Jerry

    Truth hurts, huh?

    October 22, 2008 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
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