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. Judy Mason

    Republicans are desperate folks these days. When it was said that following the election that Sarah Palin will represent the "face" of the Republican party, they had better start shaking in their boots!

    October 22, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Good for him! Honesty is awesome!

    October 22, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  3. Joel

    It's funny how conservatives think that they have a monopoly on loving America.

    October 22, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  4. Dave

    If you say "Liberals hate real Americans", then you really hate real Americans. We live in our free country and we have our right to choose whoever to run for the new U.S. President.

    October 22, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. millie

    FOLKS- Put down the Kool-Aid and go to obamacrimes.com for some real insight into this sham of a candidate.

    October 22, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  6. Catherine

    Am I not a _real_ American, again? Pretty sure I got all my papers...

    October 22, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  7. Rightsaid

    These jerks are doing more for this proud liberal than I can say in a short comment. Let's just say, "Thanks for clearly illustrating the idiocy of your ideology."

    October 22, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  8. Alex

    This guys hit the nail on the head. Liberals will one day destroy our great country and everyone will wonder what happened. That day unfortunately, given the climate of everything else going on, isn't all that far away. The entire mess is a sad commentary on our society as it is today. May God bless America!

    October 22, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  9. David, Chicago, IL

    not only are the Conservatives racist, they are hate mongers. Isn't this how it started in Germany in the 1930's?

    And to think this is how low our country has been brought. It's a sad day.

    October 22, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  10. Commonwealth of Virginia

    Death to the GOP. I can't wait until all of you are out of Washington.


    October 22, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  11. Jim

    Republicans make me despise Christianity

    October 22, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  12. MikeNC

    He meant exactly what he said – too bad that we heard it the right way, and he said it the wrong. Republicans are great at that.. no I did not say it... oh wait, yes I did, but I did not mean it that way.

    October 22, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  13. Lee

    He's right. Liberals do hate America. They hate everything good and moral about this county. They hate being patriotic. They are a cancer there is no cure for.

    October 22, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  14. The World for Obama

    PATHETIC. This man was "elected"? Disgusting.

    October 22, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. Mike Considine

    So let’s see if Republicans are real Americans and they are also pro-life, but wait they also start unjust wars and send our sons and daughters to kill and be killed so pro-life means what? Is starting unjust wars the Republicans way of showing your patriotic? I think it’s time for a change!

    October 22, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  16. CK

    Real Americans dislike intensly (my mother didn't allow the word "hate") people that seem to indicate that they are better than any other person.

    October 22, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. Steve, Columbia, SC

    I agree with your comment completely. Please don't apologize.

    October 22, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  18. NYFN08

    For a party that claims to hold patriotism in such high esteem, the words of too many of its members seem to only underscore an intent to divide this great country.

    October 22, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  19. Rosemary Wall

    A very sad day for this country when liberals are accused of hating God, and being unpatriotic when indeed our liberal forebears fought to give us the minimum wage, civil rights, Medicare and social security. I'm a Roman Catholic yankee liberal from Connecticut (as are the nuns that taught me in high school and college) and proud of it!

    October 22, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  20. I voted already for Obama

    The repubs are now showing there true colors. They have always felt that the people from the inner cities are not true americans. The only thing that they understand is when we vote on Nov. 4. We will let that day say everything that is needed to be said.

    October 22, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  21. Cathy

    The GOP are desparate and trying to divide Americans. Vote for change and give change a try. Go back to good old American

    October 22, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Commonwealth of Virginia

    McCain and PNAC. Google this people.

    October 22, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |

    Rep. Hayes is right!

    October 22, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  24. Kelly in FL

    Yeah, and Conservatives hate REAL freedom.

    October 22, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  25. Mark

    Aposrently we have either a very desperate republican party or stupid persons representing them.

    October 22, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24