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. obama08

    wow this guy is pretty stupid. he just made the republican party alot more devisive and he makes the party look dumb

    October 22, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. Anonymous

    You are about to find out just how patriotic Liberals are on 11/4. They are Democrats and Independent voters that will be sending a slew of "their kind" to DC to straighten out the mess the Conservatives have made of this great nation of ours. They will be lead by someone just like our founding fathers, a Community Organizer.

    October 22, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. kritty

    What is wrong with people!?!

    October 22, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. william

    has CNN came out and endorsed Obama yet? All I see on here negative comments from McCain/Palin and other republicans but when Democrat says anything at all it's not reported or you have to go thru 20 pages to find it.

    October 22, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. LLR

    So sad that we are being divided in this country with negativity. I am a real American who disagree with policies of McCain. So, now if American disagree with one another we hate each other? It appears that since they can't divide us with race, they are doing it other ways again, what a stupid statement but, WHAT THE MOUTH SPEAK THE HEART TRULY BELIEVES.

    October 22, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. Charlie

    I keep hearing a lot about "Real Americans" from Palin and a number of other republicans. I don't get it. Am I not a real American because I'm not from a "red" state and vote democrat? Talk about dividing parties and alienating those who are on the fence!

    October 22, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. AZVoter

    Let's hope this helps to turn North Carolina blue.

    October 22, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. PalinISAnIdiot

    Nothing new from the GOP a party of white racisist people.

    October 22, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. Tim in NC

    Not all of them do, but a lot of them do. Like a Bill Ayers for instance.

    October 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Vote every incumbent out. Try a new batch. If they don't work, vote them out. This has gone on too long.

    October 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Linda, Providence, RI

    Moran, typical Republican they think they have better values, better Americans etc. I agree nothing new with these jerks.

    October 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. luis in Miami

    If he a "real American" YES I HATE!!!!

    October 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Mark

    American version of fascism

    October 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. clutz

    I read the comments posted thus far, and I ask, who are the hateful ones? Whose initial reaction is to spout "IDIOT," "anti-democracy demagogues," "liar," and "stupidity?"

    Those comments are pretty divisive and hateful in their own right, kiddos.

    October 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. andrea

    What a stupid think to say and think! He is an Idiot!!!!

    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. MA Voter

    It's about time someone spoke up.

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

    He is absolutely correct!

    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. Nick

    I think it is funny... he admited that he did not mean it in a disrespectful way, but the Head Line makes it appear that he was standing behind his statement.

    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  19. patriot

    Here's what I hate: willful ignorance, duplicity, lack of respect for education, uncritical "thinking", gun violence, telling others how to live their lives, greed, selfishness, manipulation, intolerence, fear-mongering, war-mongering, tax cheating, inability to see a common good, racism, divisiveness...

    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  20. Sam7_OR

    It’s just another Republican clown with the ‘foot in the mouth’ routine, except that this moron got caught with his pants down while doing it…

    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. Pam


    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. Zachary

    Really?!? We should be investigating whether our congressmen and women are pro or anti-american? Are you kidding me? We have absolute and complete widespread corruption on wall street and this woman wants a media (who I thought were supposed to be totally liberal and biased anyway) inquiry into who is a patriot? I feel like we are stuck in a time warp somewhere. You worried about those dirty commies too? Surely good old Charlie hasn't infiltrated all the way from vietnam... and Al qaida (sp) oh I shudder to think of the possibilities.

    I just want to remind them that this country was founded on the very principles of an uprising against an unjust government. Keep making such unjust comments and continue the unjust actions of our current president and I promise you will see true patriotism rise through the cracks.

    October 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. TLV

    This registered Independent woman voter from Charlotte, NC will not be voting for you or anyone else in your party. I am tired of the Republican party suggesting that anyone who disagrees with them is not a true American. The Republican party does not own the rights to Christianity and patriotism. I am ashamed to say I shared some of the same opinions as this hate filled campaign.

    October 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. williebkind

    I see CNN has it bystanding drive by media spewing out their comments. Liberals do hate Amercian, they want to be like socialist Europe.

    October 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. KeithT66

    You just have to be kidding me. I cant believe we are reading this. "liberals hate Americans?" There are a lot of really scary people coming to the surface lately. I can only hope that this election is a wake up call to ALL Americans. It is truely hard to believe what some of these politicians will say. Reading articles like this make me feel like we are in the 1800's. I can only hope that people like this do not get elected.

    October 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 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