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. Tommy Tiger

    Liberals are the real America. It's people like Scalia, Alito,Thomas, Roberts, Bush,Cheney, Lieberman and a lot of other fascists that are not the real America. I always thouight that these guys should be prosecuted for treason since they realy are traitors to the American people.

    October 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. Kevin in ND

    Real Americans don't win elections.... they steal them!

    October 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. Saad from NJ

    What a shame and disgrace this guy is to our real America.... LOL!!!!

    October 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. John

    I am sorry but I love America as much as the next person but I also realize that America is not perfect and it needs some changes. If believing invading Iraq was wrong makes me anti-american, then i will gladly take on that title. The America that I grew up loving and wanting to serve values people of difference and that is what makes it strong. General Powell is a hero of this country who fought discrimination and for this country, and would Rep. Hayes say he hates America.

    October 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. Atwood

    Everyone hates "real" Americans, with the exception of "real" Americans. The founding fathers HATE "real" Americans.

    October 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Outsider

    Is this how you Americans practice "democracy" in the "greatest nation on Earth"? By telling the opposition party that it simply "hates" your country?


    October 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. McShame

    Typical!!!!! It should not suprise us......Bitter!!

    October 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. Shawn

    I agree with him.

    October 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  9. T.H.

    We are all Americans...can we just get along?

    October 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  10. Al, NY NY

    How typical. "If you're not with us (aka a complete ditto head, lemming), you're against us" Sound familiar? Just llike Duhbya and his ridicuous commentaries of the last 8 tragic years. I hope this guy get his back side handed to him in the election then he and the rest of the liars and zealots can go crawl back under their rocks where they belong

    October 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. semperfimamabear

    This is the most honest statement I have heard in a long time! It is so true in my opinion. Liberals are ruining this nation.

    October 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. Dave

    People like him are doing more damage to the USA than OBL did on 9/11. OBL brought all of us together while Robin Hayes and his other fellow republicans are trying hard to divide this country.

    October 22, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. Gerald in Georgia

    What a "Good Ole Boy" thing to say...... wait a minute...... I thought McCain and Palin were running against the "Good Ole Boys".

    You can take the division out of the party, but you can't take the party out of the division!!

    October 22, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  14. ines

    Good way to get yourself voted out, Hayes. What an imbecile.

    October 22, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. Deb n Texas

    He is only another hateful Republican. God Bless us ALL!

    October 22, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. Ron G

    Either Rep. Robin Hayes (R NC) does not believe in the 1st Amendment or he is incompetent, both would be reasons to not vote for him if he represented my district.

    October 22, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. Marty, FL

    Hayes, Bachmann, McCain, Limbaugh, Palin, etc. remind me why I left the Republican Party (too divisive and narrow).

    Many Americans are voting for candidates offering unity, hope, and inspiration: Obama/Biden '08.

    Yes we can!
    i Si se puede !

    October 22, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. Ken

    Wow, the Republicans have sunk to a new low. They have continued to use divisive politics to divide and conquer the nation.

    I am glad that we have a Presidential candidate that rises above these attacks.

    Obama 08

    October 22, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. cjr

    He's republican – what do you expect??? We can only hope that he will not be returning to Washington

    October 22, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. Pat, Westminster, Maryland

    Would someone please tell me HOW gay marriage undermines strong families, or HOW exactly it threatens marriage between a man and a woman? My husband and I have a WONDERFUL marriage. Is gay marriage going to cause us to split up? Makes no sense.

    Second, would someone please tell me HOW OR WHEN Senator Obama and the Democrats ADVOCATED raising taxes?

    This is some really stupid stuff, here.

    October 22, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. Chad

    Why is it that Republicans cannot debate or educate without resorting to hate tactics, name calling or fear mongering? Seriously...not trying to be inflammatory, that is just all I ever see. Especially when they are losing.

    October 22, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  22. rt walker

    Democracy hippocracy... Mob rule is what you are really talking about.
    Think about it, this country has NEVER been a true democracy.
    It is a REPUBLIC, constitutionally ordained and limited by the rule of LAW, not the rule of man and his whims that ebb and flow good and bad at times like the tide. I hope the mob in this country never does get a true democracy since then there would be NOTHING to hold back evil men to do whatever they want to do with all aspects of living in this society.

    October 22, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  23. Sandy - PA

    Liberals are not "advocating higher taxes". They are just seeking to undo the ridiculous tax cuts that Bush instituted for the wealthy.

    Republicans rob from the poor and give to the rich – that's all they do.

    October 22, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  24. Tbone

    This is the sort of BS that needs to stop. Just because someone does not agree with Republican policies or think just like them does not make them any less of an American or Patriot for the country. The US is the most diverse country in the world and our politicians need to start recognizing that, particularly the Republicans. They need to start doing what's best for all Americans, not just the so called devout Christians with above average income, married with two kids and a dog.

    October 22, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. simmerdownow

    We don't hate ANY part of America...just some of the dolts who represent them in Congress!

    October 22, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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