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. Nathaniel


    October 22, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  2. Swimfast

    Being from NC, I know how horrible this guy is. It would be great if he lost so we wouldn't have to listen to this ridiculous man anymore.

    October 22, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  3. Sharon of Illinois

    This is what happens when you start down the slippery slope. These are closeted bigots who think they now have the freedom to express themselves because of what their candidate is doing and saying. McCain and Palin ARE responsible period. If Obama supporters or surrogates said anything like this and then lied about saying it he would be done. My children are at a private school where there is a nice racial balance but I keep letting them see what its really like in the world so that they are not dumbfounded when they are sitting next to some idiot who thinks they are less than they are. I thought this country had progressed but apparently these feelings have just been dormant. Its actually just sad. McCain legacy as far as I am concerned is not his service to this country in VietNam but the divisiveness he stoked and encouraged during this campaign. VietNam is just a footnote to me now.

    October 22, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  4. jason

    yes, i advocate higher taxes for rich people who only sit and watch as "real americans" do all their work for them. Given the current state of the economy, I'm sorry, but we are beyond the point of taking your word for it. You're going to have to explain WHY, exactly, it is that company owners NEED the vast majority of the money their company earns, meanwhile the people who do the actual work are paid minimum wage, regardless of how much the company earns.

    In short, using facts instead of rhetoric, you're going to have to explain why a "trickle down" model is better than a "bubble up" model. Please do not start out by as suming that I have any sympathy for the rich.

    October 22, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  5. Tim

    Am sorry to agree with the main line. BUT most liberals really seem intent on the elimination of the USA. They seem to be working very hard on a one world order where there are no individual leaders, only one leader of the world and everyone just lives happily ever after. With the govt taking over all their cares and worries.

    October 22, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  6. Lynn R.

    Sometimes people say what they feel. So if that is what he want to say then that is okay. Now we know the true feeling of the Republicans.

    October 22, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |


    October 22, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |

    All this tells me that the republicans are desperate and will say or do anything to win.stop spreading the hate.

    October 22, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  9. Shannon,Dallas,Texas

    Where's the flag pin?

    October 22, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  10. Saint Genesius

    Once caught in a lie, Congressman Hayes suddenly remembers saying what he actually said –but he didn't mean it.

    I wonde what else he says that he doesn't mean. This is the level of credibility of the right wing of the GOP.

    Mr. Hayes needs to be retired from government service so a REAL American can begin representing North Carolina.

    October 22, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  11. Jimbo

    This man is a moron. First of all, on an issue-by-issue basis, most Americans are liberals, though they may not identify themselves as being so because people like him have turned it into an accusation. His statement reveals the fascist streak in the conservative movement, which Americans are thankfully rejecting. And the more this vile philosophy crawls out into the light, the more it will be seen for what it is: profoundly un-American

    October 22, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  12. Mike

    They're playing right from the "Joe McCarthy" handbook, saying outrageous things with no proof or examples to back it up. What a bunch of morons. They're really sad, clinging to their Beaver Cleaver ideal of a perfect world, with perfect little homes in their perfect little racially separated towns, and gay people hide in the closet. I'm still waiting for one of them to give an intelligent response to the question, "how does gay marriage negatively affect your straight marriage"? If they're that worried about thier own marriages disintegrating, they've got bigger problems than gay marriage.

    October 22, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  13. Tom Swift, Shopton USA


    Do "patriots" fake expense reports?

    "ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.
    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' plane flights.

    The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.
    In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. She also has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.


    October 22, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  14. bob

    If "real Americans" are liars like you, then yes, I hate real Americans.

    October 22, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  15. babs

    Here we go...being told I am not patriotic enough because I am a democrat. I wish that I didn't have to pay his salary. I guess that is why I didn't vote for him and his wasteful spending...man I will sure be glad when this is all over. Geez....these Repubs are really getting on my nerves. NC/OB-08

    October 22, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  16. Jack

    Hayes' comments are not only insulting to those who don't share his one-size-fits-all view of Americanism, they're also monumentally stupid in light of his political situation. I'm not sure he can backtrack far enough or fast enough to save himself.

    October 22, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  17. Mario S. Cano

    Is this guy for real??? Can he truly be trying to whip up hatred (or perhaps elevate what is there) by pandering to an obviously pro-McCain crowd's baser instincts? True Conservative and/or Liberal Americans should be respected far more by scared politicians such as this individual, for Americans of all stripes, as a whole, I believe are far more intelligent than what this person was suggesting by his very comment. We deserve better politicians with far less divisive messages and far greater constructive solutions that what this man insultingly offered the North Carolinian crowd before him.
    Mario S. Cano
    Miami, FL

    October 22, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  18. Disgusted

    This is the narrow thinking and attitude that Gen. Powell was speaking of concerning the Republican party. I am appauled that this could be said of any American. I am a Democrat. I am an educator, as well as a Minister. I love God and I love this nation. I am ashamed when I hear people speak this way concerning any citizen no matter wht the situation. It is bigoted and has no place in our country. I am disgusted by the Republican Party. I could only imagine their private conversations.

    October 22, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  19. Chris S.

    It amazes me in this age that people still deny their own easily verifiable statements. Is he unaware of the "TV"? And what exactly does he mean by "I actually was trying to work to keep the crowd as respectful as possible"? Does he think this justifies his statements, which he baldly denied anyway?

    October 22, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  20. Kimi

    "Liberals are advocating higher taxes, which I believe punish success — and they are advocating policies like gay marriage that I feel undermine strong families." This is the statement that Congressman Robin Hayes, NC meant to say. It is, in a nutshell, SO TRUE! If McCain/Palin could get this message across to Americans rather than repeat the whole Maverick term over and over, they might be on the right path!

    October 22, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. Kendra

    No I think he got it exactly right. Liberals want to undermine the basic tenents of what this country is about God, freedom, capitalism...etc.......
    BO is a socialist and stands for ideals that a few liberals want to make the standard of our country. No wonder the world looks at us with disdain. If he is elected I for one will not support him and no matter who gets elected we have a serious moral and politiocal divide in this country that is going to be the death of the USA someday. Two different idealogies going in 2 different directions. The older we all get the more stubborn we get and more remote the possibility of finding middle ground. It comes down to people who respect God and those who do not belive God should have any say in thier lives...do as you feel. That is the fundamental difference in this country. The more we get away from God the worse off we will be.
    That is not religious fanaticism....it is what our Founding Fathers believed as well. So I guess now modern day people know more than them.
    It is a sad time to be an American..........God help us.

    October 22, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  22. Ambro

    there's news leaking that bin laden has promised (in a msg) to lay down his tools for 8 years if obama wins is this true?

    October 22, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  23. Lemmy

    Well, doesn't it seem like it most of the time? Essentially, to the Left, this country is wrong to even exist because of the "terrible" things we did to the Indians (I refuse to say "native" "Americans"), and we'll forever be stuck in a hell of owing reparations for slavery. That's really the core of all the anti-religion, pro-gay marriage, anti-gun, anti-authority movement. When you cut through all the chatter and hate spewed by the left, that's their deepest belief, it would seem: America doesn't have a right to exist, and we're slowly going to legislate it out of existence. I don't think their children are going to appreciate it, however, should they succeed ...

    October 22, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  24. They want the White House to be their 9th House

    I am Liberal.

    I am a war Vet.
    I pay my taxes.
    I do Community service work.
    I love my country.

    You question my patriotusm and other liberal minded Americans?

    You sir, are an insult to Americans and the elected office and the people of North Carolina that you serve.

    October 22, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  25. rich

    vote to end this America. we are better than this slime that has been coming from the republicans. vote these right wing nuts out into the cold.

    "real" Americans treat different points of view with respect
    in America there is no anti American stance our constitution says so.
    there is no pro or anti American.


    October 22, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
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