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. Nathan

    I feel safe knowing that terrorists never attacked the real America om 9/11.

    October 22, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  2. Ted

    What a horrible thing to say. Why can't he run on his merits rather than say something totally untrue. People may hate one another for various reasons but it is absurd to say that liberals hate "real" Americans. What is a "real American". America is founded upon the notion of freedom of speech. We are or at least used to be encouraged to have different approaches, opinions and solutions. Disagreement does not mean hatred. As for belief in God, that is a private decision and has nothing to do with with being Republican or Democrat or any other politican denomination.

    October 22, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  3. Nancy in Charlotte, NC

    I already voted for his opponent last week. This just reinforces my decision.

    A Liberal

    October 22, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  4. Tim

    He's dead on RIGHT! But I'm sure that he will be crusified by the media for saying the truth. And the media wonders why they are losing viewers.

    October 22, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  5. Chris

    Pretty much proof Republicans will say anything to get elected, then lie about it when they get caught.

    October 22, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  6. Ray Fisher

    What's the difference between a tax and spend liberal and a spend without a taxing conservative??? About $500B a year in interest expense paid to foreign countries..... Wake up America!!!

    October 22, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  7. Tom in S.A.

    Liberals hate everything that isn't their way, they have no compromise, that is the problem I have with liberals. I'd have to agree with the small town's being more American, just look at how liberal San Fran is, did I say liberal, there are a bunch of haters there, plus Nancy, small town's in America are a lot happier places then where all the haters (libs) hang out.

    October 22, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  8. d jones

    I voting agaist this guy. He's from my area, He's another "I voted for bush 90% of the time" Nutt Jobs....

    October 22, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  9. Sharon - NC

    We can thank John McCain and Sarah Palin for encouraging that line of thought and those types of politicians to 'out' themselves as the close-minded, past-thinking people there are. Hopefully, Robin Hayes will be ousted from office as well. On behalf of the many people in North Carolina that don't think that way, I apologize to the rest of the country.

    October 22, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  10. Proad American Citizen

    Has anyone else noticed how 10 to 1 the Republican side is attacking portions of the American population? So who is really showing themselves to be anti-American?

    October 22, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  11. Chuck

    Why is it that Conservatives have to insult, belittle, demean and stereotype anyone who doesn't share their point of view? It is the worst of America and worst of "religious zealotry" that would seek to divide the nation and not unite us.

    This campaign has exposed a deceiptful spirit that is definitely not godly. I don't understand the need to lie, spread rumors and arrogantly attempt to declare yourself morally superior to everyone else.

    October 22, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  12. gpenn FL

    I'm amazed he admitted he lied.

    October 22, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  13. A REAL American

    A Hate Wing Republican is coming out to voice how he really feel about any liberals as if he is a "Real Americans" . Rep. Robin Hayes as Donald Trump would say, "YOU'RE FIRED".

    October 22, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  14. Obama 08

    oh my. Things are getting really sad. oh my. We know people really believe stuff like this but to say it and to be a leader and believe it and say it....hmmmmm.

    October 22, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  15. jared

    The whole world is watching america and this election is really bringing out the true colours of america.
    It's a hate filled anti immigrat country and yet you sing about "home of the free and the brave".
    Please do better than this america.

    October 22, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  16. Kpawlak

    Truth hurts!
    And I'm sure the media...like you CNN will take this and run. Anything to put another point on the board for your guy.
    I have lost all faith in this election system.
    It's disgusting.

    October 22, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  17. Jinny Lee

    Liberals ARE the REAL Americans.

    October 22, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  18. Doug

    When will republicans wake up and realize that hate speeches and stupid rhetorical comments are denigrating the entire process? They continue to think that they have the inside track on patriotism, Mom, apple pie and all the rest. Well guess what: people who don't agree with your 19th century view of the world are also very patriotic and love this country, too. Otherwise, why would they be out there "fighting" for it just as much.

    Why don't we all leap to the conclusion that we all love our country and that it is okay to disagree and to vote however we please.

    Having said all of that....Sarah Palin is an idiot.

    October 22, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  19. H. Lee

    The liberal elitist leading the young lambs to the slaughter. The death of America if the real Americans do not wake up.

    October 22, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  20. Lawrence


    October 22, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  21. Jim Saint Paul Minnesota

    It is really disappointing to hear the Republicans critize the Democrats for being un-American. Democrats have a different philosophy on government which is not un-American.
    Is this the same party that locks up people at Gitmo without a trial? Do they not believe that our court system is just?
    Is this the party that allows tapping of private persons homes? Doesn't our constitution allow us Americans freedom from unfair searches an seizures? Again, they don't believe in our court system.
    Isn't this the party that critizes anyone that is not a fundamentalist Christian? Are they searching for a US Pope?
    Doesn't it seem like a party that claims freedom from government, is trying to set up a government in control over its people?
    I would encourage any one who is "AMERICAN" to vote to restore AMERICA to its values and vote for the Democrats.

    October 22, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  22. j

    if people really fall for this "anti-american liberals" bs, i seriously question their intelligence

    October 22, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  23. Peter Brown

    No.. Real Americans are getting fed up and disgusted with conservatives....

    October 22, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  24. Tim

    These republicans think that in order to be a real American you have to do whatever the President says and believe all of their lies and talking points. Liberal ideas started this country and they will continue to improve it.

    October 22, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  25. Obamahasbigears

    Anti-American? No. We just want a very different America. An America where helping fellow Americans in need will be the measure of patriotism, not ridiculouse flag waving and chants of U.S.A. The GOP hates it cause they have lost thier monopoly on values and patriotism. You can't put toothpaste back in the tube my fellow Americans! OBAMA '08!

    October 22, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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