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. Anonymous

    For all CNN anchors: It's hard to be neutral, but try anyway. It's apparent who most of you are voting for, or pulling for. I guess money will make you do almost anything (look at your bank account, stocks and bonds, and investments), hopefully you will try to do the right thing and try not to wink.

    October 22, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. Party Crasher

    I guess that's all the RNC has as a strategy. Lets see if we can make some people so mad that they will vote twice.

    October 22, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. Alex

    What is the deal with these guys? Palin, Bachmann, Hayes...Stop trying to lie your way out of these situations. I guess the straight talk express has lost more than one wheel this election. No one is falling for this BS about "real America" or "real Americans". We are ALL real Americans and we all live in America. Stop trying to divide us. It's in our name, for goodness sake! We are the United States of America. Get used to it, because we're not going anywhere. You; however, may find yourself going back home after the people in your state realize you should not represent them.

    October 22, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  4. Dan, Idaho Falls

    Too bad this dweeb Hayes doesn't support the troops!

    October 22, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. James Bailey

    I'm a liberal who makes every effort to buy Made in USA products to help support American workers. Does Rep. Hayes think I hate America just because I don't vote for blowhards like him? I hate that these people wrap themselves in the flag and act all patriotic but do nothing to really move our country forward.

    October 22, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  6. Tyler

    I love how what the media calls apologizing isn't really apologizing. Rather it's apologizing if remarks were misinterpreted. In all of these incidents, there is no interpretation. It's clear as day.

    October 22, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. Brian in NC

    And this is the reason he is having a difficult time on his re-election bid. Policies that are devisive instead of inclusive are just not going to cut it anymore. This is a typical example of the republican belief that they are something that others are not. They are working americans and democrats are not. They are real americans and democrats are not. They believe in God and democrats do not. Well we're SICK of it!
    You have the nerve to suggest such things in, of all places, the Bible belt? Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

    October 22, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  8. Don

    I would not say that liberals hate real Americans, however I would say that liberals are about to jump off the cliff. They have gotten away from what has made America so strong and what we stand for. Instead liberals now think anything goes and that is not what it is all about. Stand up America and lets make this county what is really represents. Get off your butt and go to work and quit making excuses for those who don't want to achieve the American dream.

    October 22, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  9. Richard

    This is the problem with America. People like Robin Hayes polarize adn demonize anyone who disagrees with his ideology, which is entirely undemocratic. If we are to live in a democratic society based on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then we must remove partisan fundamentalists from office.

    October 22, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  10. Richard L.

    Funny. I find people like this person un-American. They obviously do not believe in the principles this country was founded on. Just another manifestation of the failure of the educational system in this country.

    October 22, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  11. Robo J

    Idiot! Sadly though, McCain and Palin are equaly numbskulled, talking about the country as if it is divided between patriotic and non patriotic factions.
    The politics of division deserve nothing but derision.

    October 22, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  12. TJ

    This kind of rhetoric is divisive and harmful. This is not what America or Americans need right now given the challenges that we as a nation are facing. It certainly is not conducive to creating an atmosphere of bipartisanship that will be needed in order to successfully address these challenges after the election.

    October 22, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  13. Father Flager

    Well, you have to admit he is correct he also needs to mention the ACLU

    October 22, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  14. Trev

    Typical Republican remark. If you don't follow their ideology or buy into their way of thinking...then by God your not an American...by God your not a true patriot.!!! Very typical, very typical.

    October 22, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  15. Richard Geller

    Somehow all these elected Republicans end up using similar wording to communicate the same concept: Anybody who does not believe exactly as they do is trying to destroy the country. What a shame that decent Americans have allowed themselves to be misled by the con artists who have taken over their Republican party, their social organizations and even their churches. The only people who can fix this problem are those who belong to these same groups. I hope that enough of them figure it out before too long.

    October 22, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  16. NC Voter

    Hayes, Thank you for the motivation to vote against you. Im tired of your dumb ads on TV. I will make sure I tell everyone I know including republicans to vote against you....moron!

    October 22, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  17. d

    Rep. Robin Hayes you IDIOT! When will you and the rest of the Republican Party admit that you, as a whole, have completly wrecked our country! Get off your soap bax and start working to get out country back on line.

    p.s. I am a Republican!

    October 22, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  18. NotsoBad

    The sad part is that he is mostly right. Not all liberal's hate America but from what I see posted on these articles from CNN I do truly believe that there is definitely a group of America Haters amongst the liberal minds.

    October 22, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  19. Toby

    That's always the tactic of the Right Wing. Once fully in power, they'll "observe" the enemy. Then they'll take "protective measures." Ultimately, they'll impose the "final solution."
    Can't happen here?

    October 22, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  20. Joe in Vermont

    Ruh, roh! Another escapee from the "Home for the Terminally Disconnected".

    October 22, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  21. Matt

    Keep this talk going all the way to an Obama landslide !

    October 22, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  22. Patty, Atlanta GA

    Conservatives hate Americans!

    October 22, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  23. Beth

    I am a liberal, work hard and believe in God. Who is this man talking about anyway? Some fictitious people living in an imaginary world somewhere?

    October 22, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  24. April in Ohio

    As an American, I want to see my country better & more successful than it is today. I personally believe the democrats are more aligned with my vision than the current republican candidates. Does that make me anti-American?

    According to their logic, the new definition of American is republican.
    Anything else is evil, socialist and anti-American. Come on, people. Enough of the propoganda!

    October 22, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |


    October 22, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
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