Michelle Bachmann, meet Robin Hayes. The four-term GOP congressman from North Carolina's 8th district is the latest Republican to get carried away in the tidal wave of excitement that has led nearly 18 percent of the electorate to declare itself as "very enthusiastic" for a McCain presidency.
Warming up the crowd at a McCain campaign event on Saturday in Concord, N.C., Hayes cautioned his audience, to "make sure we don't say something stupid, make sure we don't say something we don't mean." He then proceeded, as Politico reports in hilarious detail, to ignore his own advice emphatically, declaring that "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God."
When Hayes's comments were reported by New York Observer reporter Jason Horowitz, his spokeswoman, Amanda Little, unequivocally denied that he'd made them. Horowitz stood by his story, and a few other reporters came forward to confirm the quote. (The bulk of the press corps hadn't yet arrived when Hayes was speaking.) But Little continued to deny it, accused Politico of "irresponsible journalism," and threatened that she had just as many sources who would say it hadn't happened, including Hayes staff and fellow N.C. Rep Patrick McHenry, who spoke before Hayes.
Astonishingly, an audio recording of the event was found. Still more astonishingly, Hayes said just what he was accused of saying. He's since responded, "I genuinely did not recall making the statement and, after reading it, there is no doubt that it came out completely the wrong way. I actually was trying to work to keep the crowd as respectful as possible, so this is definitely not what I intended."
Hayes is in a tight reelection race with Democratic challenger Larry Kissell, who lost to Hayes in 2006 by a mere 329 votes. If Bachmann is any precedent, Kissel may find fundraising a little easier over the next few days.