Hayes loses lead, gives $250,000 for ads

Is U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes paying at the polls for remarks he made about liberals hating “real Americans”?

Hayes has lost his lead in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District race, according to a new poll from Raleigh's Public Policy Polling.

The firm, which does polls for Democratic candidates, has Democrat Larry Kissell leading Hayes, a Concord Republican, 51-46. In August, Public Policy Polling had Hayes ahead by five.

But Hayes, in a warmup to John McCain's speech Oct. 18 in Concord, told the crowd: “Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.”

The Hayes campaign initially said the congressman denied making the remark, but after being confronted with audio evidence from media including the Observer, the campaign released a statement acknowledging the quote.

Hayes later said he was denying only the context of how the remarks were presented to him.

The Observer's Lisa Zagaroli also reports that Hayes, who is worth a reported $80 million to $170 million, loaned his campaign $250,000 last week. Hayes campaign manager Steve Quain says fundraising is strong, but the campaign wants to run more ads.

The game plan

Barack Obama airs a 30-minute special – not a speech, says the campaign – on major networks at 8 tonight. He then joins Bill Clinton for a Florida rally in the evening.

Obama's hope? The combo of prime-time TV and the former president will bring a convention-like feel – and bounce – to the campaign.

John McCain, in response, has booked an appearance on CNN's “Larry King Live,” which airs after the Obama broadcast.

Poll of the day






President: Barack Obama 53, John McCain 46.


500 likely voters; margin of error, +/- 4.5 percentage points.

What it means

Obama led by double digits in a Rasmussen poll earlier this month. Says the pollster: “The tightening poll results help explain why the Obama campaign has been paying so much attention to the Keystone State this week.”

Rasmussen cautions, however, that while McCain's numbers improved, Obama's didn't decline.

In Tuesday's other Pennsylvania poll, the Muhlenberg daily tracking survey has Obama ahead by 12.