From NBC's Carrie Dann
File this one under "real versus unreal America."
Politico picks up on another uh-oh moment from a Republican representative up for re-election. Rep. Robin Hayes, during a warm-up act for John McCain this weekend in North Carolina, remarked to a rowdy crowd that "liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God."
McCain and his traveling press corps had not yet arrived at the venue when Hayes made the remark. A spokesperson for the congressman, who is locked in a razor-tight reelection rematch with Democrat Larry Kissell, initially denied to the Politico that Hayes uttered the phrase, but audio of the comment has since surfaced.
Hayes' "real Americans" critique comes on the heels of intense criticism of one of his Hill colleagues, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, whose once-safe reelection race is suddenly in the spotlight after she implied to NBC's Chris Matthews that she favors a media investigation of members of Congress to identify those who are "anti-America." Unlike Bachmann, Hayes was anything but a lock for reelection; he won his seat in 2006 by only 369 votes, and the toss-up race is one of the more closely watched in the country.