Hours after an Asheville Citizen-Times headline asserted otherwise, Democratic congressional candidate Patsy Keever declared that she endorses President Barack Obama in multiple Facebook posts.
A July 11 headline in the daily paper caused a stir among Keever supporters by stating that “Asheville’s Patsy Keever won’t endorse Obama.” However, her statement to the paper explained that she “supports” the president and Keever was quoted as saying that she will vote for him. In a Facebook message posted later that day, she said the AC-T “misconstrued” her statement, urging supporters upset by the idea that she didn’t support the president to “read the article, not just the headlines.”
“For the record, of course I endorse our President,” she added.
In her 10th Congressional District primary race, Keever was outspoken in her support for Obama and many of his policies, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and a $447 billion jobs bill that Congress denied last year.
However, her November opponent, Republican incumbent Patrick McHenry, reacted almost immediately to the Citizen-Times article, with his campaign seeking to portray her as pandering and contradictory.
“Trying to distance herself from the failed policies of President Barack Obama, congressional candidate Patsy Keever recently dodged a question about whether or not she would endorse the leader of her party,” read the July 11 statement from the McHenry campaign.“Her refusal to endorse President Obama, who has added $5.5 trillion to the national debt and been unable to get unemployment under 8 percent for the last 41 consecutive months, may come as a surprise to many of her supporters after she told the Mountain Xpress on April 26th: ‘I want to be part of President Obama’s team.’”
In a follow up Citizen-Times article written later that evening, reporter Jon Ostendorff gave the McHenry campaign more ammo for that attack line, referring to the Facebook messages and writing: “Keever changed her position Wednesday on President Barack Obama and said she would endorse him.”
However, later in the article, Keever was quoted as saying: “I have not changed my position and I am not running away from the president.” Keever portrayed the issue as more of semantic difference than a change in position, explaining that in her mind the words “endorse” and “support” are the same. But she’s also quoted as saying that she regrets not using the word “endorse” in the original statement. “I had no idea how strongly the people feel about the word ‘endorse,’” she said.
McHenry was an early supporter of Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary.
The 10th Congressional District encompasses one of the most conservative areas of the state and was redrawn last year by Republican leaders in Raleigh to include most of Asheville.
Meanwhile, in the even more conservative 11th District, which includes sections of Buncombe County, Democratic candidate Hayden Rogers hasn’t offered any public comments refuting AC-T reports that he is declining to endorse Obama.
Patsy Keever’s statements on Facebook:
On her “Patsy Keever for Congress” page:
The headline and the article in today’s Asheville Citizen-Times misconstrued my support for President Obama. As the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th Congressional District, of course I endorse the President. My primary task in this election, however, is to find common ground among the citizens of the 10th District, and that is where I will put my focus.
On her personal page:
Please read the article, not just the headlines …
For those of you who are concerned about my support for President Obama, have you seen my car or office? I never refused to endorse him. Although the article in today’s paper was misleading, it is not a fight we want to have in the press. For the record, of course I endorse our President. The word endorse seems to be causing angst. To me, support and endorse mean the same thing. There will be a guest column later. For now my focus is to find common ground throughout the 10th District to represent all of us and I need you to stay on board and help me do that!