John McCain has faced a lot of challenges over the years but Tuesday night he may have defeated his most fierce opponent and it wasn't J.D. Hayworth.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert pointed out Wednesday that the senior senator from Arizona was his own worst enemy in this year's Republican primary. McCain won a hard-fought primary election against a J.D. Hayworth, a more conservative challenger supported by Tea Party groups.
Following McCain's win, The Hill noted:
During an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said McCain was on the "Say-Anything-to-Get-Elected-Express."
McCain bristled visibly during the primary campaign, as reporters peppered him about his apparent change of positions on immigration reform and climate change.
McCain has repeatedly said he has not changed his positions, attributing that notion to "the Eastern press." A McCain spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, did not respond to a comment for this article.
McCain never underestimated Hayworth, moving quickly to define him and attacking his record in Congress. If McCain hadn't moved right, McCain supporters say, he would have risked an embarrassing end to his political career less than two years after his loss to Obama.
"No incumbent out there last night suffered a more decisive defeat than Senator John McCain," Colbert announced. "Who last evening was rejected by voters for his anti-tax cut, anti-border fence views."
"Instead they voted for a candidate who took the exact opposite position of John McCain, dark horse candidate John McCain," said Colbert.
"John McCain really tapped into the anti-McCain sentiment," he reported.
"So Senator McCain, our heartest congratulations and condolences on your victorious defeat," Colbert joked.