With a little over a month to go before the Arizona primary election on August 24th, John McCain finally faced off against his rival J.D. Hayworth and Tea Party candidate Jim Deakin in their first debate. As I wrote about back in March when J.D. Hayworth appeared on Rachel Maddow's show, John McCain's willingness to cover up Hayworth's involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal when he chaired the Indian Affairs Committee is coming back to bite him once again.
Once again Hayworth claimed that McCain not bringing him up during the hearing proved his innocence in the matter and he went so far as to chastise McCain for calling him corrupt in one of his campaign ads. As I asked back in March, how's that cover up working out for you now John?
Moderator: When you were in Congress you were one of the biggest financial recipients of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, then there is you acting as a pitch man, which has been brought up from a questionable firm promoting free government money. Your critics such as Senator McCain have questioned your character, in fact today the McCain campaign sent out a release calling you J.D. Huckster. How do you respond to that?
Hayworth: Well, you know it’s really sad to see John McCain who should be revered as a statesman basically reduced to a political shape-shifter. John you’ve changed positions so much in this campaign, maybe we ought to set up an extra podium for you depending on which John McCain is going to answer which question.
Now the fact is rather than dealing with insults and I invite everyone because of my limited time here to go to the website jdforsenate.com to see extended explanations of that, but let me explain, this should be about the issues, about Mr. McCain’s record, yes on amnesty, coauthoring cap and trade, yes on the bailouts and the accompanying earmark spending involved there and of course no to tax cuts that help reinvigorate our economy.
John has a record that he does not want to run on. That’s why he’s engaged in this kind of attack ad and frankly it’s really unbecoming to you John. You’re not a statesman any longer. You’re simply a political shape-shifter.
Moderator: Senator McCain.
McCain: There you go again. Just as I predicted at the beginning of this debate, facts are stubborn things. Congressman Hayworth was one of the big spenders. He told people like Jeff Flake and me who were fighting against this earmark and corruption, he called us jihadists. He sponsored earmarks. This is corruption in Washington. My friend Dr. Coburn says it’s the gateway drug to corruption and that is one of the reasons why J.D. Hayworth was voted out by his constituents, because Republicans let spending get out of control. I fought against my own President and against my own majority to eliminate pork barrel earmark spending and I’m proud of my record.
Hayworth: John if you had told the truth about Barack Obama the way you’re spreading falsehoods about me, you might be President of the United States right now. The fact is John McCain is caught in cynical attack politics in Washington D.C. and one other note John; you chaired the Indian Affairs Committee hearings into undo influence of lobbyists. Never did my name come up. Never was it uttered.
John it’s sad you’d stoop to this. Shame on you. Arizona deserves better.
As I noted back in March, for more on McCain's cover up of Hayworth's role in the Abramoff scandal go read Dennis G's excellent post at Balloon Juice The Grifter and the Coward…. McCain should be ashamed alright, but not for calling Hayworth a huckster.