February 18th, 2010
04:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Hayworth, away from the cameras, takes on McCain at CPAC

Former Arizona Rep. Hayworth is challenging Sen. John McCain from the right.
Former Arizona Rep. Hayworth is challenging Sen. John McCain from the right.

Washington (CNN) - Unlike fellow Republican Senate hopeful Marco Rubio, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth did not get top billing at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Far from it.

But Hayworth, who is mounting a GOP primary challenge to Sen. John McCain in Arizona, did appear down the hall from the main ballroom on a small panel discussion about free speech - and spent his allotted five minutes thrashing his opponent.

"You wonder why John McCain is facing this challenge?," Hayworth told the small audience of conservative activists in the room. "It's because after 28 years in Washington, he may claim conservatism, but sadly those underpinnings have deserted him."

Given the title of the panel - "They Want Us To Shut Up: Saving Freedom and the First Amendment" - Hayworth drilled down on McCain's long crusade to reform campaign finance laws, a fight many conservatives believe is an assault on free speech.

But Hayworth said McCain has undergone a "campaign year conversion to conservatism," because he remained relatively silent after the Supreme Court overturned decades of campaign finance regulations earlier this year.

Hayworth then likened McCain to the left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters and liberal billionaire George Soros before taking his seat on the panel dais.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen was present in the room for Hayworth's remarks.

Pullen, who is officially neutral in his role as chairman, called the primary "a real competitive race." He said Hayworth "has a lot of support," but added he "has a lot of ground to make up" against McCain, who has been campaigning for re-election since he fell short in the 2008 presidential race.

"But J.D. is a hard campaigner, so I expect this to be a very, very tough campaign," Pullen said.


Filed under: 2010 • Arizona • J.D. Hayworth • John McCain
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    These Republican men are now sounding like nagging you know what, like they've got some sugar in their pants. It's happened before, remember Craig.

    February 18, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Carole

    He should have borrowed Rubio's teleprompter that Rubio was reading from while making fun of the President.

    Bush could not even read....noone bothered to use one for him.

    February 18, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Ben in Texas

    Yeah, Hayworth, that's what we call bribery these days. Free speech. Walmart, ExxonMobil, Deutche Bank, and all the other domestic and foreign corporations? We refer to them as "persons" so that they can buy our politicians legally, right out in the open, and not under the table like they've had to do all along.

    And guys like you? Well, sir, you must be a super patriot, since you defend the right of some Saudi prince to bribe, er, freely $peak to, my senator.

    February 18, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Crazy Harry

    A sad day for Arizona with this doofus running for Senate.

    February 18, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Mitt Romney for President

    I'm not a big McCain fan. He was pretty much Obama light,... until the tea party movement.

    Mitt Romney (and his perfect hair) would have been the best president for the economic situation. Unfortunately, we got Obama and his anti-economy policies.

    February 18, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Vietnam Combat Vet, Ohio

    McCain may be bad, but the big mouth fat mslob Haward is ten times worse. What a loser! Tell everyone how you lost your seat in congress!!!!

    February 18, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. They call me "tater salad"

    I feel bad for the people of Arizona, they have nobody but corrupt, lying, snake in the grass politicians to choose from........Glad I don't live there.

    February 18, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. key

    Why don't they. Conservatives remember the last administration legislative policies that tried to ruin this country

    February 18, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Cynthia - Arkansas

    These people are just too creepy! They come up with pretty sounding names for programs that screw average Americans. No different than Bush's pretty sounding programs. All they can do is try and fool people into voting for them, and a lot of people fall for their garbage. The Republican Party has NEVER helped a middle class person and NEVER will. All this Tea Bag stuff is just a bunch of old white racists that are being fueled by Washington Lobbiest and big corporation's money. Why do you think the Republican are trying to hard to reign them back in. They started this in the first place, not expecting them to run candidates against theirs. It's all a big game to them.

    February 18, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Bruce

    Hayworth should stick to sports announcing, he handles that so much better..........................

    February 18, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Sarah the failure Palin

    How many days out of the year are you and I paying for George Bush's phoney "War-of-Terrorism" and the false Iraq threat leading to an illegal War on behalf of Americans, that none of us signed up for and half of us did not want in the first place

    February 18, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. RTB

    Who ever the Republican Nominee will be, it does not matter. Worse or more worse will be the results.

    The good folks of Arizona deserve a Real Democrat.

    February 18, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. A keen observer

    The comments from many of these so called Tea Party Republican conservatives border on treasonous. The best thing for the United States would be the complete collapse of the Republican party. They are nothing but a bunch of idiotic crazies!

    February 18, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. mjm

    "Hayworth told the small audience of conservative activists in the room.."

    Hey CNN, how can you tell an "activist" from anyone else in the room?

    Do they have special badges or t-shirts on?

    How do you know they weren't independent voters with an open mind and wanted to hear some conservative points of view before they vote?

    February 18, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    More Republicans eating their own. And the GOP "thinks" it will win in November? As the saying goes "a house divided, can not stand."

    Grand Obstructionist Party at its "best"!

    February 18, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Elle in WA

    I lived in Arizona for 8 years and replacing McCain with Hayworth would be like going from "bad" to "worse". I think if a viable Democrat were to step up to the race we might see a red state turn blue.

    February 18, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Alex

    I still can't help but wonder if McCain would be facing all this opposition had he been elected president.

    February 18, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  18. T'SAH from Virginia

    I am a DIEHARD democrat. BUT, I am truly hoping that John McCain gets reelected over this HayWorthless big mouth far right fool – who thinks he and the other TEA-BAG far right-driven Head Strong and Dead Wrong movement people – have many followers!!!

    John McCain winning in Arizona is most likely what the Independents want and it seems as if they are running things versus the far right wingNUT manics!!!

    February 18, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. Rose

    If Haywworth keeps up that kind of campaign, he is in trouble. Why can't he talk about himself instead of slamming McCain. I wouldn't vote for Hayworth if he was the only candidate. We have long memories in Arizona. Hayworth is all talk and no action.

    February 18, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. m smith

    They can't figure out who is concidered a conservitive in their own party. How can they work with the dems if they can't work with their own. The repo idea of a campaign is to bash the next guy nothing constructive to say just bash away.

    February 18, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    We don't want them to shut up, just stop telling the lies. They can talk about the truth all they want, but they prefer to lie.

    February 18, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. dustin

    If mccain has been campaigning for re-election since he lost in 2008, did that leave him anytime to do any actual work?

    February 18, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    All I can say to J.D. Hayworth is when a corporation can draw breath like a person, then it deserves First Amendment freedom of speech protection.

    Until then, I side with the founders of our country, who wrote:

    We the People

    and not

    We the Corporations

    February 18, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. Nevada dude

    Yes! Please vote out John McCain. An extreme right wing nut job is an easier target to hit than an inconsistent former POW

    February 18, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. polly

    Mc Cain can take him.

    February 18, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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