August 24th, 2010
05:22 PM ET
4 years ago

Arizona primary: McCain avoids questions, Hayworth throws final punches

Phoenix (CNN) – On primary day in Arizona, Republican Senator John McCain seemed a man of few words considering his front runner status. Joined by his wife, Cindy, who was wearing a leopard print suit, McCain voted at Phoenix's Madison Camelview Elementary School shortly after 9 a.m. MST. He chatted briefly with school kids and their parents then gave 21 seconds of remarks to the gathered press before refusing to take questions.

The candidate, seeking a 5th term as a U.S. Senator from Arizona, told gathered media: "We're looking forward to a good turnout today and there's already been a lot of early voting. We're confident we're going to win but obviously it isn't over till it's over."

McCain joked about the weather, and promised to "take nothing for granted." As he started to walk away, CNN asked him to respond to his opponent's charge that he'll move to the left if re-elected. The candidate smiled and kept on walking.

Once so at ease with the media he referred to the press as "his base," McCain has been more guarded with reporters in recent years. And so he was today. When the press chased and asked again, his aide cut off questions with "Thanks guys, thanks guys." McCain and his group then hopped in an SUV and took off.

In the closing days of this race McCain's Republican opponent, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, unleashed a new attack insisting that after running to the right in the primary, McCain will seek to build his legacy by cutting deals with President Obama and the Democrats if re-elected.

In an interview with CNN Hayworth predicted, "Mr. McCain believes that his place in history is now to become the lion of the Senate. Well, you only become the lion of the Senate by lyin' to your constituents in Arizona."

Hayworth said that if re-elected Senator McCain "will rush back to DC and lurch so far to the left" that he'll "rush into the arms of the open border crowd" and "become what the Washington elite want to see of a Republican in the Senate: a doormat, a facilitator, someone who constantly offers excuses for the left to legislate with reckless abandon."

The race was personal and bitter, with McCain accusing Hayworth of being a "huckster" and Hayworth calling McCain a "shape-shifter" and accusing McCain of distorting his record. Asked if he wants an apology for those alleged "dishonest" attacks, Hayworth told CNN: "Oh, no, I'm not deserving of an apology. I think the people of Arizona deserve an apology because Mr. McCain knows better."

McCain's campaign spokesman, Brian Rogers, responded to those comments telling CNN: "Congressman Hayworth is going to lose this race. It's just sad that he's going down with such little dignity." Polls show McCain, once nearly tied with Hayworth, heading into this primary with a healthy double digit lead. He will be speaking to a primary night crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center. Maybe he'll answer questions then.


Filed under: 2010 • Arizona • John McCain • Senate Primaries
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. barry

    Punch away Mr. Hayworth you go bye bye today.

    August 24, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. David Scott

    John McCain has blown his so called political capital on SARAH PALIN...
    He deserves to suffer now for all his past lies and deceits.
    Anyone will be a better candidate than lying, flip flopping little
    john McCain.
    He was once a VERY FINE PERSON, Now he is a low life political junkie whose future should be to just FADE AWAY.

    August 24, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCain has done nothing for Arizona and Hayworth can't be trusted. Lived in Arizona for many years but they suck in their political choices.

    August 24, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. NC Ex-Pub

    Well, I see he drug Mrs McCain out of seclusion.

    August 24, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Alan

    The bad news, McCain will win.
    The good news, Hayworth will lose.
    I'll gladly put up with 6 more years of McCain if it means never having to hear another word from Hayworth.

    August 24, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Clwyd

    They are both losers!

    August 24, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Shirley in California

    As this is who "some" wanted as first lady? Classless both of them not to mention pathetic.

    August 24, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. sandy

    John McCain will be who he needs to be on any given day. Today he may win, but tomorrow you don't know which McCain you will get. Arizona better think this one over really good.

    August 24, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Alex

    If McCain had stayed true to himself – which would of included NOT choosing Palin just because he thought it might have attraced women who wanted Hilary – we might see a different politician.

    And by the way, why is Hayworth so hateful? I don't see him cooperating with anyone in D.C. He is so divisive and angry, it would be a waste of a senate seat.

    August 24, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    It's a toss up for the worst of two evils. Neither man should be allowed near Congress. hayworth because he's a right wing bimble thumping nutso and mcnasty because he is no longer a maverick and he gave us that horrible woman from AK for us to endure until her 15 minutes of fame are finally up.
    BTW – Goggle (hate to write her name) sarah pain at the airport. The dude is a real bully and she is still an idiot!

    August 24, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. LeftCoastMike

    So I guess the question is, based on the very few comments here, do the people of Arizona actually give a damn about their elected representative's conduct, or are they realizing the choices are horrible, throwing up their hands, and longing for another intoxicated day of retirement at the pool?

    August 24, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. steven harnack

    Compared to Hay-worthless, everyone in America has taken a turn to the left!

    August 24, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    Geezer and Gidget 2012 V2.0!

    August 24, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. AZDem

    Gawd, what choices. It would be nice if McCain lost, if his opponent weren't a NUTBAR faaaaaar-right sleaze.

    August 24, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. E. Coli-Tainted Palin Word Salad Consumed By Media

    Of course, he avoids questions because he STILL doesn'y have any answers. Clueless, completely clueless I tell ya.

    August 24, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Bill from SoCal

    I'm not a big fan of McCain, but this Hayworth clown is an obnoxious imbecile that seems only to cater to the very far (out there) right. McCain may be too much of a conservative for my personal taste, but at least he's a reasonable and rational man. The same can't be said of his primary opponent.

    August 24, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Ted

    Did the idiot ex governor of Alaska throw her support behind McCain?

    August 24, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    So this is "the year of anti-incumbant"????
    HA!!
    Over 300 incumbents won primary or uncontested. Only seven losses and all were clearly at risk.
    So a percenatge of less than .02% of incumbents lossing means the media hype is worse than a joke.

    August 24, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Terry

    Can't help but feel sorry for the voters in Arizona. What a terrible choice to be faced with. Better to vote for a crazy old man or a crazy middle aged man??

    August 24, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Rush Goebbels

    John doesnt want to stay home with his wife.I hope the clown that used my name today had fun.People know I would never support a republican,let alone some on the left.I had someone really mad,and It made my day,hahaha

    August 24, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Tea Party hangover

    I hope McCain loses

    August 24, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Both Hayworth and McCain make me sick. Hopefully, the good people of Arizona will vote for a Democrat!

    August 24, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. JD

    These two pathological liars deserve each other. They are bookends that glued together make a single Republican.

    August 24, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. stevegee

    It's time for McCain to retire. While he says he's Republican, he's just a career politician who can't give up the Washington lifestyle. A vote for Hayworth is a vote for new conservative ideas, new ways to strengthen our republic, new resistance to the Socialist agenda that Obama and the Democrats have been shoving down our throats!

    Wake up people! In November, vote American, vote Republican.

    August 24, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Old Artillery Man

    Does McCain have a position he has not flip-flopped on?

    August 24, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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