August 24th, 2010
05:22 PM ET
12 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. Donkey Party

    I hate them both. If there's a God, the Democrats will sweep the AZ and national elections.

    August 24, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. AT

    I don't get it –

    The majority of Arizonians are for the illegal law passing but the majority of them are also for McCain who wants more immigration – even co-authoring comprehansive reform.

    It doesn't make sense.

    August 24, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. GonzoinHouston

    What a difference a decade makes. In 2000 he really was the maverick that I respected. After the South Carolina primary hatchet job, though, something changed in him. By the time he had the nomination in '08 he was whatever his handlers and the party wingnuts told him he was. Today, well, he's just another spineless politician. Damn shame.

    August 24, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  4. Sunshine

    I pray McCain loses. He is a liar, especially when it comes to illegal immigration. He wants amnesty or pathway to citizenship, says he never said he was a Maverick, but he did say it and people who vote for him because he is retired from the service have rocks for brains.

    August 24, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. DENNA

    John, seriously, you need to retire, go home and bore Cindy to Death. The fact that you drug Sarah Palin out of the dark and onto the national scene tells most of us that you are senile. Retire already. We are sick of looking at you.

    August 24, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. finian

    If the Arizona voters are stupid enough to vote McCain in for a 5th term, then they get what they deserve. The problem, is that they will drag therest of America down with them.

    August 24, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
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