“John McCain: Nominee for Best Conservative Actor.” Hayworth ad ticks off McCain

March 5, 2010 05:55


Is Hayworth ad mocking McCain offensive?

Sen. John McCain‘s re-election campaign is decrying as insulting an online ad by GOP Senate challenger J.D. Hayworth that mocks McCain, R-Ariz., by defacing his picture with some sort of blue warpaint.

“Ads like this have no place in the Republican primary, and J.D. Hayworth should immediately take it down and apologize,” said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., a strong McCain ally.

The ad, which appeared on the widely read Internet news site the Drudge Report, apparently is a play on the science-fiction movie “Avatar,” which is up for Best Picture in Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. It shows McCain’s photo defaced with blue stripes and says, “John McCain: Nominee for Best Conservative Actor.”

“Ex-Congressman J.D. Hayworth should immediately apologize and and take down his latest online ad, which is an outrageous offense to John McCain’s lifetime of honorable service to our state and nation, and insulting to Native Americans here in Arizona and across America,” said Shiree Verdone, McCain’s campaign manager. “Mr. Hayworth is welcome to debate the challenges facing our state and nation, but this kind of character assassination has no place in the Republican Party, and Mr. Hayworth should ashamed of his campaign for running it.”

When asked for a response to Kyl’s complaint, Hayworth spokesman Jason Rose told AZ/DC: “We respectfully decline the request and would encourage Senator McCain to get a sense of humor. After all, if Sunday’s show did have an award for best election year flip-flopping and transparent conservative conversion, the incumbent would surely win the Oscar.”

Brian Rogers, McCain’s campaign spokesman, said the anti-McCain Hayworth ad is “insulting” even if it was intended as a parody of “Avatar.”

During his 2007-2010 stint as a conservative radio talk show host on Phoenix’s KFYI-AM (550), Hayworth frequently ridiculed McCain in demeaning ways.

“This started with his radio show over a year ago, in the most — how do I say this? — unpleasant fashion,” McCain last month told The Arizona Republic‘s editorial board. “Calling me the, quote, Weenie of the Week, those kinds of things. Fine. That’s his right as a talk show host, but I’m not going to let him define me.”


Rogers, McCain’s campaign communications director, says the Hayworth campaign has altered the ad to put McCain in “blueface” — which more clearly makes him look like a character out of “Avatar.”

Rogers put out this written statement on Hayworth’s refusal to spike the ad:

“The Hayworth campaign obviously understands that the ad is offensive since they’ve already changed it. Unfortunately, this proves yet again that Mr. Hayworth isn’t focused on solving the big challenges Arizona faces, but instead seems consumed by petty and insulting attacks against Senator McCain. It’s another example of just how hollow all of Mr. Hayworth’s talk about ‘respecting’ Senator McCain actually is.”


The alternative version of Hayworth’s “Avatar” ad — the one with McCain’s face colored blue — can be seen by clicking here.

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