An Interview With The Man Challenging John McCain: J.D. Hayworth


Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth is taking on John McCain in Arizona’s Republican primary. It’s a close race. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Hayworth is only down seven points to McCain.

What follows is the slightly edited transcript of our conversation from last Friday. Enjoy!

Now John McCain supported the bank bailouts via Tarp. Where do you stand on that issue?

I’m absolutely against that bailout. It was horrible. It was $700 billion to the big investment banks on Wall Street and I think that the head of Branch Banking and Trust was absolutely right. He looks like a prophet now. He sent that letter to John McCain and every member of Congress saying don’t support this. Because what you’re going to be doing is putting the money on Wall Street. It will not get to Main Street. He absolutely understood that and again, that bailout vote was not only the 700 billion to Wall Street, but also the 150 billion in earmarks. People understand it and that’s why the race has shifted. Because they hear John McCain claiming to be against earmarks, yet he voted for that $150 billion in earmarks to sweeten that stinky bailout. People don’t like it that’s why we’re closing the gap and within seven points.

John McCain was the biggest Republican supporter of comprehensive immigration reform although he changed to security during the presidential the campaign. He actually went back and forth. If you were elected to the Senate, where would you stand on that issue?

I would be for enforcement first and I would be against amnesty. Despite John McCain’s retreat from amnesty, people in Arizona understand (the differences between us on this issue.)

Do you agree with John McCain that Water Boarding is torture?

Let me put it this way: I have a lot of respect for what John McCain endured in North Vietnam and I have no doubt that what the North Vietnamese Communists put him through was torture, plain and simple. But what I understand is the distinction.

The enhanced interrogation techniques worked for us. We understand from published accounts that enhanced interrogation techniques prevented at least four, count them four, 9-11 type attacks. The people of America and the people of Arizona want to do whatever it takes to protect the American people. Again, that’s why the momentum is on our side and why Mr. McCain’s lead has evaporated.

Now at one point during the campaign, John McCain said “I would close Guantanamo Bay and I would move those prisoners to Fort Leavenworth.” Is that something you agree with?

No, I don’t agree with the idea of closing Gitmo and I certainly don’t agree with the notion of bringing them to Fort Leavenworth. Indeed if the need is to bring them to the United States of America, which I don’t believe in, there are abandoned listening posts on the Aleutian Islands. I’ve actually got an e-mail from a guy who owns one of those bases. He said “I’d be happy to have the terrorists freezing their buns off in the Aleutians.” Arizonans and Americans instinctively know that enemy combatants should not be better fed, better housed or better clothed than the American troops guarding them — and closing Gitmo would be a grave error.

Now John McCain opposes the cap and trade program that’s moving through the Senate. However, he’s made it clear he is a supporter, in general, of a cap and trade program for the United States. What do you think of that? Is that something you agree with?

Cap and trade ought to be named cap and tax. It caps the quality of life that the American people have and it taxes them to death. It’s absolutely wrong. Last Congress, John McCain and Joe Lieberman put forth a cap and trade bill. So he says, “I’m against cap and trade now, but I was for it last Congress.” That sounds more like John Kerry than John McCain and it’s why Arizonans are awakening and this race is tightening.

Now one of the pieces of legislation that’s most associated with John McCain is McCain-Feingold. What’s your opinion on that? Good legislation? Bad legislation?

Key elements of McCain-Feingold’s so called campaign finance reform were quite fittingly deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The people of America and the people of Arizona don’t want to see their First Amendment rights taken away. They don’t want to see special carve-outs for media companies like the New York Times, while advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association are silenced. So again, John McCain being against the First Amendment and embracing unconstitutional campaign finance reform is another reason why the voters in the Republican primary in August are going to go with me.

John McCain initially opposed the Bush tax cuts. Fo you think he was right about that?

The sad fact is that when I was a member of the Ways and Means Committee, the only such Arizonan ever honored with that important assignment in the House of Representatives, I helped to write the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. On both occasions, I was very disappointed to hear Mr. McCain say quote, “these are tax cuts for the rich,” close quotes. Again, it sounds more like John Kerry than the John McCain I used to work with. I’m very happy now that he’s had a conservative conversion, but I think the voters of Arizona remain skeptical, if not down right cynical about it. The voters of Arizona know where I stand. They know I’m a consistent conservative. That’s why the momentum is on our side and that’s why I hope Arizonans receive those that tax cuts.

Now let’s shift gears just a little bit and kill this Birther issue once and for all. It’s something that has been brought up a whole lot. You said that you had guests on your radio program who’ve discussed the issue, but it’s not something you buy into. So let’s just put it out there and settle it once and for all: Do you believe Barrack Obama was born in Hawaii?

I believe Barrack Obama was born in Hawaii. He’s been certified as the President of the United States. It’s not Mr. Obama’s eligibility that’s in question; it’s his performance in office. …I opposed Mr. Obama for his health care plan, which I believe is unconstitutional, and I believe the democrats are approaching in an unconstitutional manner. I oppose Mr. Obama because of his willingness to try and take over industries. And I stand squarely against Mr. Obama on his motion of amnesty and the inevitable tax increases that will follow given his plans for big government. That’s one thing about having J. D. Hayworth in the United States Senate that Arizonans won’t have to doubt. I will clearly and unmistakably be a consistent conservative.

Now there’s another controversy that’s been in the news recently. You made a comment about gay marriage and horses that has been, in all fairness to you, taken completely out of context. You didn’t compare gay marriage to someone marrying a horse. You said if the establishment of intimacy is grounds for a marriage, you could say the same thing about a horse. You also prefaced it by saying it was an absurd point. Two things. One do you think your comments have been taken wildly out of context and two I just want to clarify were you referring to this passage from the Massachusetts court ruling: Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity and family.

To answer your second question, “yes.” But, in a broader context John, rather than have disputes about court cases and language, let me focus on the language that I think should be adopted. It’s language I worked on with Marilyn Musgrave back when we proposed a constitutional amendment because we think it’s that important to protect the sanctity of marriage. Here’s the language that is most important. No flippancy, no tongue in cheek — here’s the simple language everyone should focus on: “Marriage in the United States shall consist of the union of one man and one woman.” That’s enough said on that. That’s what I advocate and it’s sad that it takes a constitutional amendment to basically recognize the sanctity of marriage, but that is something I support.

Last two questions here. John McCain has certainly moved to the right this year compared to where he’s been over the last few years. Do you think that’s because he expected a strong primary challenge? Put another way, do you think if John McCain won, he’d be working hard with Obama in the next Congress to get legislation passed that conservatives would hate?

Sadly, I believe that although we all, in a sense, welcome conversion experiences and we’d love to see a genuine conversion to conservatism from John McCain, I think it is a campaign year conversion. I believe, quite frankly, that Senator Lindsey Graham is Mr. McCain’s proxy and under-study.

Should John McCain prevail, which I don’t believe he will — but worst case scenario, if John McCain is able to fool enough Arizonans to return to the United States Senate, rest assured he will pull out the rhetorical sharp stick and continue to poke conservatives right in the eye. That’s why the polls are tightening. It’s why I believe I will prevail. I’m not going to let the people of Arizona down. We’re going to continue to close this gap and on August 24th we’re going to be victorious and then in November, we’re going to send a consistent conservative to the United States Senate.

J. D. — last question. The Democrats don’t have a strong candidate at the moment. So, do you think whoever wins this primary will probably be the nominee?

Well John, I just want to caution everyone the I take every election very seriously, whether it’s the republican primary or the general election in November. Still, I would not follow the illogic of some of the McCain people saying, “Oh gee, you better not nominate a real conservative because he’ll have a tough time winning the general election.” I believe Americans still want change, but they want the right kind of change and that means what you and I believe on the right. A conservative point of view — a consistently conservative point of view. The Democrats could nominate Secretary Napolitano. If she tries to return to Arizona with her ill advised abandoning of any type of border security and her terrible stewardship of the Department of Homeland Security, not to mention her multi billion dollar mess she left here fiscally….I will still take that campaign very seriously. But, I believe the important first step is to move ahead and win on August 24th with the help of conservatives from coast to coast. Then we’ll be in position to have a consistent conservative in the United States Senate following the general election in November.

J. D., I really appreciate your time. Thank you, buddy.

Not as much as I appreciate your time and that of all the folks who check out Right Wing News. The only thing I’d ask is that they visit jdforsenate.com and help us in this historic and ultimately, I believe, successful effort.

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