John McCain/J.D. Hayworth Battle Shifts From Racist Supporters to Earmarks

As much fun as it's been to watch Senator John McCain and J.D. Hayworth duke it out over who has the most racist supporters -- William Gheen's endorsement of Hayworth takes the cake, of course -- the political grappling has shifted to a new battlefield: earmarks.

Yesterday, the McCain campaign put out a new campaign video, where it dubs Hayworth as "The Earmarker" and sheds light on some of the former congressman's support of pork projects such as a $5.8 million snowmobile trail in Vermont, $3 Million for dust control along rural roads in Arkansas, and $223 million for the infamous "Bridge To Nowhere."

We spoke with Hayworth's current media flak, David Payne, who claimed he hadn't seen the new ad but quickly issued a statement after our chat, with the tagline "McCain's millions buy misleading Washington ad."

"After 28 years in Washington, John McCain has learned Washington's tricks, raking in millions of dollars to buy typically misleading negative ads that distort the records of his opponents. Sorry, Senator, Arizonans won't be fooled," Payne says.


He goes on to say that the only reason Hayworth voted for the "Bridge to Nowhere" was because it was buried in a bill that included $833 million for border-security programs.


"Having been a Congressman for 4 years before he began his 24 years in the Senate, McCain knows full well that under House rules - unlike the Senate - individual Members lack the power to amend massive appropriations bills to eliminate individual projects, however wasteful they are," Payne claims.


McCain's campaign says Hayworth's defense of the earmarking process is ridiculous and that Arizona doesn't need a "big-spending Republican like J.D. Hayworth back in Congress.

"It is unconscionable that Congressman Hayworth would actually defend the earmarking process that has bloated our budget with pork-barrel spending and led directly to corruption, landing members of Congress in jail. Arizona Republicans need a Senator who will fight the big spenders in Washington, not join them," says McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.