The former Arizona congressman turned radio host who intends to challenge Sen. John McCain in this year’s Republican primary wants the world to know that he is an unrepentant “birther.”
In an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC’s Hardball, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth repeatedly described Senator McCain as out of touch with Arizona conservatives and took pains to emphasize that he stands to the right of McCain on most issues. “While I think all of us think the world of John McCain … he’s just been in Washington too long,” Hayworth insisted. “John is, quite candidly, a moderate.”
Host Chris Matthews finally asked Hayworth bluntly, “Are you as far right as the birthers?” Are you one of those who believes that the president should have to prove that he’s a citizen of the United States, and not an illegal immigrant? Are you that far right?”
“Well, gosh,” Hayworth replied in a folksy tone. “We all had to bring our birth certificates to show we were who we said we were, and we were the age we said we were, to play football in youth sports. Shouldn’t we know exactly that anyone who wants to run for public office is a natural born citizen of the United States, and is who they say they are?”
“I’m reading your letter that says the president should go back and get his birth certificate from the governor of Hawaii,” Matthews went on. “Do you stand by this letter? Should the governor of Hawaii produce evidence that the president is one of us?
“I’m just saying the president should come forward with the information,” Hayworth answered. “Why should we depend on the governor of Hawaii?”
As early as last summer, when it was first rumored that Hayworth had plans to run for office, blogger Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times suggested that he could hardly wait for the opportunity to attack Hayworth, not only over his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff but for his more recent statements on his radio show. “If the Dems are smart (which they tend not to be in this state), they’ll be on it like cheap cologne on a Hollywood hustler,” Lemons wrote scornfully. “J.D. crudely panders to the prejudices and general insanity of his audience. … And then there’s encouraging wack-job conspiracy theories, like those of the ‘birthers.'”
In an earlier column, Lemons had described the July 15 appearance of birther attorney Orly Taitz on Heyworth’s program, writing, “The doofus, hick lip-flapper enthused about how he’d scored an interview with Taitz, and generally treated the Zsa Zsa Gabor-wannabe as if she were doing the Lord’s work. Hayworth called Taitz a ‘legal crusader,’ even though her crusade has been more twisted than a pack of Red Vines. Taitz went on to accuse President Obama of ‘namely committing fraud,’ with no rebuttal of any kind from J.D.”
This video is from MSNBC’s Hardball, uploaded Jan. 26, 2010.