Republican appeared in McCain ad, has Reagan poster on the wall, Palin book on coffee table; Apologized last month for interview on 'pro-white' radio show
"You've probably seen him by now, in one of numerous TV interviews or walking with Sen. John McCain along the U.S.-Mexico border fence in the senator's latest television ad," Tim Steller reported for the Arizona Daily Star in May.
He's the blue-eyed, shaved-headed man in a crisp sheriff's uniform describing "off-the-charts" violence in Arizona, defending the state's new immigration-enforcement law and lamenting the federal government's inability to secure the border.
"Senator, you're one of us," he tells McCain in the political advertisement.
But who is he?
He is Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a 41-year-old from Massachusetts who has become the new face of Arizona border sheriffs in the last two months, although his county is about 90 miles from Mexico.
Babeu's border-hawk stance and penchant for self-promotion have led some to label him a less abrasive version of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But Arpaio was a law enforcement officer who turned politician, while Babeu is a politician turned sheriff.
The paper noted, "In Babeu's office, a vintage Ronald Reagan poster hangs above the desk and a copy of Sarah Palin's 'Going Rogue' lies on the coffee table. But his hero is McCain, who, like Babeu, made military experience the foundation of a political career."
On Monday morning, Sheriff Babeu made the big time. Top conservative website The Drudge Report made its top banner an interview by CNSNews: 'AZ SHERIFF: 'OUR OWN GOVENMENT HAS BECOME OUR ENEMY.'" CNSNews has had trouble loading Monday morning because of the massive traffic surge.
(Editor's note: Like Drudge and all other websites, Raw Story has made its share of spelling mistakes in banners, too.)
"Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu is hopping mad at the federal government," CNSNews Senior Staff Writer Penny Star writes.
Babeu told CNSNews.com that rather than helping law enforcement in Arizona stop the hundreds of thousands of people who come into the United States illegally over its southern border in Arizona, the federal government is targeting the state and its law enforcement personnel.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very troubling is the fact that at a time when we in law enforcement and our state need help from the federal government, instead of sending help they put up billboard-size signs warning our citizens to stay out of the desert in my county because of dangerous drug and human smuggling and weapons and bandits and all these other things and then behind that they drag us into court with the ACLU,Ã¢â‚¬Â� Babeu said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“So who has partnered with the ACLU?Ã¢â‚¬Â� Babeu said in a telephone interview with CNSNews.com. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the president and (Attorney General) Eric Holder himself. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s simply outrageous.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help,Ã¢â‚¬Â� Babeu said.
Babeu's website links to a July 28 Fox 10 interview, in which he said something similar after a judge blocked key provisions of the controversial law: "Our own government, our own federal government is our enemy here."
The sheriff's site also notes that he received a commendation during a speech to the Maricopa Republican Club in January of 2008: "The proclamation, signed by [Arizona Senate President Timothy] Bee, stated 'Arizona State Senate Proclamation presented to Major Paul Babeu in honor of his exceptional leadership in Operation Jump Start to secure borders in Arizona.'"
In mid-May, KGUN9 reported, "Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada is calling the ad that features Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu misleading. The campaign ad was filmed in Nogales, Arizona. In the ad, Babeu turns to McCain and says, 'Senator you're one of us.'"
But Estrada says Babeu is not really like one of him, a border sheriff. Babeu is from Pinal County. Estrada says the ad is also misleading because fighting illegal drugs and people smugglers is much more dangerous on the front line of the battle field than what Babeu experiences in his jurisdiction two county lines away.
At Beyond Chron, Paul Horarth blogged in a May post titled "McCain Counsels the Wrong Sheriff":
Under attack from the Teabagger wing of the GOP, Senator John McCain has a new campaign ad to prove his anti-immigrant credentials Ã¢â‚¬â€œ along with a corny website, at completethedangedfence.com. The TV ad Ã¢â‚¬â€œ shot in the border town of Nogales, Arizona Ã¢â‚¬â€œ shows McCain talking with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu about the need for tougher border security. Nogales is on the Mexican border, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in Santa Cruz County Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not Pinal County, which is 115 miles north in central Arizona. Meanwhile, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job would be to enforce the law in and around Nogales has been quite critical of ArizonaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race-baiting policies, such as the recently passed SB 1070. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Local law enforcement has a great relationship with the Hispanic community,Ã¢â‚¬Â� said Sheriff Antonio Estrada about the new law. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Something like this is really going to scare these people.Ã¢â‚¬Â� McCain strongly supports SB 1070.
Babeu was recently criticized for appearing on a "pro-white" radio station.
The Arizona Daily Star later noted, "Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu scrambled Tuesday to distance himself from a 'pro-White' radio show on which he recently appeared."
On July 10, Babeu was interviewed by James Edwards and Eddie Miller of the Tennessee-based program "The Political Cesspool."
Edwards describes the show's ideology as "paleoconservative," and he supports raising whites' fertility rates to boost their proportion of the world population.
In a statement issued late Monday night, sheriff's department spokesman Tim Gaffney apologized for the interview, saying he did not adequately vet the program and that Babeu knew nothing of the hosts' beliefs.
But host Edwards said Babeu and Gaffney were told of the show's approach.
"For him to act as though he had no idea of our ideology is a lie," he said Tuesday in a written statement.
The following McCain campaign ad with Sheriff Babeu was taken from YouTube:
The following video is from Fox 10 and aired on July 28: