McCain Launches Preemptive Strike on Hayworth

Campaign gets aggressive early against conservative challenger

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 26, 2010 11:11 AM CST

(Newser) – John McCain is pulling no punches in an offensive against primary challenger JD Hayworth, whom he hopes to shut down before Hayworth's campaign even begins. McCain has rallied his troops to file complaints with the FEC about Hayworth’s radio program, which they allege he was using to campaign in violation of federal rules. And for good measure, McCain took out an ad against Hayworth on his own station.

“I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of this,” an insider tells Politico. Hayworth has now given up his show to campaign, which a Hayworth spokesman says was motivated by radio execs’ fear of McCain’s “wrath.” McCain insiders played down the fusillade. “I guess you can call it aggressive,” one says. “I just call it not taking anything for granted.” Hayworth himself predicts a “backlash” to the onslaught, and a former McCain staffer agrees. “There was no strategy. They’re angry.”

J.D. Hayworth.
J.D. Hayworth.   (Getty Images)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., attends a press conference in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., attends a press conference in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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