Conservative challenger daubs John McCain “Avatar” blue in primary attack ad
An attack ad this week daubing Arizona Senator John McCain with blue face-paint like a cobalt-toned creature from the sci-fi blockbuster film “Avatar” triggered a row in the desert state’s increasingly heated Republican primary race.
Fiery conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth launched the ad this week attacking McCain as a fake conservative, with a tag line that reads “John McCain, nominee for Best Conservative Actor.”
The ad, showing a slightly uneasy looking McCain tinted blue, channels the 3-D epic “Avatar” about the battle for survival of a turquoise-hued alien species, which is up for a Best Picture Oscar at this weekend’s Academy Awards. In the political spectrum, blue represents the Democratic Party.
Last month, combative talk show host and former congressman Hayworth launched a challenge to McCain, appealing to the party’s right-wing base in Arizona, a state McCain has represented in the Senate since 1986.
Hayworth is assailing McCain’s long record of working with Democrats who control an increasingly partisan Congress, in what analysts have predicted will be a bitter, hard-fought campaign that lays bare ideological fault lines at the heart of the Republican Party.
McCain’s campaign on Thursday asked Hayworth to take down or apologize for the “insulting online ad,” although Hayworth subsequently posted a second version that only added more blue tint to McCain’s face, further stoking the row.
“The Hayworth campaign obviously understands that the ad is offensive since they’ve already changed it,” Brian Rogers, McCain’s campaign communications director, said in a statement.
“Unfortunately this proves yet again that Mr. Hayworth isn’t focused on solving the big challenges Arizona faces, but instead seems consumed by petty and insulting attacks against Senator McCain,” he added.
To shore up his vulnerable right flank in the race, McCain has lined up prominent conservatives to campaign for him. On Friday, Scott Brown, the recently elected senator from Massachusetts, was due to campaign with him at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
The annual Academy Awards are being held in Los Angeles on Sunday. The edgy Arizona Republican primary runs through August 24.