Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), who is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary, has now publicly apologized for his appearance in a 2007 infomercial for a company’s questionable seminars promoting “free money” in government grants.
“I should not have made the ad. It was a mistake. I believed, as did former Congressman J.C.Watts, this to be a reputable firm, but I did not completely check out the organization,” Hayworth said in a statement released late Thursday. He also added: “I hope voters will look past a video presentation made three years ago and instead look at the issues confronting us in 2010.”
Hayworth had initially stood by his involvement in the infomercial, despite reports of complaints about the company and the fact that they had paid legal settlements. On Monday, Hayworth had said: “I always say about any product or service, one of the staples I learned growing up is caveat emptor, ‘buyer beware.’ I think that is a given in any commercial endeavor - I would certainly hope in this one. But yeah, I’m a broadcaster, and yeah, I appeared in this, and yes, it was a job. And that’s that.”
The McCain campaign responded to Hayworth’s backtracking in their own statement: “This is a far cry from just four days ago, when Congressman Hayworth blamed the victims of this scam, coldly stating, ‘buyer beware.’ We couldn’t agree more. When it comes to J.D. Hayworth, voters beware.”
Here is our highlight reel from the infomercial, produced by Rachel Slajda:
Hayworth was subjected to fierce criticism and ridicule over his involvement with the ad. Glenn Beck declared on Wednesday that “J.D. Hayworth’s campaign is over.” Beck’s point went beyond the company’s own bad reputation, and over to the the idea that Hayworth was performing a very un-conservative, un-Tea Party act of encouraging people to ask the government for money. The McCain campaign also ran an attack ad against Hayworth, calling him a “huckster.”
The TPM Poll Average gives McCain a lead in the Republican primary of 52.1%-30.7%. The primary will be held on August 24.
Here is the full statement from Hayworth:
“I should not have made the ad. It was a mistake.
“I believed, as did former Congressman J.C.Watts, this to be a reputable firm, but I did not completely check out the organization.
“As a former broadcaster, I would often make ads for clients, but I regret my association with this firm. In fact, I demanded that they immediately cease and desist all use of my name and image when it was brought to my attention that they were violating the conditions of our original agreement.
“I hope voters will look past a video presentation made three years ago and instead look at the issues confronting us in 2010.
“For 28 long years, John McCain has been in Washington pursuing his own political glory at the expense of Arizona. He has violated the public trust by relying on misleading paid political ads, consorting with criminals, trying to impose amnesty, lying about his record and flip-flopping on every important issue. He has not been held accountable until now. And he does not like it, so he is willing to say or do anything for his own personal gain.”
In response, the McCain campaign released this statement:
“The same day that National Grants Conferences was widely reported to be a scam and a fraud, Congressman Hayworth said his appearance in the infomercial was ‘nothing I’m ashamed of,’ and his spokesman told National Review that Hayworth had ‘no regrets’ about hawking ‘free government money’ for a shady company. Now, after four days of withering criticism, Congressman Hayworth has made a political calculation and claims he’s suddenly sorry. But it’s too little, too late — especially for the people who this company ripped off with Congressman Hayworth’s help.”
“The fact that Congressman Hayworth would hawk ‘hundreds of billions’ in ‘free money’ in a late-night infomercial reveals a disturbing lack of judgment and principle, and his purely political response to a serious situation isn’t fooling anyone. This is a far cry from just four days ago, when Congressman Hayworth blamed the victims of this scam, coldly stating, ‘buyer beware.’ We couldn’t agree more. When it comes to J.D. Hayworth, voters beware.” — McCain 2010 Communications Director Brian Rogers