CPAC speaker McCullough "not that terribly disturbed" that birther promoter Hayworth challenging McCain

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

At CPAC today, speaker and radio host Kevin McCullough told the crowd that he's "not that terribly disturbed that Mr. Hayworth is getting involved in Arizona." As both Talking Points Memo and National Review Online's Kathryn Lopez noted, the crowd appears to support former congressman J.D. Hayworth's primary bid against John McCain.

After losing his 2006 re-election bid, Hayworth became a relatively obscure radio host for Arizona's KFYI, where he "crudely pander[ed] to the prejudices and general insanity of his audience. Sometimes he makes fun of Hispanics by over-approximating a Spanish accent when pronouncing Hispanic names."

But Hayworth also become a hero to some conservative activists for his flirtations with and promotions of Birtherism:

Hayworth on Hardball: Obama "should come forward" with birth certificate. During the January 26 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Hayworth responded to questions about Obama's birth certificate by stating that Obama "should come forward with the information" and asked, "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?"

Birther advocate and WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah praised Hayworth's MSNBC appearance and endorsed him, writing: "McCain never bothered to ask Obama for proof. And that's why he lost the election. J.D. Hayworth won't make that mistake ... I want to see a real Republican take it. That real Republican is J.D. Hayworth."

Promotion of birther advocate Orly Taitz. As The Washington Independent's David Weigel has noted, Hayworth was an early booster of Orly Taitz, who the Orange County Weekly described as the "queen bee of people obsessed with Barack Obama's birth certificate." From Weigel's post:

Today he interviewed Orly Taitz, the luckless attorney for Maj. Stefan Cook, and gave her plenty of airtime to misinform about her latest court defeat. Audio of the interview is here.

Cook volunteered for duty in Afghanistan, then asked for a stay until the president proved that he was an American citizen, then acted surprised when his deployment was canceled. While Lt. Com. William Speaks, a spokesman for CentCom, has debunked Taitz's conspiracy theories about the court defeat-she has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the military cancelled the deployment because it couldn't authenticate the president's citizenship-Hayworth showed no signs of skepticism whatsoever.

[...]

Hayworth sounded stunned that Cook's deployment had been cancelled, "rather than the Department of Defense taking up and saying, well, here is the eligibility of the commander." Like Sean Hannity, he opted for Taitz's version of the story over CentCom's, telling listeners that the result "certainly could be characterized as a victory for Maj. Cook and Dr. Orly Taitz." And he closed the interview by sympathetically asking Taitz if she feared "an atmosphere of intimidation" coming at her from the White House.

Hayworth further told Taitz that she has "raised so many questions" about Obama's eligibility.

Hayworth reportedly raises birth certificate issue numerous times on radio program. Phoenix New Times staff writer Stephen Lemons wrote on his blog in July 2009 that Hayworth made birther concerns an issue on his radio program "at least eight times" since October 2008.

Hayworth "refuses to flat-out disavow the birther conspiracy movement." As The Huffington Post's Sam Stein noted, during a February 15 appearance on CNN, Hayworth "refuse[d] to flat-out disavow the birther conspiracy movement and even suggests that, in the age of identify theft, questions about President Obama's citizenship are legitimate."

After criticism, Hayworth now reportedly says Obama meets legal requirements. On February 18, RedState.com's Erick Erickson cited Hayworth's CNN interview and wrote that "if Hayworth is going to pursue it, he needs to be beaten. No respectable politician can run on this issue." Erickson later wrote a post headlined, "J.D. Hayworth and the Birther Issue: A Non-Story." Erickson wrote that he spoke with Hayworth, who "said definitely that Barack Obama is the President of the United States and meets all the legal and constitutional requirements to be President. Period. End of Story."

Erickson wrote further that Hayworth "said the issue has come up on his radio show when callers called in and engaged him on the issue. He said he engaged the callers on the issue, but he thinks it is as relevant as whether Chester Arthur met the qualifications to be President." Yet the suggestion that it's callers, not Hayworth, who raised the issue doesn't explain why Hayworth invited Orly Taitz as a guest -- with "no signs of skepticism whatsoever" for roughly 18 minutes -- to "raise so many questions" about Obama's eligibility. Clearly Hayworth didn't find the birther issue a "non-story" as a radio host, much less settle the issue during recent national media appearances.

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