PHOENIX -- Political strategist Dennis Welch of the Arizona Guardian says there wasn't a "clear winner" in Friday night's GOP debate, "but if I had to pick one, it’d probably be McCain" Welch said, noting that the other candidates needed a "big moment" to overcome McCain's lead in recent polls.
Incumbent Sen. John McCain, former U.S. Rep. JD Hayworth, and political newcomer Jim Deakin are vying for the GOP nomination in the 2010 race for U.S. Senate. All three candidates came out swinging in the first of two televised debates before Arizona's August 24 Republican primary.
McCain began by saying, "JD Hayworth was a lobbyist. He was in late-night infomercials. He said he didn't do due diligence. My God man, didn't you know that this was a group that was taking people's money to say it could give them free money...No one can say they're a conservative when they engage in that kind of activity."
Hayworth countered with "John claims he's a Ronald Reagan Republican, and right out of the gate he's violating the 11th Commandment," a concept that stems from Barry Goldwater's loss in the 1964 presidential race after repeated attacks by members of his own party during the primary race. This commandment reads: ""Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Hayworth later followed with, "It's really sad to see John McCain, who should be revered as a statesman, basically reduced to a political shape-shifter."
Deakin, who is a Navy Veteran and local businessman criticized both Hayworth and McCain calling them "career politicians."