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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Politics

Hayworth at CPAC: Not McCain’s Crowd

February 18, 2010 - 2:58 PM | by: Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Former Congressman J.D Hayworth told Foxnews.com that he feels quite at home at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and was not hesitant to add that his primary opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, doesn’t have much in common with the grassroots activists here.

“He campaigns like a conservative — but legislates like a liberal,”  charged Hayworth, who hopes to oust the Arizona “maverick” from his three-term seat.

McCain was never the first choice of the CPAC crowd in years past, particularly in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. It was at CPAC that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced he was dropping out of that race and effectively handing the conservative torch — and its support — over to McCain. McCain went on to lose the presidency to Obama in 2009 — the repercussions of which were flowing over at today’s event, where conservatives vowed to take Washington back.

“I get back to CPAC every chance I get,” declared Hayworth, who, dressed for the gym, just arrived on the red-eye from Arizona. He lost his own congressional seat in a challenge by Democrat Harry Mitchell in 2006, the beginning of the end of Republican control in Congress.

Hayworth, as if to justify his trip to DC during what is becoming a heated primary battle back home, said there are “plenty of conservative Arizona votes here,” plus, he added, his primary has “national implications for the conservative movement.”

Plus, “it’s the RIGHT thing to do.”

John McCain is not scheduled to attend the three-day CPAC event this year.

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