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J.D. Hayworth: McCain Birther Spot Reflects "Desperation"

John McCain's campaign released a web ad Wednesday linking right-wing talk show host J.D. Hayworth, McCain's opponent in the Arizona Senate Republican primary, to the birther movement.

"These are serious economic times. Yet some are consumed by conspiracies," the spot suggests as it opens. It then cuts to comments by a pair of so-called "birthers," Orly Taitz and Phil Berg. (Birthers are those who believe that President Obama was not born in the United States, despite copious evidence to the contrary.)

Next comes Hayworth. "All I'm saying is, for every race across the country, especially with identity theft in the news, it would be great that people can confirm who they say they are," he says.

Hayworth is then heard saying on his radio show last year, "sad fact is, questions continue. And until President Obama signs his name and in fact has the records revealed, the questions will remain."

As a picture of Hayworth fills the screen, an announcer then says, "The only difference between these people? Only one is running for the U.S. Senate."

Late Wednesday afternoon, Hayworth's spokesman told Politico that the spot, "Identity," reflected McCain's "desperation."

"I love the smell of 24-year incumbent desperation in the afternoon," said Jason Rose. "He hears those conservative footsteps a comin' and knows his political fate, like Gov. Crist, is a matter of time. And he knows full well it was J.D.'s job as a talk-show host to provoke discussion. Questions were raised on the air. They have been answered."

Hayworth, a longtime McCain critic and former Arizona congressman, is seeking to capitalize on the country's anti-incumbent mood, as well as the frustrations of conservative voters who have dubbed McCain a "Republican in Name Only."

Seemingly in response to the challenge, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee has moved right on issues like immigration, the bailout bill, closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Hayworth trailed McCain by more than 20 points in a January poll. But McCain aides are taking the talk show host seriously, having seen Tea Party darling Marco Rubio close a major gap against another alleged "RINO," Charlie Crist, in the Florida GOP Senate primary.