UPDATED: Prominent Sen. McCain Spokesman Appeared On White Supremacist Program

July 21, 2010 10:31 am ET — Melinda Warner

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has made some interesting choices lately.

Faced with the very real possibility of losing his seat to J.D. Hayworth (which is surprising given his close association with Tea Party Queen Sarah Palin), McCain has thrown in with the fiercely anti-Latino immigrant faction in his state.

In the course of making statements that contradict his career's work on immigration and blocking the attempts of Democrats in Congress to address the issues of immigration, McCain has solicited the help of various state officials to publically support his bid to keep his job.

From Playboy

One of those people is Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona.  Babeu has appeared in at least two McCain ads — the infamous "Complete the Danged Fence" piece and the more recent "Sheriffs" piece. 

A few days ago, Sheriff Paul decided it would be a good idea to appear on a known "pro-white" radio station that hopes "to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." The Sheriff plugged his fundraising website to Political Cesspool listeners and called host James Edwards a "great American." Babeu isn't alone in his admiration of Edwards; KKK leader David Duke has called Edwards his "favorite radio patriot." Edwards himself has praised Duke as "a Christian man above reproach."

To be fair, as Eric Hananoki at our sister organization, Media Matters, points out: "It's not clear whether Babeu knew about the white nationalist orientation of the program when he appeared, though the 'pro-white' message of the show is clear from visiting the program's website and a quick Google search."

No matter what the threat to his current position, McCain (or at least someone on his staff) should have either checked on Babeu's relationship — if any — with white supremacist groups or at least advised Babeu on which outlets and organizations would be a good idea to avoid.

Time will tell if this will affect McCain's numbers in Arizona, but it shows that the McCain camp is still spending more time pandering to the masses than vetting those he chooses to partner-up with.

Click here to listen to the radio interview at Media Matters for America.

Update 1: Babeu's spokesperson released the following statement: 

"I have weeded out most all requests from any outlets or groups that have any connection with possible hate groups. Unfortunately last week it appears that I may have let one such interview take place. I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been offended."

And went on to say:

"It was never divulged what [the station's] beliefs are. They never had a conversation with me and made anything clear to me at all about their white-supremacist beliefs or anything of that nature."

Update 2: The Political Cesspool says Babeu and his spokeman were fully aware of the ideology of the station:

First of all, my co-host, Eddie Miller, had multiple conversations with both Tim Gaffney (Babeu's press secretary) and the Sheriff himself before Babeu appeared on our live broadcast of July 10, 2010.

For Sheriff Babeu to change his mind and now regret coming on our show, for whatever reason, is his right. For him to act as though he had no idea of our ideology is a lie.

Eddie Miller spoke with the Sheriff personally, a week in advance of the interview, during which it was made specifically clear (so there could be no "confusion") the nature of our paleoconservative radio program (which was mentioned several times by name) and some of the attacks we've sustained from hate groups like the ADL and SPLC. That conversation was very positive and phone records can prove it took place. Our last conversation with the Sheriff's office took place last night, just hours before the issuance of this press release, and it too, was positive. Never have we been told to distance ourselves from the Sheriff, quite the opposite, in fact.