Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) used a Friday conference call to rebut an ad by Democratic Arizona Senate candidate Richard Carmona touting McCain’s endorsement of Carmona's nomination to surgeon general a decade ago.
McCain said he was "disgusted" by the ad, which highlights supportive statements of Carmona by McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl during a 2002 Senate confirmation hearing, and said it "has nothing to do with what [Carmona] is about."
"This is about earmarks," McCain said. "Mr. Carmona wants a return to a culture of corruption and vote-trading. He will be a rubber-stamp for Harry Reid. He supported Obamacare, the stimulus, and Dodd-Frank. I don’t want my vote canceled out."
McCain also laid into Carmona for making what he called an inappropriate joke about CNN debate moderator Candy Crowley. Carmona told a male debate moderator who groused that he knew what Crowley felt like following a highly contentious presidential debate that "you’re prettier than her."
"People don’t make jokes like Mr. Carmona make," McCain said. "What he said is very revealing, given his past history with women."
Recently Carmona’s former supervisor came forward claiming the Senate hopeful had once aggressively banged on her door late at night. She said Carmona "has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women."
Carmona was appointed surgeon general by President George W. Bush in 2002 but left office in 2006, becoming a harsh critic of the Bush administration.
McCain said he supported Carmona in 2002 because he agreed with "fellow Arizonans and the president’s decision."
Last night, McCain and Sen. Jon Kyle released a joint statement condemning the ad:
In a deeply dishonest new TV ad, Richard Carmona implies that we support his campaign for Senate. We do not. Mr. Carmona is committed to raising taxes and government spending, increasing our nation’s already out-of-control debt, and he supports President Obama’s health care law, Obamacare. Let’s be clear: Richard Carmona’s first vote in the Senate would be for Harry Reid and the Obama agenda. As his new ad makes clear, Mr. Carmona is also willing to say or do just about anything to promote the interests of Richard Carmona, not the interests of the people of Arizona. It is shameful for Richard Carmona to try to deceive the voters in this way. It shows that he has no credibility, and it says everything the voters of Arizona need to know about Richard Carmona’s fitness for office. Jeff Flake is our candidate. He is a courageous, independent Arizona conservative – and he’s honest.
The Carmona campaign did not return a request for comment.