Butte, Montana Debate Live Blog

Terrible, terrible sound quality.

Tester opens with a great opening. Referring to Senator Burns’ penchant for claiming that he is necessary for the economy of Montana to work, Tester says that Butte is too independent, too proud to depend on any politician for its fate. Brilliant opening.

Opening Question: Why Throw Out Senator Burns, Given His Seniority?

Tester: too quiet, as he always starts. Always. Answers about integrity, and repeated references to Mansfield, Murray.

Burns: Burns continues his bizarrre penchant for answering every question about his actions with the royal “we”. “We did this, We did that”. Does he mean Jack Abramoff? Very confusing. Burns actually says Montanans “ride first class” –other than his wife, of course.

Second Question: Mike Mansfield’s reputation was paramount…Mansfield said he wouldn’t meet with any lobbyist…can you explain your position about Abramoff, Marianas, Saginaw?  Why did you take money from Abramoff? (Great, great question!)

Burns: Ducks, dodge, and evade. Says “he knows negative campaigns.” Diverts attention by talking about how these issues have nothing to do with his pork barrelling. Never answers the question. At all.

Tester: Answers with specifics on Marianasas and Saginaw…but very passively, very quietly. This question (and Burns answer) was a huge opportunity…and Tester’s answer was right, but ineffective. 

Burns Rebuttal claims it’s all untruth, all innuendo.

Third Question: Mumbling, idiocy…finally spits out “How can you ensure American safety, given that you don’t support the Patriot Act?”

Tester: War on Terror needs to be fought around the world, need human intel, no connection between Patriot Act and American security. No plan, and no end in sight in Iraq.

Burns: The Patriot Act gave the tools to our law enforcement…”the same tools they already have for organized crime and drug kingpins.” Jesus, what an idiot. Claims Tester wants to go soft on terrorism. Burns thinks that Patriot Act will keep us from fear at football games. “Cannot afford another 9/11”. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR.

Tester: Tough Rebuttal:wants to repeal the Patriot Act…this country was based on freedom. This is the Tester we need to hear more from. Tough, direct, honest…excellent. “If we give up our freedoms, the terrorists will have won.” Excellent.

Fourth Question, to Burns: How will you vote for Montana’s minimum wage initiative?

Burns: I will vote for it, if there are things to protect small business. Drr…maybe he should know what the initiative does. On to the Bush tax cuts now….duck, dodge, and evade. “Family of four will have a 58% increase in taxes if Bush tax cuts are not made permanent.” Drr… Not even close to answering the question.

Tester: “I would support the minimum wage increase.” Bulk of the tax cuts Burns talks about goes to the rich. Instead of cutting tax credits for college kids…no tax breaks to Paris Hilton in the process.” Goes after the debt.

Burns: “He’s never met a tax bill he didn’t vote for.” Butte’s economy is moving, 3.3% unemployment…got to grow the economy and limit your spending. How can Burns keep talking about limited spending?

Fifth Question, to Tester: Track Record of taxes; why should Montana trust you do bring fiscal responsibility?

Tester: Good spending and taxes: health care, teacher salaries, etc. Did not raise property taxes. Refers to record of the Democratic Senate and Governor–balance budget, lowered taxes on 13,000 businesses. Burns is spending more than economy is bringing in…debt has doubled in five years.

Burns: Tester raised taxes on 16,000 businesses. Increased state budget $1 billion in one session. Burns is officially now insane. After condemning Tester for spending and taxes, he now brags about increasing education and veterans funding! Burns is so disconnected from reality.(The moderators screw up the time again.)

Tester: nails him in the rebuttal, on increasing federal debt. Special education not funded, Burns voted for underfunding No Child Left Behind, not enough services for veterans. Burns brags about spending, then cuts it. Excellent.

(The moderators now screw up the time again.)

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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