Republican Dan Liljenquist vented his frustration last night over the fact that Senator Orrin Hatch will not debate him multiple times before the June 26th Primary. Hatch has agreed to one radio debate before then, but the former state senator held a mock debate anyway without the incumbent present.
Liljenquist was unapologetic about holding the event where he debated pre-selected video clips of Senator Hatch on policy issues. He said the incumbent’s refusal to engage in more than one debate between now and the election won’t stop him from getting his message out.
“When Senator Hatch was first running for office back in 1976 and he made it to a primary where the delegates of the state put him in a primary with Jack Carlson, he challenged jack Carlson to eight debates. They didn’t do eight debates, but they did several debates. And one of the tactics Senator Hatch used is that he would debate anyway, we’re just doing the same thing,” said Dan Liljenquist.
Liljenquist staged the mock debate for almost an hour, having his campaign staff play video clips of Hatch compromising on issues ranging from federal spending to education funding.
“Admittedly, No Child Left Behind was President George Bush’s first initiative. Most Republicans voted for it. I voted skeptically for it,” said Senator Hatch in a video clip
After each clip, Liljenquist offered a rebuttal.
“There is no role for the federal government in public education,” said Dan Liljenquist.
In a statement Hatch’s campaign called Liljenquist desperate. The incumbent appears to spending more time campaigning for Mitt Romney. He’s scheduled to appear with the Republican Presidential candidate at fund raiser in Utah Friday afternoon.