Text of debate between Sen. Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist on KSL's Doug Wright Show

Published: Saturday, June 16 2012 10:49 a.m. MDT

Dan Liljenquist: Well, let me just say, Doug, it is offensive to the men and women at Hill Air Force Base to suggest all over the state with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that one man stands between Hill Air Force Base and oblivion. Hill Air Force Base is the most effective and efficient air force base in the country, and has the support of our entire state, our entire delegation, and to suggest that one man, Orrin Hatch, stands between Hill and oblivion is ridiculous. We look back at 1976. In that race, Frank Moss argued over and over, "You lose me, you lose Hill Air Force Base." It is the politics of fear, and is not right. And I want to ask the senator, if Hill Air Force Base was so important, and we know funding is the problem with Hill, then how can you justify expanding entitlements by trillions of dollars? How can you justify bridges to nowhere, and billions and billions in earmark spending that didn't get — that went to wasteful projects? How can you justify blowing through the Social Security and Medicare trust funds that now, we have to pay for? There is no way to balance the budget on the back of the military, and I find it disingenuous to say, oh, now that we have broken ourselves financially, that the one person who led us into this thing, and was part and parcel, and presided in many way over this run up in debt, can say he's in favor of defending Hill.

Orrin Hatch: Well, I'll just say what Jim Hansen said, who was there with me along with Jake Garn, they both have said, "We need Orrin." Because anybody that doubts for a minute that some of these larger states would not throw Utah under the bus to get the work that Hill is doing just doesn't know what's going on. Now, at the state convention, Dan brought up that Mike Crapo would be just as good as Orrin Hatch for Hill. Yeah? They've got (Mountain) Home Air Force Base up there. It's a competitive base. And all I can say is we're gonna need a Utah senator and everybody in the delegation working on it. To my dying day, I will be very happy that Jake Garn had 15 years experience, I had 13 years of experience, and Congressman Hansen had, I think it was 9 years of experience when this first came up, and when the system started. If we hadn't had that experience, I gotta tell you, Clinton wanted to move Hill down to California, and McClellan, they couldn't even carry our shoes. And when we beat them there, he wanted to move it to San Antonio, they couldn't carry our shoes. Why? Because they were both presidential states. Anybody who thinks that we don't have to fight for Hill and we don't need a lot of experience to do it just doesn't know what they're talking about, and Dan, you don't know what you're talking about.

Doug Wright: 30-seconds.

Dan Liljenquist: Senator, you don't give yourself enough credit. It was in 1977 that Jimmy Carter tried to move Hill Air Force Base and two young senators in Utah stood up, and you were part of that.

Orrin Hatch: He didn't try that.

Dan Liljenquist: You actually helped push that into the BRAC Commission. Look, Doug, this is the politics of fear. No one senator is too big to fail.

Orrin Hatch: Well, I gotta answer one more thing.

Doug Wright: All right, then we'll go back.

Orrin Hatch: Speedy Martin, who headed the — General Martin, who headed the Air Logistics command in Dayton, who we work with all the time, said Orrin Hatch is crucial to it. Jake Garn says Orrin Hatch is crucial. And I don't think it's all me, I think the delegation has to fight too, but experience does count. I got the highest award from the Air Force for the work that I've done for the Air Force. The highest civilian award that they give out, that they only give out to the top people in this country. And I've gotta say, anybody who thinks that Hill has no trouble — just in the last six months, we've had to solve all kinds of problems at Hill. I'm telling you, they tried to take away a number of things from Hill that we stopped. It's a daily, continuous thing and anybody that doesn't know that really shouldn't be representing our state.

Doug Wright: Dan, in fairness, your response?

Dan Liljenquist: Absolutely, I know that. I live in Davis County, Senator.

Orrin Hatch: Well, apparently, you don't.

Dan Liljenquist: No, what I take issue with is that you were saying you were the only person who could do it.

Orrin Hatch: No, I wasn't. I said that Rob Bishop and I worked very closely together and that's where (unintelligible because Dan interrupts).

Dan Liljenquist: That's the first time you've mentioned Rob Bishop here.

Orrin Hatch: No, no, I've mentioned it every time I've talked about this. Look, I'm getting a little aggravated because I think some of these arguments are just so foolish —

Dan Liljenquist: Can I finish?

Orrin Hatch: Yeah, go ahead.

Dan Liljenquist: Rob Bishop sits on the Armed Services Committee. He sits there. The Senate Finance Committee does not address military spending and you know it.

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