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

Doug Wright: Senator Hatch, thank you. And former state senator, Dan Liljenquist, your two minutes.

Dan Liljenquist: Thank you, Doug. Good to be with you and think you for all the listeners for listening in. Senator, good to be with you.

Orrin Hatch: Nice to be with you.

Dan Liljenquist: I am running for the United States Senate because it's time for new leaders in Washington, D.C. Senator Hatch and his generation of politicians have presided over the biggest run up in debt in the history of mankind. They have voted repeatedly to increase the debt ceiling. They voted to expand entitlements that we couldn't afford. They voted to spend every penny of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds. They have given away billions and billions in wasteful earmarks to their own buddies and their own campaign contributors over the years and we have pushed ourselves into this crisis. I am running, Senator, because you could be chair of the Senate Finance Committee not in spite of it. In the 18 years on that Senate Finance Committee you have voted yourself to expand entitlements by trillions of dollars we couldn't spend. Look, we have got to have new leaders in Washington who are actually going to have to live through the next 40 years of this country who will do more than just talk about reforming. Now, I've launched my career in bank consulting. I spent my career in the private sector turning things around. I went to the state legislature with the intent to turn things around there. I focused on the two biggest financial issues we face in this state — in pensions and Medicaid reform — and we reformed those programs in ways that no other state in the country has done. Those reforms will save us billions of dollars over the years to come that we do not have. But it simply will not matter how well run Utah is, if we don't have people in Washington who will do what they've always said they're going to do and who will go back there and tackle these issues fearlessly and not just talk a good game when it's time for the next election. I will do that. Doug, I'm excited. This is the time. We are at a crossroads as a country and this crossroad requires new leaders.

Doug Wright: Gentlemen, I appreciate your opening (unintelligible) who asked that I ask both of you a question and we'll have the chance for both of you to respond to this. The luck of the draw has the first one going to Dan Liljenquist, and he actually quotes from your website. "It's time for bold new leadership, fiscal leadership. Our nation needs leaders who are willing to tell the American people the truth and who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. We need leaders who are willing to lay it all on the line, to take on the fundamental reforms crucial to our survival as a free and prosperous nation: welfare and entitlement reform." Here's the question: This statement is the same rhetoric and is repeated every election by every politician. There are no specifics on this. What makes a junior senator, and that's what you would be, feel like he can make any difference in six years, especially when we look at the track record of Mr. Mike Lee?

Dan Liljenquist: Well, listen. I look at my experience in the Utah legislature here. Doug, as a freshman, I took on issues that nobody had ever taken on: pensions and Medicaid. Now we talk about entitlement reform, we are literally the first state in the country to take an entitlement in Medicaid and pass legislation unanimously with my legislation last year to cap that program, to return it back to the state and that will save us $770 million in the first seven years alone and two and half billion in total funds within the first seven years. I have the record of actually doing something. Now the question is, let me turn that question back on that respondent, or person who sent that in. Do you trust somebody who's been there 36 years who hasn't done one thing to return back entitlement programs, or do you trust a young person who came in and was the first in the country to do that? Look. I have a record of doing that, of diving in. There's a whole new generation of leaders back in Washington, 49 new senators have been elected in the last seven years and ten more are returning over this year. These are the new leaders we're looking for and I'm excited to get back there with them.

Doug Wright: All right. Senator Hatch, your response.

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