Hatch, Liljenquist trade heated barbs in morning debate

Published: Friday, June 15 2012 4:50 p.m. MDT

"Frankly, no," Hatch replied. "I led the fight against the debt from day one. And I'm offended that you keep bringing it up like I'm responsible for all the things that are wrong in America. How about the things that are right, Dan. Am I responsible for those, too?"

Liljenquist was incredulous.

"That answer is absolutely remarkable," he said. "We’ve had a generation of people back there who will not take a single shred of responsibility for a single vote, even though they have voted much of the time to spend money we did not have."

Hatch complained that it has been difficult to fight federal spending because in the Senate "we’ve been in the minority the whole time I’ve been there."

"That is simply not true," Liljenquist said.

"Sure is," Hatch replied.

Liljenquist pointed out that Republicans held majorities in the Senate and House when George W. Bush was president.

The challenger also went after Hatch for saying he saves Hill Air Force Base year after year from losing jobs or being relocated, calling it the "politics of fear."

"To suggest that one man, Orrin Hatch, stands between Hill Air Force Base and oblivion is ridiculous," he said.

Hatch said Liljenquist doesn't know what he's talking about. Hill, he said, is targeted every year and he said that he and former Sen. Jake Garn and former Rep. Jim Hansen always had to fight for it. "I don't believe it's all me," he said.

The winner of the June 26 GOP primary will face Democrat Scott Howell, a former state senator, in the November general election.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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