Comments about ‘In our opinion: Orrin Hatch should agree to prime time, televised debate before primary election’

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Published: Thursday, May 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Smithfield, UT

Thank you KSL and Deseret News for attempting to educate Utahns concerning the current Utah Senate race. Unfortunately, our "senior" Senator is reluctant to accommodate the electorate and inform us what he plans to do differently this next term. WHY??? When someone avoids an opportunity to explain positions and talking points, I believe, he is in hiding! To me, it's like an accused person at trial taking the 5th amendment and refusing to testify. The excuse, "The Senator is too busy with Senatorial duties to participate in debates", is LAME at best! Tell me another one!

Dan Liljenquist welcomes debates. He desires Utahns to know of his vision, his plans for the future, and what he will do for Utah in the US Senate. Where or where is Senator Hatch??? Is his premise, "keep the electorate ignorant, they'll vote for me out of habit." Well, it's NOT going to work in this election! Utahns want to hear from our incumbent Senator. He wants a 7th unprecedented term in office, let's hear what he has to say,. . . to offer. You can't maintain a veil of secrecy and expect to be re-elected. Where are you, Senator???

Salt Lake City, UT

Great editorial. Congrats to the Deseret News and KSL for their fair-mindedness. Now that the senate race has advanced to a primary, voters across the state need to be given a clear view of both Republican candidates, Hatch and Liljenquist, in the form of televised debates, so they can make an informed decision. Otherwise many voters may depend only on sound bites and slick mailers, and that's a lousy way to choose an important public servant.

Sen. Hatch apparently doesn't want to be directly accountable to the people of Utah. When a politician behaves that way, I think it's time to vote for someone else.

J Thompson

The news that should be printed on the front page of every newspaper in Utah is that Senator Hatch refuses to debate Dan Liljenquist. Let the readers know that Senator Hatch is afraid to debate. Let the readers know that Senator Hatch considers himself inferior to Dan Liljenquist.

Any Senator who had anything to offer would jump at the chance to debate, to show his expertise, to beat his own drum.

It is obvious that Senator Hatch has nothing to offer, that he knows that he has nothing to offer and that he wants to hide the fact that he has nothing to offer.

Let him have it his way. Let the media report the truth about Senator Hatch. Make it front page headlines: "Hatch Refuses to Debate Dan Liljenquist!" When President Obama, with his busy schedule, can find time to fly anywhere in America to campaign, Senator Hatch can find one evening in early June to face the public.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Hatch's refusal to go before the people and personally make his case without his handlers prompting him is the best reason to fire him.

If he is the "only" Senator in Washington who can save Utah from all the perils that he has described, he should be willing to stand up in prime time before the people and make his case.

He knows that he has been feeding us a bunch of lies about his "worth". He has the same "worth" as any other Senator. He has not "saved" us in the 36 years that he has been our Senator. It is highly unlikely that he will save us in the next six years.

My opinion of Mr. Hatch is at an all-time low. I put him in the same group with Mr. Obama, someone who promises everything and delivers nothing.

If he refuses to attend a prime time debate, hold the debate without him. A debate is not a "command performance". It is an opportunity. If Hatch doesn't want that opportunity, then let the people see an empty podium. It would certainly be an example of his empty promises.

St George, Utah

Mike Richards is right. Hold a one-hour prime-time TV debate with or without Hatch. If he is represented by an empty chair that is his problem

L White
Springville, UT

If you want to see how busy Senator Hatch is in June, go to his web site and look at his calendar. The entire month of June is blank.

Just whom is he trying to fool? A Senator with as much clout at he claims to have could certainly find a way to add time to debate a well qualified challenger.

It's beginning to look like Senator Hatch is lying about his clout and about his schedule.

I wonder why that is?

Springville, UT

I think it is pretty clear that Hatch is about Hatch and really nothing more.

Deena King
Salt Lake City, UT

Bravo, bravo, bravo Deseret News/KSL! Fantastic editorial! I suppose a good follow-up question might be…if Hatch continues to decline, will you all sponsor a 1 hour prime-time special on the election anyway and allow concerned citizens on both sides of this election equal time to air their concerns in true grass roots fashion? After all, this is really all about us, the citizens of this state, not the candidates, isn't it?

Thanks again!

Eagle Mountain, UT

I, like the Deseret News, am extremely disappointed in the cynicism Orrin Hatch is displaying by refusing to debate. The last time Hatch had a primary, he called for 8 prime time debates all over the state. Clearly the editorial board is correct in saying Hatch has picked up some bad habits after 36 years in Washington DC. Maybe it's time to come home.

Conservative Voice

Fantastic Piece by Deseret News! I hope they decide to run it on tomorrow's front page! I would highly encourage Deseret News to air a Prime Time Debate with or without Senator Hatch and/or rerun the two previous debates on KSL Prime Time, since Hatch keeps referring to them as enough.

Again, Kudos to Deseret News for showing that 36-years in the Senate has helped Hatch form bad habits of transperancy.

This once undecided voter is now voting for Dan Liljenquist due to Hatch's refusal to debate.

Spanish Fork, UT

I appreciate very much that the DesNews is willing to go up to bat for the voters and constituents on this one. 36 years ago, an up and coming Hatch demanded that his Republican Primary opponent debate him up and down the State to prove his mettle. Fast-forward to today and Senator Hatch would rather hide behind his allegedly all-important seniority. Appearing in old you-tube videos of either of the two debates that Hatch did feel compelled to attend before the Convention for caucus delegates is nowhere near the same as standing before a live audience and showing his command (or lack thereof) of the current issues the same way we will need our Senator to be able to do in much more hostile environs in Washington, DC. That said, I hope Dan Liljenquist starts holding "debates" anyways and if Hatch fails to show up then it's Hatch's loss. I already know of one venue that Senator Hatch committed to in Spanish Fork ("Thursday Night Live") where he suddenly backed out upon hearing that Liljenquist was invited. I'm starting to hope Dan makes lemonade out of these lemons.

Gordon Jones
Draper, Utah

Hatch cannot hide behind the fiction that he has already debated Liljenquist twice. They have never debated. Hatch and Liljenquist appeared in candidate forums with all 12 of the pre-convention Republican candidates.

That is not a "debate" in any sense of the word!

Hatch insisted on debating Jack Carlson repeatedly in 1976. Carlson was the front-runner, and Hatch's debate performances earned him a primary election victory.

Hatch insisted in debating Frank Moss repeatedly in 1976. As the incumbent, Moss was ahead, but Hatch's performance in the debates earned him a victory.

Apparently he is afraid that the same thing will happen if he agrees to debate Dan Liljenquist now.

It might, but Hatch's attitude reveals his cynicism, his sense of entitlement to the Senate seat, and his disdain for the voters.

There are institutes of politics at every college in the state that would be glad to host these debates. Hinckley Institute at the U; Romney Institute at BYU; Sutherland Institute; county Republican committees. They should schedule debates and issue the invitations. If the candidates don't show up, that will be revealing.

No more hiding, Mr. Hatch!


conservative scientist
Lindon, UT

I love the above comments. This is one voter who will vote for Liljenquist if Hatch continues to avoid the debates. I am certainly open to vote for Hatch but we need debates.

Jazz Bass Man
Wellsville, Utah

Orrin Hatch apparently can and will not do any debate other than the KSL radio debate that is being moderated by the liberal Doug Wright. I guess that says everything about Hatch's "conservative" credentials, doesn't it? I think it's obvious that it's time to send Hatch, who panders more to illegals than to his Utah constituents (remember his dream act, and his attempts with Ted Kennedy to give amnesty to illegals?)

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Orrin, Dan, what's the difference? They're both self-promoters, that's all. What will they debate about? They agree 100 percent on everything. If you want courage and new ideas, vote Scott Howell in November.

Farmington, UT

Bravo, Deseret News and KSL!!

And to Senator Orrin Hatch and his campaign: Bad Form! You had better hope your gamble in thumbing your nose at Utah's voters while you hide out in Washington, D.C. pays off. Beware that it may blow up in your face!

Senator Hatch's refusal reveals an arrogance and disregard for his constituents that, unfortunately, is consistent with my many interactions with him on serious issues over the years. I correspond with out congressional delegation on a regular basis, and have been astonished at Senator Hatch's often patronizing attitude re my concerns. At least two concerns I expressed about impending situations where his response was a "now, now--let's not worry about that" materialized just as I had feared. In a couple of other situations I either received no response or one delayed by a couple of months. In contrast, Congressman Rob Bishop has twice called me the same day as my email (and no, he doesn't know me personally) and taken the time to pick my brain.

My personal opinion: this man is long overdue for retirement!

Murray, Utah

Uh....what exactly do I as a voter get from watching a televised debate?

Am I supposed to base my vote on sound bite TV and which candidate captures the better Kelly Clarkson "moment." Not exactly defending Orrin Hatch here and nothing against Dan Liljenquist or to leave out Scott Howell, but I'll do my own, hopefully more in-depth research, thanks.

one old man
Ogden, UT

How about a series of three-way debates? Hatch, Liljenquist AND Howell?

Or are Republicans as afraid of something like that as Hatch if of debating at all?

Still Blue after all these years
Kaysville, UT

in 36 years, Hatch has never once voted to not increase the debt ceiling limit. When Hatch was elected in '76, the national debt was less than $1 trillion; now its $16 trillion. Hatch has never cared about Utah and its people, he cares only about himself. He is an OLD man with a monster ego. He is also a coward for refusing a short one hour debate. He thinks we will all vote for him because he is the incumbent. Wrong!!! Vote for Dan.


Thank you thank you, thank you for this wonderful editorial. I hope Utahns will wake up to Hatch's voting record. The only way Utah can know Hatch is for a debate to take place. He knows he will lose if he does debate.Please have the debate anyway so that people can get to know Dan since he doesn't have the money Hatch does to get his message out and get the name recognition he deserves. If Hatch wasn't afraid of him you can bet he'd be having the debates. After telling Utah no debates I don't know how anyone could ever vote for him.

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