Orrin Hatch continues to rebuff Dan Liljenquist's calls for TV debate


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  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    May 21, 2012 6:30 a.m.

    Senator Hatch is being torn at by the far right of this party and it's unfair! He is a good man who is willing to compromise and reach across the aisle to work with Democrats and create compromise! I remember a picture of he and Teddy Kennedy both holding babies in a moment of bipartisan support for mothers. We need a candidate who respects his president and his political opponents. Vote Orrin!

  • Honest Abe Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2012 10:08 p.m.

    If you cannot face your constituents and explain why you are a better choice than your challenger, then perhaps it is time to step down.

    Voters can be just as adamant, too.

    Honesty requires it!

  • scojos Draper, UT
    May 19, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    It is obvious why Hatch doesn't want a TV debate. He's liable to sputter and spit all over the mike. If Liljenquist wants a debate so much why doesn't he offer to debate the Democratic mnominee, Scott Howell. Liljenquist would reject that debate on the same grounds that Hatch is refusing to debate Liljenquist. Phonies every one of them.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    Some are saying that there have already been two debates, so why do we need another. But those two debates happened before the convention and were in front of the DELEGATES, so most Utah voters didn't have an opportunity to view them. Also, those debates occurred when there were more than two candidates. Now there are only two, and that makes it a very different situation.

    Some are also saying that debates aren't needed, because we already know the candidates' positions. But what we learn about the candidates' positions is mostly what the candidates WANT us to hear, from sound bites and slick mailers, unchallenged. Through live debates, on the other hand, with the back-and-forth interaction, challenges, and rebuttals, we end up with something a lot closer to the truth.

    We also get a glimpse of how the candidates might perform in tense, stressful situations, something that will happen a lot to elected officials. Debates help the voters cast a better informed ballot, to the benefit of our country. But apparently Sen. Hatch doesn't want the voters to be informed - he just wants to retain power.

  • Veritas Bountiful, Utah
    May 17, 2012 11:16 p.m.

    In 1976, when then new-comer Orrin Hatch ranted, raved and demanded that Frank Moss give him a chance to debate, Senator Moss obliged because he felt the electorate was entitled to an opportunity to see both candidates respond in a setting which would in some small measure, be indicative of their skills as a federal legislator. Now, 36 years later, Orrin Hatch forgets what fair play is but more importantly, forgets that it is the people of the State of Utah --not his presumed legacy or federal pension account-- which deserves to be served by televised debates which will help us all to understand whether Orrin Hatch has passed the point of being effective, or whether he has become the shallow, self-aggrandizing ghost he now appears to be. Orrin, please overcome your pride, and give us some debates! If you are still worth anything, it will show in a series of debates. If not, then the electorate deserves to know that too.

  • DavisMan Clearfield, UT
    May 17, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    What would you expect. Does anyone really think Mr. Hatch wants or care's what the people of Utah want? If he was to go on T.V. then the people would be able to see just how senile he is.

  • California Steve Hanford, CA
    May 17, 2012 6:41 p.m.

    Eight debates?? P L E A S E. One OK, but eight? zzzzzz

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    May 17, 2012 5:39 p.m.

    I'm surprised at the alarm and outrage some people are expressing over this. Incumbents not wanting to debate their challengers is a political tactic that is as old as time. Add to that the facts that Hatch is not a good debater, he doesn't want to remind people he's been in office since Gerald Ford's presidency, and he's old as dirt, and you have additional reasons the Hatch camp is resisting debates.

  • Wolfgang57 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    No matter who Utah sends to the Senate, the poor, minorities, and the other victims of the economic violence of the U.S. will have no one who cares about them. Both primary candidates follow Utah's philosophy of hurting people when they are down. A conservative is a sick selfish sociopath (person who has no remorse or conscious about doing things that hurt other people). Over 50% the people in Utah meet the medical definition of sociopath, and that's a majority.

  • Drew1house PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    May 17, 2012 3:13 p.m.

    Orrin Hatch has duties to attend to in Washington as our Senator. He already took a long break and missed votes to campaign and debate in Utah prior to the convention. If the source of your careful outrage is really on behalf of voters you would be driving people toward the debate footage already available. If you are seeking to stir up controversy for ratings then you would be writing articles demanding the next debate be hosted by you.

    I am going to actually suggest that he find someone aside from KSL/Deseret News to moderate the third debate. 36 years ago media was different. Now with the internet and cable news we can all find out about every single vote ever cast by Senator Hatch with all the nuance you could ever hope for. Things change.

  • Drew1house PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    May 17, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    There have already been two debates between Dan and Senator Hatch. Sure it would be good for your ratings and for Dan Liljenquists campaign to have a prime time debate, but being a Senator isn't about media ratings increasing your opponents name recognition.

    There have already been 2 debates. A third is scheduled in June. Will a fourth really matter? If your only goal, as you state, is to allow Utah voters to see the candidates, then why not just link to the debate you already have? Its right here: http://tiny.cc/ri0gew

    Jim Matheson refuses to debate his opponents, many are upset. Yet I see none of the venom for Jim we see you spit at Orrin Hatch over his alleged affront. Is he less deserving the publics scrutiny because his name wont pull ratings like Orrins? Yet Orrin, who has already debated not once but twice, gets lambasted for not agreeing to a fourth debate on channels you control the revenue for?

  • Scott Leishman Bountiful, UT
    May 17, 2012 2:17 p.m.

    I agree with the comments from "sjgf" (Unique Screen Name:)

    Some people commend Hatch for ignoring Liljenquist - and it may be smart campaigning, but I don't like it. I am a registered Republican. I WILL be voting in the primary. And I would like to see a debate. I personally think Hatch is acting like a coward. Let's schedule the debates. Hold the debates. If Hatch fails to show - free air time for Liljenquist and anyone that would like to ask him questions. Putting all the anger and rhetoric aside about experience vs. youth vs. lifelong politician vs. whatever - I would like to see the two men most likely to represent me debate the issues. And I still say Hatch looks more like a coward than a master strategist to me.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    May 17, 2012 1:56 p.m.

    Hatch knows he would lose in multiple debates. I still say we clean house of every single Representative and 1/2 of the Senate until we get a congress that functions and is not caught up in self preservation.

  • sjgf South Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2012 12:54 p.m.


    "Debates aren't an indication of anything except who is the best debater."

    Maybe I don't really know what a "Debate" is, but I'm not sure that the political "Debates" we see are really debates. If they were, I might agree with your comment.

    I see them as chances for the moderator to ask questions that should highlight the differences in the policies of the candidates, and chances for them to point out things about each other in a way that provide a chance for explanation to the voters on both sides.

    We need this as voters, rather than just the few sound bites we get in advertizing literature from the candidates.

    Here's an example, as best as I can remember from a prior debate:

    Medicare Part D is a wonderful benefit to seniors. The question is whether the Federal government should provide it, or whether it is outside the boundaries of what government should provide.

    I believe that one of these candidates staunchly believes that it is something the government should provide, and the other candidate staunchly believes that it is not. Debates bring out these differences to help you decide who should represent you.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    May 17, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    Senator Hatch IS A BIG SPENDER! WASHINGTON DC INSIDER! He Failed us on Nuclear Testing, Failed us on the Budget and Failed us so many times over the debt! He has been around for nearly all the debt! He needs to go! He left our military hanging and abandoned principles of being Conservative!

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    May 17, 2012 12:24 p.m.


    Are you looking over my shoulder as i cast my ballot? can you read my mind? how do you know I will vote for hatch? The fact is you don't. Quit living in a fantasy world. I have never voted for hatch and I never will. A vote for hatch is a vote for the tyranny that is currently in the whitehouse now.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    May 17, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    Hatch is chicken. H eis afraid he will lose. He knows he will be exposes for the anti-constitutional policies he endorses if he debates anybody.

  • Eric Greene Holladay, UT
    May 17, 2012 12:15 p.m.

    The re-election rate of an incumbent politician for congress or senate is about 95%, though some estimates have it higher.

    Do you really think that 95% of politicians deserve to be representing the people?

    Could it be that Utah has fallen into this trap of over-valuing "experience" and not taking a serious look at the issues?

    The Founding Fathers believed that an informed electorate would do a sufficient job in ousting ineffective politicians. With this train of thought they did not create term limits for senators and congressmen.

    Unfortunately, with Hatch being the prime example, the people are blind to what horrendous things that the politicians do and believe their "experience" and tenure more than make up for their blantant errors and atrocities.

    Utah, wake up! Go do some research on Hatch! Vote this career politician out, who has voted for all of the debt we now groan under, plus many, many other things!

  • Fred33 KAYSVILLE, UT
    May 17, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    @ AT

    Did you see the debate between Liljenquist and Hatch before the GOP primary? Hatch held his own quite easily. I don't think your assertion that Hatch would get creamed is correct based on the outcome of the previous debate.

  • OneAmerican Idaho Falls, ID
    May 17, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    Salt Lake City, Utah

    Actually, you're looking at this backwards...The candidate who is in jeopardy and most vulnerable has nothing to gain and everything to lose by debating. A candidate who has betrayed the public trust and cannot justify his actions in doing so will never debate a challenger. Liljenquist's views and values most closely mirror the views and values of the majority of Utah voters...Hatch's own words and positions no longer do. A debate would make that crystal clear and THAT is why Hatch will not debate before a large TV audience. If Hatch was such a shoe-in as you indicate, he would be demanding the debate be on TV. In fact, there would be no need for a debate because Hatch would have dominated and had no challenger in the Primary. Don't be surprised if Hatch is Benson's new fishing buddy after the Utah primary.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    May 17, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    I have generally been a Hatch supporter and have been very skeptical of outside organization "Freedom works" fighting against him. However, a series of debates is essential for the public to know who is the best candidate and who we should vote for. Hatch's refusal to debate is definitely making me lean toward his opponent. This shouldn't be about who has the bigger war chest or who is ahead or behind in the polls; it should be about an informed electorate. I completely agree with the comment above that the media should schedule eight prime-time debates and if Hatch refuses to show up then give the time to his opponent to answer questions and put forth his ideas.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    May 17, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    If Hatch doesn't want to attend under any conditions, have Dan on. I don't think you let one candidate decide how newspaper and television cover the primaries.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 17, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    This issue is not about whether Senator Hatch is ahead or whether Dan Liljenquist will gain points by debating Mr. Hatch. This issue is about the fact that Senator Hatch OWES the people of Utah the chance to see him at work, to see him fielding real questions, to see him in action as their Senator.

    He has not done too well in the interviews that I've heard on the Doug Wright show on KSL Radio. He could not stay on topic. He could not follow the subject. He wandered. He wavered. He stammered. He stuttered. He was anything but competent. I stammer. I stutter. I sometimes have to be reminded what we're talking about. That's part of my life. I suspect that that is also part of Senator Hatch's life.

    Whether that is part of his life or whether it isn't, he owes it to us to stand and deliver whatever he has to deliver. A man confident in his own abilities would have no qualms about debating anyone at any time on any subject relating to the duties of a Senator.

    Hatch is afraid of being seen as he is.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 17, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    I want Senator Hatch to win...

    Only so I can LOL as nearly 2 Million Utahans slamming Hatch will eat Crow, and Humble Pie....
    and wash their hands night after night after re-electing him the 78 year old for a 7th time straight time.

    Proving my point [and Senator Hatches] --
    that most Utahans will never think for themselves -- and will only vote for the "R", no matter who wears it.

  • Laura Ann Layton, UT
    May 17, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    I think it would be the height of fooliness if we didn't re-elect Hatch to the Senate. If we can get a majority in the Senate, he will be the head of the Finance Committee. One of the most powerful positions in Washington. I believe he is a good man and will do his best to stop and over spenping in D.C. so our country can try to get us out of debt. If Liljenquist gets into the Senate he would not have much influence. Just look at the committees Mike Lee is on. It is not impressive. Washington uses senority in committees. I know most people don't like this, but I don't see anyway Washington is going to change in the near future, if ever. Go Senator Hatch!

  • Conner Johnson
    May 17, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    Pack your bags Senator Hatch, the people of Utah are ready to send you home. Not back to Washington. Tick-Tock...Tick-Tock...Tick-Tock......

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    May 17, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    Of course debates help the voter determine who is the better candidate. Debates force the candidates to publicy state their opinions devoid of the controlled message that a commercial paid by Washington based special interest money provides.
    In addition, debates happen frequently behind closed doors in Congress. A public debate gives the voter some insight as to how well the Candidate will handle themselves when the pressure is on.

    To say that a debate plays no part in helping the voter determine who the better Senator will be is just plain crazy and I am shocked that anyone could honestly have an opinion along those lines.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    Sen. Hatch should debate. I guess he thinks he's "safe" to avoid a debate. But it's very possible that his strategy will backfire and cost him the election, due to voters who are becoming increasingly annoyed at his refusal to debate. Come on, Sen. Hatch, I thought you believed in accountability in government. Stand up and debate!

  • Gail Fitches Layton, UT
    May 17, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    Senator Hatch and Congressman Bishop have too many ties with the lobbyist that are destroying our state, country, and the world. I want to see people in office, who cannot be bought, that will research the issues, not sign off on laws written by the lobbyist that harm the people, and will fight to restore our country. I want someone who will bring these bankster theieves that are stealing from the entire world to justice. We do not owe this money, and we need people who will NOT allow any more ponzie schemes, and that will go after these crooks. If we do not start getting people into office who do not cater to these lobbyist, we will lose all freedoms, and it is happening fast. I have noticed that most people do not even understand politics, and I was one of them until a couple of years ago. People are voting, and they do not even have a clue of what and who they are voting for, their record, who finances their campaign, bills they cosponsored written by the globalist, etc. People better start learning real fast, because our country is in real trouble.

  • jean22 Bountiful, UT
    May 17, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    Hatch doesn't want to debate because he has no ideas to put forth. His only campaign slogan has been that IF the Republicans get the majority in the Senate, he would head the Senate Finance Committee. Well, if the Democrats keep their majority, then his one and only reason to be re-elected is non-existent. It's time to get someone with new ideas and someone who will be accountable to their constituents.

    I like the idea of the Deseret News and KSL scheduling the debates and holding them, regardless of who shows up. If Hatch is "too busy" for the people of Utah, then he is not qualified to represent the people of Utah.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 17, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    Debates aren't an indication of anything except who is the best debater. They don't show who would be the best Senator. That's just it plain and simple.

  • Cameron Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 17, 2012 9:08 a.m.

    It's sad to see our process has become so cynical that we think in terms of how debates can harm or help candidates rather than the voters.

    When Hatch last had a primary race he called for 8 debates all over the state, from Monticello to Vernal to Logan. But apparently 36 years in Washington DC changes a person.

  • swede1952 Smithfield, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    Too busy for the people of Utah? Debates ONLY benefit the challenger, . . . huh? I believe an informed electorate is the goal for a democratic society. How are the people to make an informed choice without seeing and hearing from the candidates? Of course, if you are NOT proud of your record, if you think exposure might further erode your chances for victory, and you've nothing new to share, fine. The message here folks is, "just re-elect me, I'm too busy earning that $175,000.00 annual salary I get to be bothered with constituents!" I'm outraged! How does a US Senator neglect the people who put him in office in the first place? Yes, there will be consequences to Hatch's defiance. Hatch has placed the "political noose" over his head. I liken this to a job interview. If you have two applicants and ONE is willing to interview and the other in NOT, who do you give the job to? NOT the ONE in seclusion! Say ALL you want, you HATCH supporters, about what a super job he has done for Utah in the past. It's TIME to play ball, where's Senator Hatch?

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:42 a.m.

    Why should Orrin Hatch give any credibility to Liljenquist by debating him on TV. It was a group of extremists at the convention that forced a primary and they constitute a small percentage of the population of Utah, thank goodness. If Liljenquist was a credible candidate in the first place, there would be a debate. Liljenquist has nothing to offer the state and does not deserve to be placed as a senator. He is no Mike Lee.

  • DefiniteMaybe Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:16 a.m.

    Great, Good, or Bad... Bottom Line... 42 Years is Too Long.

  • mightyhunterhaha Kaysville, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:16 a.m.

    I hope hatch doesn't waste his time with Liljenquist. Hatch needs to return to Washington and Liljenquist needs to just plain retire. When Liljenquist runs it's anybody but Liljenquist to include Super Dave over Liljenquist. He's bad bad bad for Utah. Did I tell you he is bad for Utah. Mike Lee needs to join him and retire.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    Debates don't do anything for anyone. Just look at all the presidential debates with all of the Republican candidates. I've never seen anything more boring. All the candidates essentially said the same thing. That is what would happen with Hatch and Liljenquist. You'd hear the same thing from both of them. Their positions would be in near total agreement. The only thing that could be debated, and it's a non-issue with me is Hatch's longevity. Other than that, debates are pointless. They provide no new information, just the potential for a gotcha moment.

  • Editorial Notes At Home In, UT
    May 17, 2012 7:41 a.m.

    The Doug Wright show? That's a nice, neutral, unbiased platform that the majority of Utahns will be able to listen to - if they have the radio on... at work or running errands, in the middle of their day. Maybe Representative Chaffetz or Senator Lee could moderate - since Doug is such a big fan of theirs. I'm sure they'd work well together.

    You would think, being so proud of his record, Sen. Hatch would welcome the opportunity to place his senatorial service history before Utahns, look them in the eye and say, "Please place your trust in me just one more time." Just reminding people of his votes in favor of TARP*, SCHIP, the debt ceiling increases, Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sunstein, Bernanke, Geitner, Holder - I'm sure it wouldn't be a tough sell.

    Time will tell how well he makes his case to Utahns.

    *As I understand the procedures, he voted for TARP#1 and didn't vote to stop TARP#2 (that would be GM, Chrysler, Fannie and Freddie) by voting "present" thus extending a "courtesy vote" to the Democrats.

  • Lermentov PROVO, UT
    May 17, 2012 7:05 a.m.

    It certainly is common practice for the incumbent not to debate.

    Doesn't make sense, except ethically.

    I don't believe Deseret News allows links to be published in the comments page (for good reason), but they should, themselves, at least publish the address to the debate that happened earlier. It is on YouTube. Just search for Hatch Liljenquist debate. Senator Hatch doesn't do very well in this debate. He seems to have lost his edge.

    Doesn't it seem odd that since there are only 100 people in the entire nation who are U.S. senators, that it should be someone who can hold their own in a debate, incumbent or not?

    May 17, 2012 6:56 a.m.

    Dan Liljenquist should debate a paper cut out of Orrin Hatch using his own congressional record. I see Orrin going down just like Richard Lugar. The people of Utah deserve to have an honest debate!

  • AT Elk River, MN
    May 17, 2012 6:48 a.m.

    Hatch's record is so bad, he'd get creamed. The more he can keep voters in the dark about what he's been doing, the better.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    May 17, 2012 6:25 a.m.

    One would think that a great orator like Hatch who has been in the senate for decades would have no problem in a debate.
    Hatch has all that background information and all those years persuading fellow congressmen. A debate would be easy for him.
    Besides, we'd all love to hear what he has to say.
    Doesn't he realize we are all tired of politicians who hide from the voters when it suits them?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 17, 2012 6:20 a.m.

    Clearly, Hatch believes he is leading in the polls. You only have to debate when you're behind. There's no reason for him to give liljenquist a free forum to attack him. He's forcing Liljenquist to pay for his own media. He's not going to give it to him for free.

    Hatch isn't hiding anything. He's just using smart campaign strategy.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    May 17, 2012 1:28 a.m.

    So Dan is articulate? Is that why he wants to debate Hatch? So is Obama. Look past the glitter and see that youth and inexperience is just about worthless in Washington DC. Why should Hatch be required to have a TV debate? There's nothing in the Constitution or party platform that requires it. Dan is just lucky Orrin didn't hit the 60% at the convention. If you let this issue decide your vote then your logic is shallow indeed, in my view. Just remember that Dan L. was in the party in power that decided to scuttle the public's right to know with the passage of HB 477, slamming the door on GRAMMA. His willingness to do that says more than a refusal to debate on TV by Sen. Hatch.......way more!

  • sjgf South Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2012 12:08 a.m.

    Please, Deseret News and KSL, hold 8 debates!

    Schedule them.

    Invite both candidates.

    If only one has the sense to show up, then let the moderator, audience, and the one brave candidate have a televised "debate" so we can at least learn about that one candidate! Even if one of the candidates initially declines, if you move forward with the debate plan, he may decide at the last minute that it is in his best interest to come out of hiding.

    It is a service to all the Republican voters of Utah to have these debates, and a disservice for a candidate to run from them and hide with his head in the sand.

  • BYR Woods Cross, UT
    May 17, 2012 12:07 a.m.

    At least Linjenquist will not have the opportunity to tell Hatch the same things Hatch told Frank Moss 36 years ago. Dang, I was looking forward to that.

  • Conservative Voice RIVERTON, UT
    May 16, 2012 9:37 p.m.

    As a former undecided voter this has turned me to Dan. It seems as though Hatch is hiding something and he doesn't want Utahns to know what it is. How can we expect him to fight the biggest battles of our lifetime against Liberals in Washington if he can't he debate Dan Liljenquist and articulately outline his vision for another 6-years. Bad move by Hatch and he just lost the 4 votes in my house because of it.

  • Scott Curtis Bountiful, UT
    May 16, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    The people of Utah deserve a TV debate!

  • MatthewBehun PROVO, UT
    May 16, 2012 9:24 p.m.

    This is a very hypocritical move by Hatch. He was the one who called for eight debates against his last primary opponent 36 years ago. He even criticized Obama for not debating McCain enough in '08. If he can't answer questions about his record to Utah voters he shouldn't be our senator.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 16, 2012 8:48 p.m.

    The candidate who is behind has everything to gain and nothing to lose in calling for TV debates. Hatch sees no need to give Mr. Liljenquist free air time and I don't blame him. And yes, the voters will send Hatch back to Washington this coming November.