Thursday afternoon - just five days before Election Day - Democratic challenger Kenley Brunsdale got what he's always wanted, and Jim Hansen got what he's been trying to put off: A face-to-face debate.
The odds were in Hansen's favor going into the debate, because it was sponsored by the Republican-friendly Ogden Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce.But by the end of the debate, Hansen - the incumbent Republican from the 1st Congressional District - had been jeered three times by the crowd. After his closing statement, Hansen made a beeline for the door, his campaign manager explaining they were in a hurry to meet Vice President Dan Quayle, who was flying to Provo to stump for Karl Snow.
Meanwhile, Brunsdale was beaming after the debate as he stood by the door and pumped hands. "Wasn't this fun?" he asked.
Not for Hansen, apparently.When asked to interpret his stand on education, given the fact the teachers' union never gives him money, Hansen quipped, "That says I'm doing the right thing, I guess."
The crowd jeered politely.
Regarding the proposed Wyoming-California natural gas pipeline that would cut through Davis County, Brunsdale said Hansen's proposed bill to stop the route was a political decoy.
"I don't know why (Hansen) has missed every opportunity to (stop the pipeline) but he has," Brunsdale said. "And the only thing standing in its way is a lawsuit I've filed that's pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals."
Hansen said his bill was meant to "get the attention" of the pipeline companies.
"We've done that, . . .and we're just waiting to see how it comes out, Kenley. Best of luck on your lawsuit. Let's see how good of a lawyer you are."
The crowd jeered again, this time with a little more feeling, prompting Hansen to defend himself.
"Well, he asked what a good congressman I was. What's the difference?" Hansen said to the crowd.
Later, Hansen said Brunsdale is running because his former boss, Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, asked him to.
The crowd jeered loudly.
"That's fine," Hansen responded. "If you want another Wayne Owens, get two of them and God help this country."
In other issues:
- Brunsdale criticized Hansen for voting against the recent tax-hike bill and said it's a lie to say the budget can be balanced without new taxes. Hansen disagreed, saying what's needed is a budget freeze, a balanced budget amendment and a line-item veto.
- Hansen also disagreed with Brunsdale's assertion that jobs will be lost at Thiokol as a result of a new government run rocket motor plant in Mississippi, a project Brunsdale said Hansen should have fought against.
"Thiokol is in excellent shape . . . so don't worry about Thiokol," Hansen said.
- The candidates differed further on defense spending. While Hansen said he believes the nation can't get along without the Strategic Defense Initiative and the B-2 bomber, Brunsdale said he would cut those programs while maintaining a strong conventional force.