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Montana Politics

Jun 16, 2014 10:44 AM by John Emeigh - Butte

U.S. Senate candidates Daines, Roots, Walsh debate in Butte

BUTTE -- The three candidates for U.S. Senate -- U.S. Representative Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Roots (L), and U.S. Senator John Walsh (D-MT) -- squared off at Montana Tech in Butte on Saturday.

Walsh and Daines took each other to task in the debate.

Daines wants to unseat incumbent Walsh in the race for Montana's open U.S. Senate seat with his promise of reducing federal government spending.

"I'm standing for more jobs, I'm standing for less government," said Daines. "John is standing for more government."

"Congressman Daines talks about, again, cutting the budget, but he shut down the government," Walsh told the audience. "What that actually did was raise the debt in the budget."

Both Walsh and Daines were lambasted by Libertarian candidate Roger Roots who compared both of his opponents to drunken sailors when it comes to government spending.

"Some people say that is an insult to drunken sailors, because at least drunken sailors are spending their own money, these two gentlemen are spending the American people's money," Roots told the crowd.

The candidates agreed that government is broken and needs to be fixed, but they all offered very different solutions to fixing the government.

"I entered into the race because Washington was broke, Washington has a spending problem and our congressman is part of that problem," Walsh said. "I want to go back to Washington D.C. to be part of the solution."

"We simply must start to limit the size of government," Daines said. "If we want to grow jobs, we want to have more jobs for the economy, it's going to mean we're going to have to have less government."

"These parties have ruined America," Roots said. "These parties have put so much government into our lives. Listen, a vote for one is as good as a vote for the other."

The panel of journalists asked the candidates about their stances on minimum wage, foreign policy in Iraq, and the Affordable Care Act.

"Until I see the cost of healthcare come down in Montana, the jury is still out from my perspective," Walsh said.

"John says the jury is still out, well, I've got news, the Montana jury has rendered a verdict and they don't like Obamacare," Daines said.

Roots received the most laughs from the audience when he promoted what he called "unleashing the power of capitalism on health care."

"The poorest man in the world could stumble out from underneath his bridge, bleeding from a thousand open sores, he could stumble into a roadside medical tent and be restored to full health for just $49.95," he said.

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