Hatch to appear at Utah debate (kind of)
June 7th, 2012
04:18 PM ET
10 years ago

Hatch to appear at Utah debate (kind of)

(CNN) - Sen. Orrin Hatch may look a little stiff at a debate Thursday–given he'll appear as a cardboard cutout.

In response to the senator's refusal to take part in an on-stage debate, his Republican challenger Dan Liljenquist will hold a debate of his own, standing side-by-side a life-size image of the senator.

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"If Senator Hatch refuses to debate his own record, we will debate it for him," Liljenquist said in a statement.

A former state senator, Liljenquist has been challenging Hatch to a televised debate in recent weeks, but the incumbent senator has only agreed to a June 15 radio debate.

Liljenquist has made the debate challenge his biggest line of attack in the race, even using it in his first television ad last month. His campaign argues the six-term senator wants to avoid a televised showdown, fearful of debating his own record.

"Perhaps Orrin Hatch simply feels like he is entitled to the people's seat he has grown accustomed to sitting in," Holly Richardson, a spokeswoman for Liljenquist, said in a statement.

While local TV news crews will attend the debate, the entire faux "showdown" will not be televised, Liljenquist's campaign confirmed. For Hatch's answers, video clips of his former statements (chosen by Liljenquist's camp) will be shown.

Team Hatch, however, calls the whole thing a publicity stunt. Hatch has made 20 joint appearances with Liljenquist across the state, his campaign said, and the senator already took part in two debates this cycle when more GOP candidates were in the running.

Hatch's campaign manger, Dave Hansen, labeled the mock debate a "circus side show" in a statement Thursday.

"As the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Senator Hatch is trying to force President Obama to lead and work to resolve the challenges facing Utah and America today," Hansen added. "Dan Liljenquist? He's debating a piece of cardboard."

The primary is set for June 26.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney reacts to Wisconsin recall vote

Texas a cash cow for Romney

Jill Biden weighs into 2016

Filed under: 2012 • Orrin Hatch • Senate • Utah
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Willis

    Bishop Tabby Nackle Scared.

    June 7, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Willis

    I Bishop Tabby Nackle refuse to lose my pretty pink Skirt & Participate. He is Like Romneys Twin when it Comes to David Gregory asking him to be on Meet The Press. Bishop Romney & Bishop Hatch are 2 SEVERE Cowards. WUSSES!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 7, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Bill

    Hatch wil be removed. Time to retire.

    June 7, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Tom

    What the Matter Hatch, Dont wanna talk about the BILLION or so you helped Romney with on Earmarks or your Sons Lobbing Firm in DC??? Yea a little Conflict of Intrest on that HUH??? You took More Earmarks from The US Government than ANYONE IN HISTORY!!!!!!!! You can Run but you can not Hide.

    June 7, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |