ANALYSIS: Curtis Puts Daines on Defense in U.S. Senate Debate

Today, it was made quite clear why Steve Daines has sought to desperately to avoid debating democrat Amanda Curtis in the U.S. Senate race. Tonight’s debate was Daines’ to lose.  And he did.

Daines’ strategy throughout the campaign (and indeed throughout his tenure as a member of Congress) has been to try to hide his true views, beliefs, and acts from Montana voters–all while voting as Montana’s most extreme-right member of Congress in state history.  But tonight, Amanda Curtis made sure the TEA Party congressman had to answer for some of his ideological oddities–and his actual voting record–and it was quite a treat to watch.

Daines looked visibly shaken several times after he tried to answer a question, only to have Curtis, a high school math teacher and popular state legislator, point out how his voting record contradicted his claims.  Daines has never had an opponent go toe to toe with him before, and he was clearly not comfortable being called out for his true views.

Take, for example, the statement Daines made in answer to Dennison’s question about how banning abortion served the people of Montana.  Daines tried to say he supports access to birth control, but Curtis pointed out that Daines actually voted to ban it.  In response, Daines awkwardly muttered something about how he hopes his daughter has access to birth control “some day.”  I guess he means some day after he is no longer in Congress.  It was a very strange moment in the debate.

Obviously the new GOP thing is for their candidates to try to hide their anti-birth control history and message – clearly they’ve realized they can’t win otherwise.  Daines tried to make us believe he supported birth control, but he couldn’t quite pull it off.

Even if he hadn’t flubbed the question tonight, women are figuring out that that Daines has made repeated attempts to take away our rights as women to make our own healthcare decisions, outlaw birth control, eliminate prevention efforts and authorize the IRS to audit rape victims. In the past, Daines has also tried to claim that he supports victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but of course what he does not mention is that he voted against funding the same domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs he touts.

Another golden moment in the debate came when Curtis pointed out that we need a better representative in the Senate than someone who throws tantrums with the whole government shutdown and ACA repeal idiocy. Surprisingly, Daines refused to say he wouldn’t vote to shutdown the government again – even after being asked the question twice.  Even after it was pointed out by Curtis that Daines refused to say he wouldn’t shut down the government again.

I was surprised that the TEA Party Congressman ran from his own anti-Affordable Care Act votes – claiming he hadn’t voted for 40 of the 50 some ACA repeal measures the U.S. house passed.   Daines said he only voted for repeal once.  Which is easily disproven. Daines himself has bragged about his repeal votes in his press releases and public statements, but I guess he forgot about that – or hopes we did. Curtis didn’t.

It’s interesting also to see how defensive Daines was on the GOP boondoggle conceived by TEA Party GOP vice-Chair Jennifer Fielder and TEA Party Rep. Kerry White – the public land grab scheme they passed unanimously at the GOP convention.    The GOP legislators’ proposal was so unpopular that it must have started to hurt their federal candidates in the polls, because now we see both Zinke and Daines running from an idea they both have publicly supported.

Perhaps it was Zinke and Daines who convinced the TEA party imbeciles in the Montana legislature to nix their own proposal to try to cauterize the wound they inflicted on their own party.

Amanda Curtis and John Lewis have both been successful in putting their opponents on defense simply by shining a light on what they really stand for.  And this strategy I suspect will continue to close the ever narrowing gap in the polls.

I’m interested to see what others who heard the debate think.  Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a good factcheck of the statements Daines made tonight online here.


36 Comments on "ANALYSIS: Curtis Puts Daines on Defense in U.S. Senate Debate"

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 20, 2014 8:51 PM at 8:51 PM |

    Wow! Amanda is even better than I had imagined! Amazing lady! What poise, grace, and intelligence! And pee wee really DID get a well-deserved spanking tonight! His handlers dropped the ball on THIS one! Who told ya? ME, that’s who! I TOLD the Pubbies to find a Pee Wee look alike who WASN’T an inbred idiot to debate Amanda. But noooo! Did the Pubes listen? And what happened as a result? Just two words. NIXON/KENNEDY! Pee wee bit the BIG one tonight! And the Big Kochs are gonna pay the price!

    But I really gotta say that the stars of the evening were the folks asking the questions. They were fantastic! FINALLY a real debate. And this goes to what I’ve been saying for a long, loooong time. Mike Dennison and the others live here too! It’s THERE damn home too! It’s THEIR Montana too! And they MUST do their jobs if we’re to have any kind of democracy!

    And they did their jobs tonight! Thank you, panelists, for allowing Amanda to KICK Pee Wee’s ass! We ALL lose when we send christofascist fundiwackmentalist creationism reetards to D.C. Job well done, press dudes!

    Now, keep it up!

    I finally have a reason to believe in the press again. I knew you guys could do it if you just had the chance!

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 20, 2014 8:59 PM at 8:59 PM |

      Except for that jay corn dude’s question. Is that guy an idiot or an asshole? I’m nut sure which. I report, you decide! He’s tv news, right? That explains a lot.

    • Curtis is taking the fight to the teabaggers, and even if she doesn’t make it, it’s going to show many Montanans deceived by Fox/FAKE news that they’re going to have BUYER’S REMORSE in 2016 and hang
      Teabaggers Daines around the next of the GOP then and show Daines and ilk as the corporate shills and toadies they are!

    • Indeed a great panel of journalists, too bad more journalists, papers and TV media didn’t demand Zinke and Daines debate BEFORE absentee ballots went out! Zinke’s been using his Navy SEAL skills to escape and evade Lewis – AND Fellows – and showing his lack of MORAL INTEGRITY and civic courage, and instead hide behind his SEAL emblem and swath of ribbons in the commercials. As a veteran, I find it very, very self-serving and I’d rather KNOW about Zinke’s Montana legislative experience, both good and bad, not how
      he brags he’s the only guy on the stage who can tell a clip from a magazine, which I found very patronizing, since even Mr. Fellows served in the Army Reserve. Zinke’s also going to be another metaphor for BUYER’S REMORSE in 2016 when ‘Showhorse’ Zinke comes due again IF he gets in.

  2. I wasn’t able to watch or listen. Thank you for the live blogging and the analysis. So glad to hear Amanda did such a great job. I do believe she will make a great Senator.

  3. Amanda came out swinging and fightin’ in true Butte Irish style agains the ‘smarmy Ted Cruz synchophant teabagger Shutdown Steve! Daines kept blabberin’ I know how to create jobz here in Montana, but ONLY
    if it doesn’t compromise the interests of Gianforte’s agenda and corporate masters who don’t give a DAMN about working Montanans struggling to get healthcare access, but all Daines and Zinke can offer is the rhetorical pablum of ‘tort reform’ and ‘medical savings accounts’ which doesn’t help a mother get a child
    to a proper doctor and/or clinic. I suppose the GOP thinks Walgreens will offer walk-in surgery to
    get our your appendix?

  4. She *KIILED* it! Thatta Girl! Even with that REALLY RUDE, sexist comment. “Are you trying to Dumb Down, the U.S. Senate?” You reacted so cool, & collected. Couldn’t say, I could have don the same! You *NAILED* it! So proud!

  5. Dear Cowgirl,
    Regardless of party or performance last night, women like Amanda Curtis are where this country is headed politically. Old white male America is having a tough time with women like her. Get used to it guys, last night we saw what more and more debates in America will look like in the coming years; intelligent, articulate, and caring women above and beyond what any male opposition can offer.

    John Marshall

  6. My spouse, who is a NRA member, felt Daines came across as a political snake. He changed his vote to Amanda Curtis.

  7. I loved it! Amanda had two jobs: introduce herself to the voters and show what an ass Daines is. She did both. A video of the debate needs to be made to every voter in the state.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 21, 2014 8:30 AM at 8:30 AM |

      Yes but, whoooo boy are the inbreds pissed! Amanda was just SO mean to paddle Pee Wee in public! That was a very mean, un-American thing to do! It’s not NICE to paddle a Pee Wee in public! And many commenters even referenced God! God doan LIKE uppity, intelligent, charismatic, good looking, highly qualified females to PADDLE A PEE WEE in public! For that violates the natural order of things and God’s law! Go on to the various state daily sites and read the comments. They’re heeelarious! Seems that Amanda was simply too mean to Pee Wee by debating well. That’s was just uncalled for! She was “snarky” and “rude”. And kept “batting her eyelashes”, as if she were making fun of her opponent!

      NOW, let’s watch the REALL nasty commercials against Amanda start rolling in! The Pubes will reason that since Amanda took the gloves off, they can too! Maybe they’ll even enlist Gayr Marsbutt of the Montana Spoot Shorters Ass. to ex -PLAIN those twenty-three gun bills that Amanda supposedly voted against! Oh wait, they can’t do that now, can they, FOR THEY DON’T EXIST! Gayr does a great job of spooting his shorts, but not so good as explaining those bills! HEY, if I ever want my shorts spooted, I’ll call Gayr! It’s all they’ve got left! Guns! And spooting shorts! NO one makes fun of the NRA and lives!

      But mark my words, the Pubbies are coming, and they are probably airing those negative ads as we speak! I don’t own a TV so I won’t be able to see them. But I would like to help my Pube pals by recommending a commercial that they might use. It would show a picture of a sniffling, sad looking lil’ Pee Wee with his pants around his ankles and red RULER marks all over his butt! And then, a stern looking teacher with her HAIR in a bun, holding a ruler in her hands, glaring at the child! Then, the voice over would be, “Do we REALLY want someone representing us in D.C. who would do THIS to a moron? We absolutely disapprove of moron abuse, for that is most of our base. MORONS!”

      I’m Pee Wee Daines and I approved this message!

      p.s. For my lil’ buddy Rick Strapon who writes the inbred column for the GF Spitoon: rick, the ONLY one who looked a little Wobbly on stage last night was PEE WEE!


      I call it fun with inbreds! I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t resist!

  8. Seems like the ‘ol Twitter’s out of whack this morning, probably from tons of people like me, overjoyed at Amanda Curtis’ amazing debate performance and the laughable go of it by Daines. Who wouldn’t want to share how happy they feel after that fun time?

  9. I’d only vote for a Democratic Senator if there was a high probability that the next US president was going to be a Republican.

    As we’ve seen with the Bush and Obama failed presidencies, one party rule does not work. The ruling party begins to enjoy the smell of their own crap. Meanwhile useful idiots — some of whom seem to frequent this blog — prefer badmounthing the other “team” instead of advancing any worthwhile principles.

    Obama has cemented into place all the worst ideas that Bush had … after he’d fiercely campaigned against the very same policies. Democrats made no objections because he’s Their Guy. Absolutely disgusting. Turns out Dick Cheney’s policies aren’t so bad after all…

    At least the TEAtards have the guts to throw out their party elite. LIBtards are far too compliant to consider something like that. The Democratic Party can safely take the grassroots for granted, because they vote for Team Blue regardless of what the party does in office.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 21, 2014 10:07 AM at 10:07 AM |

      Hey, Heinie rich, NEXT time, rinse ALL the soap outta your coffee cup before posting, dude, for I theenk you just took a dump on the forum! Speaking of liking the smell of one’s own crap, YOU DO!… doo doo!

    • My goodness Heinrich, which planet are you living on anyway? If you are going to make crazy comments, at least have the integrity to describe the actions and policies that you are talking about, so that we can point out where you miss the mark.

    • Wow, Heinrich, someone with a brain who isn’t just a party cheerleader.

      @Edd: If you can’t name any Bush policy continuations and expansions it is YOU is crazy, and shamefully ill-informed. Obama broke more promises than he did change anything Bush was doing.

  10. ON the day of the debate, Obama decided to double down on his previous statement that his policies were squarely in the ballot.

    In an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on Monday, Obama defended his support for candidates in top races who haven’t welcomed Obama to campaign with them.

    The bottom line is, though, these are are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress,” Obama said.

    He continued: “So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. I tell them — I said, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.

    While it’s the second time Obama has gone down this road, this comment probably stings more than the last one for Democrats running in key Senate races — almost all of which are in red or swing states where Obama is quite unpopular.

    As to the debate itself, it was fairly predicable. Curtis pushed forward with talking points and attacks on Daines no matter what the question was. Seemed tp take a page from Sarah Palin attacking Obama in her debate with Joe Biden. Daines knew there was nothing to gain and much to lose responding in kind. So he ignored the attacks. Much the same should happen in round 2.

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the moderators graded responses to their questions immediately after the answer?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 21, 2014 10:14 AM at 10:14 AM |

      Um, craigy, what debate did YOU watch? Even the inbreds are saying that Amanda won the debate hands down. Oh sure, they’re still stickin’ with Pee Wee, but at least they’re honest! You’re not. We ALL know who was the walking talking talking point on stage last night, and it wasn’t Amanda! You see, craigy, when our opponent turns you into a mass of blubbering slobbering stammering gibberish, that is NOT a good thing for a candidate! I was afraid that Pee Wee was gonna start talking in TONGUES at any moment! And that prolly would have helped with his base!

      As I mentioned, now there is nothing for Pee Wee’s camp to do except ramp up the vicious lying attacks and hope it works! It won’t, for it will simply create more sympathy for Amanda. But it’s all you got left!

      And THIS time, Amanda’s camp is ready too! Let the negative ads begin!

      • Yup. In order to recover from his poor performance, Daines will have to spend several more million dollars (chump change for him) on a last-minute TV and mailer blitzkrieg of lies. Ads pushing the manufactured product that is “Steve Daines” will appear on our TV screens more frequently than boner pill ads.

        Just hit the mute button and head to the kitchen for a snack.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 21, 2014 10:24 AM at 10:24 AM |

      Sumbitch! There’s Jesus, and then there’s KOCKH Jesus! Seems that for two thousand years, we been a’gettin’ Jesus all wrong! And we’s heretics for it! craigy’s people. Pee Wee’s people. Slinky the barking seal’s people. STILL dummer than dog crap! Time for REAL religious people in this country to call these assholes out! For Jesus was NOT a f*cking fascist!

    • Round Two? Mr. Daines is too much of a coward for there to be a second time. He looked pathetic and as for talking points? I only heard one mouth espousing the same old tired platitudes, cut taxes for the corporations and the wealthy”job creators”* and “reduce government regulations that are killing small businesses”. Sounds like warmed over Trickle Down to me and we all know all you get from Trickle Down is a nation full of peons. Amanda was concise and accurate with her answers and my only disappointment was her not assuring us KXL would be built safely and not the flimsy piece of crap they are now proposing. All in all she won hands down and that’s why Steve will NOT face her again. oh, *”job creators” and how to identify them-on the 29th day of the month they will have next to nothing in their pocket or bank account. If you actually talk to real small business owner they will tell you the thing that’s hurting their business the most is a lack of disposable income in their customers pockets. Raising the minimum wage ALWAYS creates economic growth in every sector of the economy. ALWAYS.

  11. Daines proved without a doubt he doesn’t know or care about women’s issues or rights.

    When he started to compare his views on abortion to leaving no soldier on the battlefield and the Declaration of Independence, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    • Daines is just a ‘smarmy’ guy doing the bidding of the oligarchs and corporate moguls while putting his ‘Stepford’ family on display and displaying his charming grin, while gutting the safety net, and ‘flip-flopping
      on the Gov’t Shutdown and back-peddling on selling off public lands which the GOP Congress was all for.

  12. Daines went into the debate thinking he was talking to Clint Eastwood’s empty chair. He clearly was running against Obama… that is until Amanda correctly stated he was running against her. WHat a thumping he got about his votes. Loved it. Go Amanda I was so proud of you last night!!!!

  13. Amanda won. I like intelligent women that can put up a good fight. Daines, on the other hand, is a slippery little fellow and it showed very well last evening.

  14. Amanda Curtis was awesome in last night’s debate! She was virtually unflappable and came out with facts blazing like six guns. Take that NRA.

  15. Good Post Greg!

  16. I was compelled to write something about the Pundit response, and I quoted your blog there. My post is called , Curtis and Daines Debate, Pundits Blunder.

    I am not as versed in political critiques but this really got me going!!!! My blog is only a partly used art and personal journaling blog normally!

  17. “Are you suggesting we DUMB DOWN the U.S. Senate?” Still HAUNTING me! Called Jay Kohn’s Boss. He is in full agreement, Loves the guy, said it was a “Poor choice of Words?” REALLY???? I even asked him, what a better choice of words would be? It turned into a FIGHT! I now HATE Q2 News, in Billings.

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