Tester Faces Angry Crowd at UM

By Beacon Staff

One of the benefits of being late for work is that I got to listen to “Voices of Montana” on my drive in, where host Aaron Flint was reading an excerpt from Montana Kaimin coverage of a meeting Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., had with political science students and Missoula residents at the University of Montana earlier this week. I could be mistaken, but this looks to me like the roughest exchange in which Tester or Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., have been a part of regarding health care and other legislation passed over the last year. It must have been somewhat startling for Tester to face an audience like this on the campus in Missoula of all places. Here’s an excerpt from one part of Kimball Bennion’s story, but the whole piece is worth a read:

In response to one question about what big issue the Senate planned to tackle next, Tester began talking about efforts to reform the financial sector and Wall Street.

“What we saw in September of 2008 was a near catastrophe because the regulators weren’t doing their job,” Tester said.

“Because the government was running the regulators?” countered one man in the audience.

Tester responded by sticking to his assertion that it was bad oversight by regulators and not the government’s policies to blame. But the man went on.

“Who were they working for?” the man asked.

“The government,” Tester said.

“So health care is going to be a lot better with the government running it?” the man asked.

“This is not government-run health care,” Tester said, which was met by a few skeptical chuckles.

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