Red Meat for a Blue Candidate

NPR's Martin Kaste is covering the Senate race in Montana and sends this dispatch:

A lot of the last-minute attack ads here in Montana have been the usual stuff: Republican Sen. Conrad Burns takes money from Big Oil; Democrat Jon Tester is a pussycat on terrorism and doesn't care about kids seeing Internet porn. But one ad just cracked me up when I heard it, driving to the polls this morning. Some hunter calls the Tester HQ to invite him to join the guys in shooting a little white-tail, only to have the Tester receptionist admit that hasn't had a hunting license in years.

Cue dire music.

So during an interview with Tester this afternoon I mention this ad, hoping to inject some levity into our chat, but he won't crack a smile. His eyes go steely, and he delivers what sounds like a practiced defense: He uses guns to shoot gophers and vermin, and he doesn't hunt big game only because he has a butchering business and he doesn't need the meat.

"So your defense is you shoot gophers?"

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