Kurt Bills, GOP Senate candidate, says he'd support tax increase, fight Grover Norquist

Bills versus Grover Norquist in a knock-down-drag-out? We'd pay to see that.
Bills versus Grover Norquist in a knock-down-drag-out? We'd pay to see that.

The stress of a moribund U.S. Senate campaign might be getting to Kurt Bills.

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During a speech at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School yesterday, Bills, a Republican from Rosemount, made some heretical statements. He said he'd support a tax increase as part of a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit, even if it meant getting into a fist-fight with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.

The Pioneer Press provides shares some of the details:

During a question-and-answer session, Larry Jacobs, director of the university's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, asked Bills if he supports a 2010 federal deficit-reduction report that called for shrinking the national debt by $4 trillion over a decade with a mix including $1 in tax increases for every $2 in spending cuts.

"I will vote for the compromise, no matter what it is," Bills replied.

"I don't care if I have to have a verbal or physical confrontation with Grover Norquist," he said, referring to the conservative who has persuaded almost all congressional Republicans to sign a pledge to oppose all tax increases. "I'm going to vote for the compromise because that's what my students in my high school classes -- and (they are) the reason why I'm running -- would want me to do."

Later in the day, Jacobs called Bills' tax remarks "stunning," adding that he couldn't recall a Minnesota Republican expressing even tepid support for a tax increase anytime in the last two decades.

Bills supports Sen. Rand Paul's plan to balance the budget and pay down $2 trillion in debt over a decade with the help of Social Security cuts that would reduce the average benefit by 40 percent, but says he's willing to sacrifice principle in hopes of actually getting something done in Washington.

But some conservative pundits think Bills' Humphrey comments serve as further evidence that the high school teacher's Senate campaign has gone completely off the rails.

Conservative blogger John Gilmore analyzed Bills' tax remarks as follows: "Just when you thought it couldn't get worse."

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