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KELO Senate Debate: Weiland, Pressler, Howie Call Rounds Statements “Lies”

Last updated on 2016.03.25

Democrat Rick Weiland and Independents Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie spent the final debate of South Dakota's U.S. Senate campaign doing what they should have been doing from Day One of their campaigns: calling Republican Mike Rounds out on his lies and corruption. Rounds offered three main responses:

  1. Blame Obama.
  2. Be a crybaby.
  3. Keep lying.

The first words out of Rounds's mouth were "Barack Obama," followed quickly by "South Dakota Common Sense," "D.C.... dysfunctional," and "ISIS and Ebola." His opening statement also included two blatant lies:

  1. "A vote for any one of my opponents is a vote for President Obama's failed policies."
  2. "My opponents—they think big government is the answer."

Rick Weiland would certainly be more supportive of President Obama's policies than Mike Rounds, though he stated the obvious that "I'm not Obama." Whether Weiland favors "big government" or "smart government" is a diverting rhetorical exercise. To claim that Gordon Howie and even Larry Pressler are big-government Obama liberals is laughable. Howie lit into Rounds's "misleading" claim as characteristic of the entire Rounds campaign and its willinginess to perpetuate statements that Rounds knows aren't true. Howie reminded voters that he proposed legislation to block the Affordable Care Act but that Governor Rounds killed that bill. Pressler said he has a 22-year record of voting against big government. Yet Rounds, without citing examples, kept lodging the same bogus claim against all three of his opponents.

Asked about supporting Senator Grassley's call to review the EB-5 visa investment program, Rounds completely avoided the question. He said we should review all federal programs and repeated his comments on ObamaCare and Keystone XL. Weiland said Rounds's evasion on EB-5 showed Rounds refuses to accept responsibility for what happened with EB-5 under his watch in South Dakota. He said Rounds makes up EB-5 job-creation numbers just as he makes up Keystone XL job-creation numbers and lies about Weiland wanting to kill Ellsworth Air Force Base. Gordon Howie jumped in to defend Weiland, saying Rounds knows Weiland doesn't want to kill Ellsworth. Howie then branded Rounds's EB-5 response as an example of "professional deceit." Pressler responded to Rounds's evasion by stunningly asking Rounds why he thinks Richard Benda killed himself and why the autopsy report as been sealed.

In response to that pummeling, Rounds kept evading. He gave no direct rebuttal; he only whined that his opponents were throwing "trash talk" and "innuendo" and (don't even try to restrain your laughter) "avoiding real issues." Weiland and Pressler both leapt on the question of issues. Weiland noted that Rounds spent most of the campaign avoiding debates and forums where the other candidates did talk about issues. Pressler agreed with Weiland that Rounds has skipped opportunities to talk policy and said he resents Rounds's suggestion that Pressler avoids real issues. (Pressler's resentment is justified, given that Pressler wonked out on specific legislation all night, as he has done in every debate).

Rounds's most laughable lie came in the discussion of Keystone XL. KELO loaded the question, framing it around the 60% approval rate Keystone gets from South Dakota voters and thus daring candidates to challenge the majority. Weiland boldly took the challenge, offering his bold and accurate three-point critique:

  1. Rounds's job numbers (inflated last night to 42,000) are bogus: Keystone XL will create 1,350 temp jobs and 35 permanent jobs.
  2. Keystone XL will send oil to the Gulf and overseas rather than boosting our energy independence.
  3. Rounds and Big Oil have lost those first two arguments, so now they're making up a new argument about pipelining Bakken oil to free rail cars for grain shipments, when that won't happen either, since the Bakken producers want to send their oil east for domestic refining and consumption, not south to the Gulf for export.

Pressler added that Rounds's KXL-Bakken-rail claim is false because the shippers can't mix Canadian tar sands oil and North Dakota crude.

Rounds responded that 10% of Keystone XL is reserved for carrying Bakken oil. How does he know this? The folks at TransCanada told him so, he said, and they wouldn't say that if it weren't true.

As Rick Weiland said during the EB-5 discussion, we just saw the real Mike Rounds. If a big corporation tells you something, it must be true.

Mike Rounds hid behind the bogeyman he makes of Barack Obama. He cried that his opponents are talking trash instead of addressing the specific questions and rebuttals they offered to his claims. And when pressed on his lies, he repeated them and told bigger lies.

Rick, Larry, Gordon, I can't tell which of you won last night. But you all three, working together, definitely beat Mike Rounds in the debate. If voters hear the messages you sent last night, you will beat Mike Rounds and his whining dodging and deceit at the polls. Which of you will win the election? Don't sweat that question. Beat Mike, and let the chips fall where they may.


  1. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    but,I repeat myself.....

    mike from iowa
    2014.10.30 AT 05:48
    Rounds sounds like a Karl Rogue protege. Focus on 2 or 3 subjects and never get off message. Doesn't matter what the question is,stay on message. That is how dumbass dubya got through debates.

  2. SDBlue 2014.10.30

    I was appalled at Mike Rounds' performance. All you have to do is look at his eyes when he is talking. The man does not have a sincere or genuine bone in his body. He knows he's lying and he doesn't care as long as it garners him votes. It is incomprehensible this man is a candidate for the United States Senate.

  3. Greg 2014.10.30

    Weiland needs to do more homework on how pipelines work. He stated that the two types of crude cannot be mixed which is true but you can still pump both types of crude through the same pipeline, it is done all the time. Weiland does not recognize the rail car shortage for grain otherwise he is a good candidate. Rounds definitely appeared to be shaken in last nights debate.

  4. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Greg,even if both types of crude use the same pipeline,they can't be refined at the same refinery,can they? I heard the refineries in Texas had to retool to handle tarsands for shipping overseas. Koch bros have their own tarsands refinery in Illinois or Indiana.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.30

    Note: I think it was Pressler who made the no-mix argument. Weiland focuses on pointing out that the Bakken producers don't want to use Keystone XL; they want to ship it east for domestic use. Pressler proposed a plan to build pipelines through North Dakota to do just that.

  6. lesliengland 2014.10.30

    is grain really a rail issue or is this inciting fear in SD Ag voters?

  7. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Cory,the line through NW iowa and on to S Illinois is proposed to handle Bakken sweet crude,I believe.

  8. JeniW 2014.10.30

    Temporary off the topic, sort of:

    Pressler and Rounds each earned a point for wearing an attractive tie.

    However, Rounds lost a point by wearing a "yellow ribbon" symbol pen.

    Gordie and Wieland, could have chosen better ties, but the ties were not too bad. Both were wearing symbol pens, but I could not recognize them from the still picture.

    Thank you for allowing me this commercial break Corey, back to the topic....

  9. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Hartley,Iowa is one town that still has rail access for grain shipments and right South of the big elevator is an ethanol plant with 3 rings of tracks for tanker cars. The elevator has a huge outside pile of corn under tarp. The grain is augerred to the pile and as it fills up it raises the tarp. Looks like stuffing a sausage case from the bottom up. Anyway the two types of cars used for each endeavor are different with the exception that some cars loaded with distillers grain(cattle feed supplement) look like grain cars.

  10. Don Coyote 2014.10.30

    For having a Harvard and Oxford education, Pressler showed how ignorant he is by stating how the XL pipeline couldn't be used for both types of oil. They can and do with the use of what they call a "pig" which cleans and purges the pipeline between batches. In fact pigs are also used to inspect the pipeline for corrosion and leaks.

  11. JeniW 2014.10.30

    I have a question, how much does it cost to pump the oil through, and how much does it cost to "pig" it?

  12. jerry 2014.10.30

    Good question JeniW, here is one more, why would you mix sweet oil with tar pit oil? Makes no sense whatsoever. One more thing regarding Pressler, he did bring up something very interesting about Benda, he brought up the case that he may have been murdered. Interesting.

    North Dakota sweet crude would make more moolah by shipping it by rail to wherever the need for it may be. Much easier to refine with less issues on the environment than that of the tar coming in from Canada.

  13. Kris Quaintance 2014.10.30

    Rounds' ass must be chapped this morning after that spanking. Unfortunately, he was smart enough not to debate his opponents earlier. It may to too late to wake everyone up to the kind of person he is.

  14. Nick Nemec 2014.10.30

    If 10% of KXL capacity is reserved for Bakken crude, as Mike Rounds claims, the KXL people shouldn't have a problem releasing the long term contracts they've signed with Bakken producers to prove the point. Come on Mike have your corporate buddies at Keystone help you out here, until we see proof of the 10% claim it's nothing more than further proof of your gullibility when the buisness types lobby you with half truths and lies..

  15. BigDaddy 2014.10.30

    It's a sad, sad day when a liberal Democrat is my second choice for the Senate. I certainly wouldn't vote for Weiland, but without a miraculous surge by Howie , I wish him the best.

  16. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    The comments on the KXL are good. Different oils can be run through the same pipeline by putting a dividing type of plug (a pig) in between batches. That being said, the refineries on the Gulf are mostly set up to handle the heavy crude from Mexico and Venezuela and therefore will be able to handle the tarsands sludge, they are not set up to refine the oil that comes from the Bakken. The Dept. of State's Final Supplemental EIS says that the KXL will set aside 100,000 barrels per day of capacity for Bakken oil, during the past five years only 65,000 bpd has been contracted for and Bakken producers are even backing out of those contracts. Mike Rounds' statement that the KXL will free up the rails is a red herring and shows he knows absolutely nothing about the KXL (amongst other things).

  17. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    The Bakken onramp is slated to be built in the Baker, MT area. Friends in the Baker area and Harding County area that are to be crossed by the KXL say that there has been no move by TransCanada to obtain easements for the onramp. Does TC even plan on going ahead with the onramp? The only reason that TC agreed to the onramp is that Montana's governor was holding up permitting the KXL until TC agreed to an onramp, it wasn't the Bakken producers that were pushing for space on the pipeline.

  18. jerry 2014.10.30

    Mr. Seamans, you brought up an interesting point about the counties thinking they are going to be getting a huge influx of tax money from this black snake. How can that be when the state and the counties that the Keystone I has gone through have received little if anything? The public is completely unaware that this will add nothing to the bottom line of local and state governments here. So who will it really enrich in the state of South Dakota besides Rounds and his sidekicks?

  19. Jeff Barth 2014.10.30

    I thought Gordon Howie did the best. He spoke clearly and usually without hesitation. Under pressure Senator Pressler spent moments searching his vast vocabulary for a correctly nuanced word and suffered for it. Rick Weiland did great! But he could have used some of the Howie fire and pushed Rounds on the cash the Governor took from his shady operators and the odd death of his close friend.

  20. Les 2014.10.30

    Continental was hesitant in the beginning. There were some tough standards they had to meet, giving them little room for market plays.
    Facts on taxes received on xl1, Jerry.

  21. Francis Schaffer 2014.10.30

    Why does no one bring up the North Dakota/Minnesota Regional Center for EB-5? Now I don't know all the points of their program to recruit, but after visiting their website it appears to have been and continues to be run by professional businessmen(people). Have a look;

  22. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    Les, Keloland did an investigative report on the taxes received by the counties along Keystone 1 about two or three years ago. I believe it is still in their archives. The reporter, Ben Dunsmoor, found that counties along the Keystone 1 route were receiving about one third of the property taxes promised by TransCanada. In addition the pipeline depreciates every year. I believe that taxes received by the counties declined about $1 million this past year, from around $7 million to around $6 million. Sorry, but I am not taking the time to dig up the links to my statements.

  23. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Francis, I don't blame MN for going into a partnership with ND on EB-5. Smart business decision for MN with the oil boom going on in ND. Frankly, with notorious alarming state govt corruption, anti-gay bills, racism, and low wages known nationwide now about SD, MN and other states will do best to stay far away from SD.

  24. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Admit it Sibby, you love entertaining liberals and we are a lot more fun than the boring War Toilet. We are what makes America, a mixture of all ideas, opinions, and political parties. We invite all gays, transgender, minorities, outcasts -everyone to our party. We are the true picture of America. Cory keeps you on his blog because you, Sibby deserve a voice too. Good for Cory fo realizing this.

  25. jerry 2014.10.30

    Sorry Les, I cannot seem to find any data on how much the first keystone has paid in property tax or any kind of tax to the counties or to the state. Same thing with leaks and other issues for South Dakota. They must not be paying anything.

  26. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Oops, the above line to Sibby meant to go on the Huether thread.

  27. joe lowe 2014.10.30

    Last night I watched the debate and saw a guy who would say and do anything to get elected. Mike let's go over a few of your points.
    1. You spoke about reducing federal government. Yet you grew state government when you were our Governor.
    2., You and your oil buddies support the XL pipeline despite the 2010 tar sands oil spill. Enbridge was responsible for the largest and costliest inland oil spill in U.S. history, when a pipeline rupture sending over a million gallons of tar sands into the Kalamazoo River system poisoning people and wildlife for miles around. Today the river remains polluted despite Enbridge spending nearly $1 billion on the cleanup.
    3. You want to repeal Obama Care for your insurance buddies, yet 10.3 million adults gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

    Rick did a great job. Let's get out and vote for him.

  28. Lynn 2014.10.30

    Jerry sorry the link to how much taxes Keystone #1 paid is above with the keloland link above. It does not include leakage info or incidents though.

  29. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    There is a lot of spill information on the Products and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (phmsa) under the US Dept. of Transportation website. Don't know if they have anything specifically on the Keystone 1.

  30. Lynn 2014.10.30

    MFI great links! Thank you!

    When that pipeline leaks isn't even more difficult to test for contamination since many of those toxic chemicals used to thin the tar sand sludge for transport considered trade secrets and our tests are not set up to identify those contaminants?

  31. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Here is what the State Dept had to say about kxl jobs-
    According to the State Department, Keystone would create about 2,000 short-term construction jobs over two years (or 3,900 if construction took only a year), and 50 long-term positions. It also would support 40,000 “indirect” or “induced” jobs across the country during construction, ranging from canteen cars serving food along the pipeline route to factories manufacturing construction equipment for the project.[iv] These indirect jobs would help revive the economies of the small towns along the northern route.

  32. chris 2014.10.30

    After watching this debate, I have started to wonder if Rounds rapid evasions/subject changings/debate no shows on EB-5 questions are the only legal thing he can do. Has he been deposed in front of a grand jury and is unable to even mention it?

    Maybe Grandpa Don should be told the truth: Dad, I can't say anything about it.

  33. Douglas Wiken 2014.10.30

    I remember the same program Seamans mentioned. The 1/3 of what had been promoted also sticks in my mind.

    It may also be that the revenue schools might get would be offset by cuts in the state funding. There are probably several depreciation schemes possible, but whatever, the tax revenue is going to decline with time.

    Areas with the pipeline will also likely see an increase in electric rates because of the high power use of the pumping stations. Couple that with the increase in fuel prices and Joe-Sixpack will have some serious humbug buyer's remorse.

  34. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Lynn, this is what I found on transporting "dilbit"-

    Once the bitumen is separated from the solid matter and water, it must be prepared for transport. This involves mixing the bitumen, which is about the consistency of peanut butter in its unaltered state, with lighter oils and solvents. Though the particular cocktail of substances used to dilute bitumen, commonly known as diluents, are considered proprietary company information, it is widely known that they generally include the carcinogen benzene.

    Without this processing, the bitumen would be simply too thick to move. The resulting product, diluted bitumen, or "dilbit," is roughly the same consistency as conventional crude, allowing it to be pumped and shipped in similar ways.

    - See more at:

  35. jerry 2014.10.30

    Thanks mfi for the links and to all for the information that should have been brought up in the rebuttals to rounds and his bs. I still cannot find where the existing Keystone has paid anything to the counties it goes through nor to the state of South Dakota. Is that public information or do they fail to pay anything?

  36. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    Douglas Wiken; you are right about the revenue to the schools. During the original PUC hearings on the KXL a Michael Kenyon, with the SD Dept. of Revenue gave testimony about the estimated revenue that counties would receive, he used Harding County as a case study. State aid to education is partly based on local effort, as local effort increases state aid drops. If the KXL is built then Harding Co. would have to give the first $500,000 it receives from the KXL taxes back to the state because of increased local effort. Michael Kenyon's testimony is at, the original KXL docket number is HP09-001, search for Kenyon.

  37. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    Jerry, I have seen the information in the South Dakota press about what the counties are receiving from the KXL but I just don't remember where. I am fairly sure that my assertion that that property taxes paid by TC dropped almost $1 million in one year due to depreciation is correct, from about $7 million down to about $6 million.

  38. mike from iowa 2014.10.30

    Gonna log off for awhile. I have gout in right hand/wrist and am right-handed. OUCH!!! It hurts to look.

  39. jerry 2014.10.30

    Thanks for the information. 6 million will hardly cover the costs of any real tax reduction for the counties as that would be about 1 million per county that has been plundered. Why would they pay more for this, when they actually pay nothing for what is proven as their track record in South Dakota? After reading about what Jackson County and Buffalo County are all about with the way they run things, I think that voters should not only run those folks out of office but also take a look at the counties that think this XL is gonna make them any kind of tax relief, and do the same with them. It is clear then that this is a scam just like the EB-5.

  40. Jenny 2014.10.30

    Anyone that's still on the fence with who to vote for as Senator should watch this debate. Body language is everything. The most amusing parts were the times Gordon Howie was going after Rounds on EB-5, and Rounds would just not look Howie in the face, kind of like the embarrassed hand caught in the cookie jar moment for Rounds. The other candidates all had good eye contact at the camera except Rounds, who had shifty eyes a lot of the time.
    Who would have known Howie is as good a debater as he is. If he was not as extreme right-wing and had more campaign money and name recognition, I seriously think he would be giving Rounds a run for his money.

  41. Les 2014.10.30

    Lower power rates because local demand pales in comparison to the XL pumps and it brings averaging peak down which is where high cost power comes from. It will cost some for power infrastructure regardless of what Trans can and promotional power folks say.

  42. jerry 2014.10.30

    Thanks mfi, appreciate it. I keep seeing a box of rocks while comparing the sense in them to the sense of the county commissioners along with the South Dakota legislature and with the leadership there. I conclude, the box of rocks wins!

  43. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    Les, I don't know if you are saying that the KXL will lead to lower power rates? If so then I would have to disagree, the power lines to the pumping stations are dedicated lines and local users will get no benefit in that regard. Have local power rates been the case where Keystone 1 crosses? If that is the case then I am guessing that TransCanada would be touting that in their ever present ads across the state. In that same vein if the counties along Keystone 1 were receiving the huge tax revenues that TC had promised then TC would also be trumpeting that in the same ads. I am guessing that TC will be competing for the same limited supply of power available that you and I use, rates are more likely to go up than to go down.

  44. Paul Seamans 2014.10.30

    Should have been "lower power rates" rather than "local power rates".

  45. PrairieLady - Gayle 2014.10.30

    If the Keystone XL is built, who is responsible for the cleanup when it leaks? I have yet to see that addressed anywhere. It is not if it leaks, it is when it leaks.

  46. jerry 2014.10.30

    The taxpayers are responsible for the clean up and the leaks as always. The oil companies pay a little bit to cover the crap up, much like a cat in a litter box, and then it is business as usual. They also enforce a no fly zone over the leak to keep those pesky cameras away from the devastation .

  47. Jenny 2014.10.30

    The SD boys running last night were more entertaining than MN Vikings football. Howie scored several touchdowns and Rounds was penalized more times than could be counted. Howie is the surprise pro bowl player of the year. Pressler is ready to retire and Weiland is average at best. :)

  48. Jenny 2014.10.30

    The SD boys running for Senate at last night's debate(meant to say)

  49. Joe Lowe 2014.10.30

    Here is the link to the Enbridge 2010 spill .
    Good reading.

  50. Francis Schaffer 2014.10.30

    I admire this about the EB-5 program in ND/MN

    Processing Packaging Plant Expansion
    Company: An industry leading manufacturer of packaging products that is remodeling and expanding their plant with high-tech/high volume equipment.
    Investment Amount: $8,000,000
    Total Number of Investors: 16
    Job Creation: This project will create 394 jobs but only 160 are needed to fulfill the EB-5 job requirement.
    Planned Exit:Via a share buyback within 5 years with a 5% coupon enabling investors to exit with $625,000 in cash for their $500,000 investment.

    I was very surprised they showed an exit plan of paying the investors back with interest, a novel concept compared to the 'common sense' SD method!

  51. Les 2014.10.31

    the huge load of xl flattens peak power and lowers cost to the provider. that is fact Paul. there will be infrastructure cost to the local provider nomatter wht they say.

Comments are closed.