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Senator: Terrorists Drive Taxis

September 01, 2006|From the Associated Press

BELGRADE, Mont. — Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, whose recent comments have stirred controversy, says the United States is up against a faceless enemy of terrorists who "drive taxicabs in the daytime and kill at night."

During a fundraiser Wednesday with first lady Laura Bush, the three-term Montana senator talked about terrorism, tax cuts and the money he has brought to his state.

Burns is one of the more vulnerable Senate incumbents, facing a tough challenge from Democrat Jon Tester.

He has drawn criticism in recent weeks for calling his house painter a "nice little Guatemalan man" during a June speech. Burns, whose reelection campaign is pressing for tighter immigration controls, also suggested that the man might be an illegal immigrant. The campaign later said the worker is legal.

Burns, 71, also had to apologize after confronting members of a firefighting team at the Billings airport and telling them they had done a "piss-poor job," according to a state report. In July, the hotshot crew had traveled 2,000 miles from Staunton, Va., to help dig fire lines for about a week around a 143-square-mile wildfire east of Billings.

At the campaign event with Bush, Burns talked about the war on terrorism, saying a "faceless enemy" of terrorists "drive taxicabs in the daytime and kill at night."

The campaign said Thursday that the senator was simply pointing out terrorists can be anywhere.

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