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Republican Kurt Bills says he could back tax increase

Perhaps raising some eyebrows among those in his party, the GOP U.S. Senate candidate said he would be willing to support a tax increase if it were part of a bigger plan to cut the nation’s budget deficit, the Pioneer Press reports.

“I don’t care if I have to have a verbal or physical confrontation with Grover Norquist,” Bills said at an appearance at the University of Minnesota, referring to the conservative activist who leads the group Americans for Tax Reform. Norquist has convinced most congressional Republicans – including Bills – to sign an anti-tax increase pledge.

Bills’ stance would put him at odds with many Republicans in Congress. Larry Jacobs, director of the university’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, said Bills’ comment was stunning.

Bills also talked civil liberties during his appearance, saying the treatment of a filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie that has sparked protests across the Middle East raises concerns, MPR reports. He stressed that he does not agree with the content of the controversial film, MPR says.

Polls show Bills is running well behind incumbent opponent Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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April 18, 2014