Two Montana Newspapers Urge Dem Sen. Walsh to End Campaign

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 06:06 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Newspapers in Montana's two biggest cities have bluntly urged beleaguered Democratic Sen. John Walsh — under fire for plagiarizing a college thesis — to end his Senate campaign, saying  the Iraq war veteran has blown the trust of voters.

"Walsh is finished as a U.S. Senate candidate," The Billings Gazette wrote in a Sunday editorial. "Having repeatedly said that he wants to do the honorable thing, Walsh should stop campaigning and do his utmost to serve Montanans well in the remainder of his brief Senate appointment. That is the honorable course."

The Missoulian made an equally harsh assessment of Walsh's credibility as a candidate, saying "plagiarism is a big deal" and its consequences include "a loss of trust."

"What makes the plagiarism allegations different from other criticisms is that there is simply no good explanation nor excuse for it," the editorial said. "The bottom line is, Montanans simply cannot — and won't — trust a senator who portrayed the words and ideas of others as his own for his own personal gain."

Walsh, a former lieutenant governor who was appointed to the Senate last February after Max Baucus became ambassador to China, has come under fire for a 2007 master's degree thesis at the U.S. Army War College that lifted passages from previously published papers without attribution.

The cheating was first reported by The New York Times on July 23.

Both Montana newspapers demand that Walsh end his Senate campaign, but the Missoulian suggests he also should resign his Senate seat "immediately."

The heat at home comes as the Defense Department's inspector general conducts an investigation of the cheating, and the U.S. Army War College weighs possible disciplinary action.

CNN reports that the plagiarism scandal raises the likelihood of a GOP victory in the state.

Walsh is running against Republican Rep. Steve Daines in November.

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