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Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 71.0° F  Overcast
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Can anyone talk faster than Ron Johnson?

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If this Senate thing doesn't work out, Ron Johnson has a future as an auctioneer.

In two recent appearances in Madison, the Republican U.S. senator delivered a rapid-fire PowerPoint recitation on what he sees as the dire fiscal state of the nation -- no notes, rarely a pause for breath. It was especially hard to track the numbers in the condensed version he gave at Madison Rotary on Aug. 28. Still, his message was clear: The federal government continues to spend beyond its means and amass crippling debt.

"We're putting future prosperity in real jeopardy," he said.

Johnson was personable and seemed at ease, even while acknowledging he was on enemy ground: "I hope in this crowd there might be a few on the right side."

His take on reining in entitlement spending without any mention of raising taxes for the nation's wealthiest one percent rankled some in the crowd. But more than one observer said Johnson's suggestion that single mothers choose welfare over work because of the value of government assistance was the most jarring.

Johnson also surprised more than a few in the audience when he proclaimed he was an "environmentalist" and neutral on human-induced climate change: "I don't have a belief one way or the other. I'm willing to accept the science. I'm willing to accept the facts."

Johnson was recently targeted by the League of Conservation Voters as a "climate change denier." He responded by saying in a fundraising email that the group was on an "environmental jihad."

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