What a Montana farmer could teach Romney and Obama

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is in a heated race for re-election, but he's not afraid to tackle the thorny issues that Romney and Obama are terrified to touch

Dana Liebelson

In Washington, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana is largely known for two things: Competing in one of the most closely watched races in the Senate, and his devotion to Montana beef. Millions of dollars have been flowing into Tester's race, where he's neck-and-neck with Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), an extreme conservative who stands against everything from women's health programs to putting the gray wolf on the endangered species list.

But there's much more to Tester than his race against Rehberg (not to mention the Democrat's idiosyncratic habit of packing Montana beef in a cooler and bringing it to D.C.). Tester is a senator with bipartisan appeal, a lawmaker who champions the kinds of important issues that Mitt Romney and President Obama meekly avoid. The presidential candidates could learn quite a bit from this third-generation Montana farmer:

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