Biden in Utah Today — Come Join Us to Protest ObamaCare!

Click here to RSVP for tonight’s protest.

You had me at “dinner will be provided”:

Vice President Biden is in Utah tonight for a fundraiser, and we would like your help! Meet at the state Party HQ at 5pm tonight for pizza and then we’ll go up to the Park City area to protest the Obama-Biden Policies. For questions, please call 801-533-9777.

Although this is last-minute notice, a group of concerned citizens opposed to Obama’s policies and his “Affordable Health Care Act” are organizing a stand outside the fundraiser tonight to show that Utah does NOT support Obama. If you can join in, please meet at 117 East South Temple, Salt Lake, at 5 p.m. to coordinate our efforts. Dinner will be provided there. If you can’t make it there, meet at 6:15 p.m. in Park City at the Last Samurai Restaurant parking lot, 6520 Hwy 224, Park City, UT.


Mitt Takes a Break to Celebrate the 10-Year Anniversary of the SLC Winter Olympics

SALT LAKE CITY — An emotional Mitt Romney clearly relished taking a brief break from the presidential campaign trail Saturday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Winter Games.

“I love you guys,” he said, beaming at the hundreds of Games staff members and volunteers gathered in the Union Pacific depot at The Gateway to hear from their former leader.

The crowd, many wearing their brightly colored jackets and other gear from the Games, cheered and chuckled as Romney reminisced about his time at the helm of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

With local and national reporters in attendance, however, Romney made sure to thank the crowd repeatedly for their contribution in making the scandal-scarred Games a resounding success.

“There’s power in unity,” Romney said. “We came together as a group of people not caring about who got credit, but caring about putting on the best Games in the history of sport and you did that.”

Later, at a special “Stars on Ice” show at Energy Solutions Arena, Romney said the community’s hard work showcased “the character and the passion of the people of Utah.”

He told the arena audience that he loved them, too, and “the experience that we shared together,” noting that when he took over the Games in 1999, he feared no one would sign up to volunteer.

Instead, nearly twice as many people as needed came forward. Some gave millions to bolster the Games’ budget, he said, while others worked for 17 days straight without pay or even tickets to events.

His comments came as Democrats and even one of his Republican opponents are raising questions about whether he’s overstated his role in turning around the troubled 2002 Games.

A trio of former local government elected officials, all Democrats, held a press conference on the steps of the Salt Lake City-County Building earlier Saturday to criticize Romney’s tenure at SLOC.

Romney is guilty of “arrogance and of acting as if we couldn’t possibly do it ourselves. He had to come in to save us and ride in on his white horse,” former Salt Lake City Councilwoman Sydney Fonnesbeck said.

Former Salt Lake City Councilwoman Joanne Milner and former Salt Lake County Councilman Joe Hatch offered similar accounts based on their experiences with Romney.

“He was not the savior of the 2002 Olympics,” Milner said. “It was the people of Utah.”

A video released Friday by the Democratic National Committee also accused Romney of accepting the same kind of federal bailout for the Olympics that he now criticizes on the campaign trail.

But state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said Utah’s minority party has “no gripe with Mitt Romney’s handling of the Olympics. He did a commendable job. I don’t think it’s useful for the Utah Democratic Party to say anything other than the truth.”

The DNC reportedly lobbied hard for state party support of their national effort to discredit Romney’s claim of turning around the Salt Lake Games, a key component of his campaign, even reportedly using a top adviser of President Barack Obama.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thanks to the remarkably successful Games in 2002, Salt Lake City may put in a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee only has tapped three winter sites twice – Lake Placid (1932, ’80), St. Moritz (1928, ’48), and Innsbruck in an emergency (1964, ’76). Looks like we might find out next year.

Watch amateur video from one of Mitt’s speeches from yesterday below the fold. Click here to continue reading

Romney Talks Jobs & Economy Before Big Crowd in Utah

'Photo of the Day' on Mitt Romney's website features picture taken by MRC's own Luke Gunderson at Romney's event held at Hires Big H fast food restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT. Mitt and Ann Romney are standing in a pick-up bed in the background. June 24, 2011

Things were hopping at Hires Big H in Salt Lake City, Utah yesterday!

Mitt and Ann Romney, accompanied by sons Josh and Craig, were in town to address a throng of excited supporters prior to holding a hamburger ‘n fries roundtable discussion for small business owners at a locally owned fast food restaurant.

The event marked Governor Romney’s first official visit to The Beehive State since announcing his presidential candidacy.

Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney couldn’t resist grabbing a few more French fries as he was leaving a campaign stop Friday at Hires Big H that included a meeting with local business and political leaders.

The front-runner in the GOP presidential race jokingly explained after posing for a photo with one of the hundreds of supporters who turned out to see him that he didn’t smile because he was still chewing.

It was the rare moment during his nearly 90-minute appearance that the former leader of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City wasn’t beaming back at the crowd gathered at the popular drive-in to cheer on his second White House bid.

“Mitt not Jon,” someone chanted briefly as Romney shook hands, posed for pictures and hugged children after delivering a speech from the bed of a red Dodge pickup truck that criticized President Barack Obama for failing America, especially on the economy.

“The American people are struggling,” Romney said. “We need to have a president who has had a job if we’re going to be able to create jobs. I’m excited and anxious to get America growing again, to put people back to work.”

There was no mention in the speech of the other Republican candidate running for president who shares Romney’s Mormon faith and ties to Utah, former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

Asked whether he thought Huntsman’s entry into the race would affect his popularity in Utah, Romney told the Deseret News, “It’s great to be back in Utah, to be campaigning here. I’ve got great support. Jon is a friend, and I wish him the very best.”
Huntsman also had a Friday fundraiser scheduled but moved the Alta Club event to Tuesday. The former governor and U.S. ambassador to China is also expected to hold a public event that will be announced Monday.

(emphasis added)

Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell was among the roundtable participants.

Romney also attended an earlier fundraiser held in a private home in Orem, Utah and an evening reception at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Luke Gunderson’s Photo of the Day is featured here. Way to go, Luke!

► Jayde Wyatt

Natl Assoc of Evangelicals in Utah, Meet with LDS Leader & UT Gov Gary Herbert

While Governor Romney was unable to meet with Florida’s Governor Rick Scott today due to foggy weather, spring-like 65 degree weather enabled evangelicals to gather today for their semiannual meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals – in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Ongoing religious fence mending may be the product of the first-time foray of the naE in Salt Lake City as evangelical leaders plan to meet with an LDS leader and Utah Governor Gary Herbert:

Evangelicals meet: Could be heaven for Mitt

The decision by a national group of evangelicals to hold a major meeting in predominantly Mormon Utah carries the potential for continued reconciliation between two constituencies that have viewed each other skeptically — and a political upside for Latter-day Saints presidential hopefuls like Mitt Romney.

The National Association of Evangelicals is holding its semiannual board meeting in Salt Lake City on Thursday — the first time the group has met in Utah. The association chose to gather in Utah precisely to open the door to improved relations between the religious groups.

The board plans to meet with a Mormon leader, in what the evangelicals are framing as an opportunity for “dialogue” that will “deepen our understanding of the Mormon faith and contribute to the ongoing work of evangelicals in Utah.”

The gathering also has clear implications for 2012 presidential politics, with two leading Republican White House contenders still facing the prospect of influential Evangelical Christians in key early-voting states viewing them warily.

The tensions exploded in 2007 when Mike Huckabee was quoted in The New York Times saying of Romney: “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” Huckabee later apologized.

Huckabee, an evangelical favorite who won the Iowa caucuses last time, was the clearest beneficiary of that dynamic. But continued political reconciliation between the two religious groups could help Huntsman and Romney — and at least partly close off an angle for Huckabee should he decide to run, experts told POLITICO.

(my emphasis)
(By the way, Huckabee’s habit of speaking first and later apologizing isn’t going unnoticed.)

A group who supported Huckabee placed robo calls during the last presidential primary process which were another source of religious finagling that resulted in Governor Romney’s inquiry regarding the legality of the automatically generated phone tactics.

The article continues:

'The Christus' statue at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, UT (North Visitors Center)

“While [Mormon candidates] have been accepted in their own states, on the national level it looks like those barriers are beginning to come down,” said Brett O’Donnell, a Republican communications strategist who consults to faith-based groups and worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “If those barriers were decreased, a Mormon candidate would probably do better in Iowa and South Carolina.”
Mark DeMoss, an evangelical Republican strategist and longtime Romney adviser, said whatever suspicious existed of Mormon candidates are already fading with the passage of time.
“Evangelicals and Mormons have fundamental doctrinal differences in terms of their faith, but historically have been very compatible and even cooperative on various moral, social and political issues,” he said. “Politically, evangelicals have more in common with most Mormons than we do with liberal Southern Baptists” like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

O’Donnell agreed that the suspicions are on the wane.

Read the entire article here.

Religious groups recognize the necessity of uniting in the political arena to challenge legislation fomented by the alarming growth of secularism in America. The passing of California’s Prop 8 in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage is an example of the power of multi-religious coalitions.

Today’s meeting could go a long way in forming new relationships and a conservative collaboration capable of moving America forward in significant ways at the ballot box. And, it could help a Romney presidential candidacy.

Additional links:

Evangelical leaders in Utah; will meet with an LDS leader

United States Constitution – Article VI

Mitt Romney’s Faith in America speech

► Jayde Wyatt

After Campaigning in Arizona, Mitt Romney Heads to Utah for PAC Fundraiser

Nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mtns, night falls upon Salt Lake City, Utah.

After campaigning for GOP candidates in Arizona today, Governor Romney will then continue his western wayfaring with a swing north to Utah to raise money for his Free and Strong America PAC. His activities include a roundtable discussion with PAC supporters and a fundraising reception later this evening.

Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney will be in Utah Tuesday to raise money for his political action committee at a private event whose hosts include Gov. Gary Herbert.

Herbert, however, won’t see any of the cash collected at the up to $2,500 a person evening reception being held at the Grand America Hotel for Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC, which helps elect GOP candidates nationwide.

Although Romney already endorsed Herbert earlier this year, the governor’s campaign announced Monday evening Romney “”will make a statement offering his full support” for Herbert in this year’s special gubernatorial election
In Utah, it costs $500 a person to attend Wednesday’s reception or $2,500 to also participate in a VIP reception that includes a photo with Romney.

With all the lend-a-hand campaign donations Romney is giving to conservatives across the country, let’s help his worthy work by adding to his PAC’s coffers.

Hope Gov Romney gets a good night’s rest because he’s headed further north to Idaho tomorrow morning!

► Jayde Wyatt

Recap of Mitt Romney’s Book Tour Stop in Utah (Pics and Videos)

On March 13th my brothers (Luke and Aaron) and I attended the Salt Lake City stop of Mitt Romney’s No Apology Tour. We bought tickets for the event, and we got one Gold ticket so I could cover the Gold reception before the main event – it turned out that we got press passes the day before the event, thanks to Aaron sending an email request to the Hinckley Institute. The press passes were very nice. They allowed us to roam the aisles and get close up to the front during the event to get some photos and even some video on my little hand-held video camera. (Karen said that we were never in our seats.)

Not sure exactly what to expect, my brothers and I did some preparations to promote this site while we were there knowing there would be thousands of Mitt Romney fans everywhere. The doors opened at 4PM for the 7PM event and there were plenty of people there already to talk to. We brought up several hundred of our Mitt ’12 bumper stickers as incentives for people to sign an email list. With the help of two willing volunteers James Taylor and Eric Hatch, we were able to gather a few hundred emails. We will be contacting them soon with info about our site and an invitation to subscribe to our blog feed via email.

MRC crew

The MRC crew in Utah: Aaron, Nate, Luke, Eric and James

I attended the Gold Reception before the main event. There were a number of familiar faces, but I mostly took pictures and video while snacking on the food. It was there that I ran into long-time friend and co-blogger ( Ann Marie Curling and her husband Joel – it was great to see her and catch up with life since they moved to Utah from Kentucky. I did briefly chat with Josh Romney – I asked him if he had any connections and could get me a No Apology t-shirt that all the volunteers were wearing. Unfortunately he didn’t have any connections. Luke, Aaron, Ben, and James were troopers and gathered all the emails while I was up hobnobbing. Thanks guys.

Mitt’s comments were as astute as usual. And Ann Romney was gracious as always. Beyond that there is not much more I can say about it that isn’t revealed better in the videos below.

Click here to see our gallery of 14 pictures of this event on our Facebook page.

Video #1: Prep. Short video shows you a little about how we make our Mitt ’12 bumper stickers. It’s a nice little ad for us too. :)

Video #2: From the reception: Ann and Mitt both speak, crowd shots, and singing happy birthday to Mitt

Video #3: Main Event: Selected clips, Q&A, crowd shots. Includes questions about Health Care.

Video #4: 12 year old asks Romney if he’s going to run for president.

(I already embedded this video in another post. Romney gives a great response the question. Click here to see it.)

Sorry for multiple videos. I honestly couldn’t think of what to cut so I ended up putting in all four. It was a great event to attend. If you live near a city which Romney will be visiting on his book tour, make the effort to get there. You won’t regret it!

~Nate Gunderson