Obama appoints Republican U.S. attorney for Utah. Herbert in Iraq. Hannity backs Hatch.
Happy Wednesday. After more than 18 months of suspense, President Barack Obama makes a pick for Utah's top federal prosecutor -- and it's a Republican. Democrats in Utah are none to happy about that and wonder if there's some secret deal with Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. [Trib]
Topping the news: Gov. Gary Herbert takes a trip to Iraq to visit troops and talk to military leaders. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [StandEx] He was also joined by the governors of Nevada and Kentucky: [LexingtonHerald] [LVSun].
-> Reporters in Utah wanting to ask the governor about his trip were forced to submit questions through KNRS, though most of those asked, Robert Gehrke notes, ended up being softballs from Herbert's spokeswoman. [Trib]
-> The best hope for a balanced budget amendment has slipped away -- but it's not the last best hope, says a determined Sen. Lee. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @daveweigel: "Orrin Hatch's speeches make more sense when you realize they're all directed at UT GOP convention delegates."
Sign up SLC: Salt Lake City is looking for volunteers to help with its redistricting effort. You can sign up here: [SLCgov.com]
Hatch's big grab: Sean Hannity yesterday: "I'm not sure if Clarence Thomas would be on the bench today but for you," Hannity said. "I don't think guys like John Roberts and Sam Alito would be there either. All the times you have been fighting for these balanced budgets over the years ... what you've done for the Supreme Court which is impacting this country literally now for generations and decades ... is why I've endorsed you for your race in the Senate."
In other news: Hatch -- despite his position as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee -- will not be on the super committee being formed to come up with the next round of deficit reduction that could get into cuts of Medicare and reform of the U.S. tax code. [Trib] And the foregone conclusion that Hatch and Lee voted against the debt-limit deal. [ABC4] [DNews] [Herald]
-> The debt-deal fallout in Utah is hard to see until it settles, officials say. [Trib]
-> PBS's Newshour looks at Utah's health care exchange as a model for the rest of the states. [PBS]
-> Saratoga Springs Mia Love is looking at a possible congressional bid. [Trib]
-> Competition or not, Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker is hauling in the campaign cash. [Trib]
-> Sen. Hatch says he was tea party before there was a tea party. [Politico]
-> State health grants are way down, meaning low-income Utahns could have trouble obtaining medical care. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly recalls the class of former Utah first lady Colleen Bangerter, who recently passed away. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley calls the debt deal a travesty of a sham of a mockery. [Trib]
-> Utah's budget outlook is getting better. [UtahPolicy]
-> Celebrations to mark the opening of the Utah Transit Authority's new TRAX lines are well under way days before the actual opening on Sunday. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]
-> The proposal for a new convention center hotel in Salt Lake County resurfaces. [Trib]
-> Former 4th District Judge Anthony Schofield will conduct an ethics probe of Provo Councilman Steve Turley. [Trib]
-> Regulators now say a decision is weeks away on EnergySolutions' plan to bring "down-blended" radioactive waste into Utah for disposal. [Trib]
-> Residents of Murray are being offered one-time grants to help with this year's flooding. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The Sutherland Institute launches an effort to identify government waste and abuse following sighting of a Utah Valley University vehicle at Disneyland. [Trib]
2012 watch: Jon Huntsman says he was trying to compliment Michele Bachmann and meant no slight to say she is photogenic. [LATimes]
-> Both Huntsman and Mitt Romney are selling/giving away t-shirts made in the USA, unlike some of their competitors. [ABCNews]
-> Mary Kaye Huntsman hits the road to stump for her husband. [Lakeland]
-> The LDS Church is trying to stay out of the politics of this race. [WSJ] $
-> Mitt Romney's Justice advisory committee includes a name with which we're all familiar: Robert Bork. [Politico]
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-- Thomas Burr
with editor Dan Harrie