News roundup: Romney and Obama in a statistical dead heat
Published: January 18, 2012 07:25AM
Updated: January 18, 2012 07:24AM
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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at the Florence Civic Center in Florence, S.C., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

Romney releases his tax rate. The U. narrows its presidential search. Only 1/3 participate in Utah caucuses.

Happy Wednesday. SLC Mayor Ralph Becker dropped some big news in his state of the city address, announcing plans for a massive $1.8 billion overhaul of Salt Lake City International Airport, paid for by federal funds and user fees. [Trib] [Fox13] [ABC4] [DNews]

Topping the news: Mitt Romney says his effective tax rate is "about" 15 percent because most of his money is in investments, translating to nearly half that of average Americans. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [ABCNews]

-> While his business success is a central point in his campaign, Romney has not shown a talent for sympathizing with people who are far less off. [LATimes]

-> Several web companies including Wikipedia protest the anti-piracy bill SOPA by halting services today, but Twitter won't join the ranks. [WaPost]

Tweet of the day: From @BennyRaskin: Not democrat. Not republican. Not LDS. Not gay. It is our values. It is Utah.

Happening today: Gov. Gary Herbert appears at the Utah State University College Republicans' "Pizza and Politics" event at the engineering building at 4 p.m. It's in room 103. And tea party leader David Kirkham will announce his run against Herbert.

New hire: Pat Condon is a retired Air Force Major General who once commanded the Ogden Air Logistics Center. He is now Sen. Mike Lee's senior policy advisor focusing on military issues.

In other news: The University of Utah announces two finalist candidates for president of the institution: U. Senior Vice President for academic affairs David Pershing and University of Kentucky senior v.p. Kumble R. Subbaswamy. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Only one-third of Utahns know how the caucus system works and have participated in it. [UtahPolicy]

-> Becker uses his state of the city address to tout a new livability initiative. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly reports that Utah Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis is not leaving to head the Human Rights Campaign, saying he is committed to sticking out his job of trying to boost the minority party in one of the nation's reddest states. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley's take on Huntsman and his future. [Trib]

-> WVC Mayor Mike Winder is prepared to launch his bid for Salt Lake County mayor despite the Richard Burwash episode. [DNews]

-> Only one Utah Democrat signed a legal brief supporting the new health reform law, but that doesn't mean state Dems don't back it in force. [Trib]

-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz is one of 12 Republicans who have repeatedly voted against the position staked out by House Speaker John Boehner. [TheHill]

-> The Utah Department of Transportation will start seeking monetary donations to hire pros to do litter cleanup on busy highways. [Trib]

-> The Provo Municipal Council voted to wipe $5.4 million in IProvo-related debt from the books by declaring it unrecoverable debt. [Trib]

-> A Democrat and Republican in the Legislature file bills to change the way the Division of Children and Family Services does business. [Trib]

-> Rep. Brian Doughty, D-Salt Lake City, will push legislation to expand health insurance for public employees, allowing them to share coverage with same-sex partners. [Trib]

-> Questar is seeking a natural gas rate reduction that would reduce the average homeowner bill by about $60 a year. [Trib]

-> LaVarr Webb says changes to the liquor laws could be one of the major fights in the legislative session that starts Monday. [UtahPolicy]

2012 watch: The Tribune editorial board gives Jon Huntsman a pat on the back on his way out of the presidential contest and a bit of advice -- next time he should consult with his daughters about putting together a catchy campaign. [Trib]

-> Ron Paul's campaign sues the unnamed makers of a video purporting to be from his supporters and questioning whether Huntsman is the Manchurian Candidate. [Bloomberg]

-> President Barack Obama will return to an outdoor stadium to accept the Democratic nomination. His big speech will be at the Bank of America stadium on Sept. 6. [CBSNews] [BusinessWeek]

-> Romney and Obama are in a statistical dead heat in new poll. [WaPost] [Globe] And another survey shows Romney starting to pull away from his GOP competitors. [CBSNews]

-> In Utah, Romney would dominate and Huntsman would come in fourth. [UtahPolicy]

-> Romney has said he wished super PACs didn't exist, but that hasn't stopped him from raising money for one that supports him. [LATimes]

-> Europeans brush off Romney's constant criticism on the campaign trail. [WaPost]

-> Colbert's super PAC makes a negative ad about negative ads. [Colbert]

-> A S.C. senator rescinds an endorsement of Rick Perry and backs Rick Santorum for his support of traditional families. [CNN]

-> Newt Gingrich says his strong debate will be a "strong factor" in pushing him forward in the South Carolina primary. [FoxNews]

-> Santorum accuses Romney of playing "dirty" politics after attack ads. [LATimes] [CBSNews]

-> An evangelical group, that doesn't believe Romney's Mormon faith lines up with their own, could boost Santorum in S.C. [USAToday]

Where are they?

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com.

-- Matt Canham
Twitter.com/mattcanham
with Dan Harrie and Laura Schmitz