Hatch: Obama will use Mormon faith against Romney. Husband-wife lawmaking team? Hatch says president lives in 'fantasy land.'
Happy Wednesday. Sen. Orrin Hatch told a crowd yesterday that President Barack Obama's re-election campaign will "throw the Mormon church" at Mitt Romney as a way to attack him during the general election. Hatch fingered top advisers David Axelrod and David Plouffe as the ones who would likely try to use fear about the LDS faith to undercut Romney's bid. [Politico]
-> In response, the Obama camp reiterated a previous statement: "Attacking a candidate's religion is out of bounds, and our campaign will not engage in it."
-> A married couple is seeking to be Utah's first husband-wife team to be elected to the state Legislature. [Trib]
-> Check out a live stream of today's debate between the top three Republican candidates -- Sen. Orrin Hatch, former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist and state Rep. Chris Herrod -- in Utah's U.S. Senate race: [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @PoliticoRoger: "Based on Obama's speech to the AP and Romney's victory speech Tuesday, this might be a better general election than I thought it would be."
Happy birthday: To Dan Hauser.
In other news: Rivals are not disputing a Hatch campaign poll showing the incumbent senator in a strong position going into the convention. [Politico]
-> The Utah Attorney General's Office and the court-appointed administrator of a polygamous sect's property trust are starting to negotiate the payment of more than $5.5 million in past-due debts. [Trib]
-> Former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is slated to give the commencement address at Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah at the end of April. [DNews]
-> Sen. Hatch accuses Obama of living in a "fantasy land" where everything he likes is constitutional and everything he dislikes, well, you get the picture. [Politico]
-> The LDS Church's Michael Otterson explains to non-Mormons what LDS temples are for. [WaPost]
-> A billboard on I-15 asks why a Mormon leader called LDS Church members a "war-like" people, and the board's creators say LDS scripture is against war. [Trib]
-> Former Provo councilman Steve Turley, accused of 10 felony fraud charges, is set to face a preliminary hearing June 20. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley gives his take on the Supreme Court conservatives' "naked until proven innocent" approach. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly questions the vulnerability of Mormon genealogy to identity theft. [Trib]
-> The public weighs in on proposed changes to pollution rules, which would update a 30-year-old regulation. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert signs a bill authorizing the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. license plates, which will sell for $35. [Fox13]
-> A new campaign finance law for cities and counties won't affect the Salt Lake County mayoral race because the county already has similar restrictions. [UtahPolicy]
-> County-by-county health rankings in Utah show Morgan County standing out on top with Carbon County at the bottom. The Beehive State itself ranks high at the 7th healthiest state in the station. [ABC4]
2012 Watch: Romney plans to start joint fundraising with the Republican National Committee, as the candidate begins to shift his focus away from the rivals within his own party and on to a fight against President Barack Obama. [Reuters]
-> A new e-book released by Politico's Mike Allen and Evan Thomas reveals an inside look at the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. [Trib] Mary Kaye Huntsman, meanwhile, questioned the motives of campaign advisers, one of whom fires back at the candidate. [Buzzfeed]
-> Ron Paul says he's unsure if he'll endorse the eventual Republican nominee, convinced his rivals haven't sufficiently committed to individual liberty and have opposing views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [USNews]
-> Obama uses Newt Gingrich's own words against him at an AP editors luncheon, saying the former speaker thinks Rep. Paul Ryan's new budget proposal is "right-wing engineering." [Politico]
-> Santorum let off some steam during his "spring break" for a week of bowling, brats and bocce ball. [ABCNews]
-> Romney blames Obama for rising gas prices. [LATimes]
Where are they?
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-- Thomas Burr and Laura Schmitz