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Is Orrin Slipping?

Published May 23, 2012 9:58 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The efforts to put heat on Sen. Orrin Hatch to debate Dan Liljenquist got a little pointed recently when a Liljenquist supporter created a Facebook group questioning if the 78-year-old senator was dodging debates to hide his senility.

Alan Mortensen, a prominent attorney who had previously offered to foot the bill to stage a debate in Washington, created the group called "Is Hatch afraid to debate because of Dementia?" last week, putting front-and-center a topic that has been whispered about for some time.

A Hatch spokeswoman, Evelyn Call, posted her thoughts on the page: "This may be the most despicable [Facebook] group in existence. Way to really lower the bar in Utah politics."

Mortensen changed the name of the group this week to "Why Is Hatch Afraid to Debate?" explaining that some thought the original title was too mean-spirited. But don't be too surprised if you hear the dementia rumor continuing to make the rounds in political circles.

— Robert GehrkeTwitter: @RobertGehrke