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Boehner raises money for Love, says nation can't weather more Obama

Published August 16, 2012 9:01 am

House speaker worries she won't have enough to beat Matheson.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

House Speaker John Boehner urged Mia Love supporters to give their money and support to the campaign to help Republicans keep control of the House and him at the helm.

"America can't handle four more years of Barack Obama and the team of know-nothings in Washington," Boehner told a group of about 100 supporters at a fundraiser for Love. "It's time for us to go out and recruit the American people who believe in the American dream to go out and vote."

Boehner said he was campaigning for Love for two reasons — first, because she would be a great congresswoman, and second, she would support him while Love's opponent, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, would vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

"The only way she's going to get that gavel out of my hand is to pry it from my cold stone hand," Boehner said of Pelosi.

But Boehner said he is concerned whether Love will have the money to beat Matheson. While the national party has set money aside for the race, he said, trial lawyers and labor unions will rally to try to help Matheson stay in Congress.

He urged supporters to give money and their time to help Love's campaign and "focus on one race, and that race is right here with Mia Love."

Love said Boehner has been at the forefront of the defense of Utah values and he understands that American children should not be burdened by the nation's debt.

"I'm making a commitment to you," Love said. "I'm going to stand up with the speaker and the Utah delegation and let this president know and those who support them that we're no longer going to take from the future to pay for the present. We are no longer going to allow this president and those who support him to divide us in this class warfare."

Attendees paid at least $500 to attend the luncheon with Boehner. Before that, there was a smaller roundtable for donors who gave at least $10,000. The event raised $150,000, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Utah Republican Party.

Boehner is the latest in a string of national Republican politicians who have stumped for Love or will be coming to Utah over the next few weeks to help her campaign.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, now Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, campaigned for Love in June. On Thursday, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party's 2008 nominee, will speak at a rally in West Valley City. And on Sept. 7, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be in town to help raise money for Love, as well.

Matheson has said previously that the national Republicans want Love elected because they know she will march lockstep with the party.

The Utah Democratic Party echoed that sentiment Wednesday.

"It is becoming clear that Mia will not be an independent voice in Washington," state party chairman Jim Dabakis. "She will be a pawn in the hands of the D.C. power brokers, who are paying for and running her campaign.… Of course, these insiders will expect something in return. What has Mia promised them?"

Love said afterward that she is honored by the support she has received, but insists that she is not a strict partisan and, as mayor of Saratoga Springs, works with anyone who has a good idea, regardless of their party affiliation.

"I think people are paying attention to Utah. They're starting to really understand what our values are and it's about representing Utah to Washington, not the other way around," she said. "I think that it shows that I'm going to be able to work with people. It's about trying to do what we can to get work moving forward."

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said the national support is good, but won't win the election.

"The bottom line is, these type of people coming in add some kind of focus to it but sometimes they're also distracting. The bottom line is she's still running a Utah race about Utah issues and concerns and she understands that," Bishop said. "I'm happy all these big names are coming in. They're not going to win it for her. It's her own hard work that's going to win it and she's up to it."

Sen. Orrin Hatch said beating Matheson will be tough, but he thinks Love can succeed where other Republicans have failed.

"She is the type of a person who could be a superstar. She's articulate, she's smart, she's beautiful, she's gutsy," Hatch said. "Having said that, it's not going to be easy for her to beat Jim Matheson, who is a person virtually everyone likes, including me. But there has to be a change there. There just has to be."

Boehner said he was on the 13th day of a 35-day trip across the country campaigning for Republican candidates. This evening, the speaker is headed to Billings, Mont.

Boehner also praised Ryan — who Boehner said helped put up signs for his first campaign in Ohio 22 years ago — as a good choice for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

"[Romney] could have taken a safer route, but he didn't," Boehner said. "He sent a signal to Amercans that he's going to be on offense, he's going to take the election to the [Democrats]."

Boehner said Democrats are hoping to make an issue of Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare, "Bring it on," arguing it was the Democrats who took $700 million out of Medicare to pay for "Obamacare," which he said voters don't want.

Boehner said he thinks the Romney campaign is in good shape and said that "the goal is to win the election in November. It's not to win the election on Labor Day."

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke