News roundup: Anti-Mormon billboard outside prez debate tonight
Published: October 22, 2012 07:34AM
Updated: October 22, 2012 07:34AM
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Workers enter the debate hall ahead of Monday's presidential debate between Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Final debate tonight. Athiest group attacks Mormonism. 15 days until Election Day.

Happy Monday. With two weeks left in the campaign, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney meet on stage tonight for their third and final debate of this election season. This time around, they'll discuss matters of foreign policy and it could prove to be pivotal given that the race is neck-and-neck. Romney is sure to hit Obama over the Benghazi attack and on Iran's nuclear program and Obama to tout the end of the war in Iraq and the death of Osama bin Laden. [WaPost]

-> The debate could be both key for Romney and potentially damaging since foreign policy hasn't been his strongest point. [Politico]

-> Meanwhile, an Athiest group plans to drive a "Shame on Mormonism" billboard around the debate site tonight in Florida. [Patheos] On a totally different note, a Texas church announces to its congregants to "Vote for the Mormon, not the Muslim," breaking federal law as a tax-exempt organization. [KENS5]

Topping the news: The Salt Lake Tribune officially endorsed Obama this weekend, with the editorial board praising Romney for his handling of the 2002 Winter Olympics but chastising him for ever-changing positions: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?" [Trib] The endorsement -- the second time the paper has backed Obama -- went viral. [Trib] [NPR]

-> Pat Bagley whipped up a group shot of all the candidates the Trib has endorsed. [Trib]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert's campaign is protesting challenger Peter Cooke's campaign for exploiting an I-15 reconstruction bid scandal, claiming Cooke agreed not to make political use of it. The Cooke campaign called it "fair game." [Trib]

Tweets of the day: From @WillMcAvoyACN: "The thing people forget about debating: You're not trying to convince the other guy you're right. You're trying to convince everyone else."

From @RobertGehrke: "I think the @SLTrib endorsement is just what Barack Obama needs to push him over 27 percent in Utah."

From @cressman: "On average LDS Church had received 600 missionary applications per week. Last week it received 7,000."

Congratulations: To Terry Camp, staff assistant to Sen. Orrin Hatch, on his recent engagement to Kayla Barrett. He proposed on the Speaker's Balcony at the U.S. Capitol and is set to be married on Dec. 20.

Happening today: Rep. Jim Matheson and challenger Mia Love will appear on the Rod Arquette Show (105-7FM 570AM) at 6 p.m., the first of a series of interviews with the candidates of major Utah races.

Opinion section: Paul Rolly offers up instances of pettiness within the Utah Legislature. [Trib]

-> Salt Lake City attorney Mark Alvarez touches on the vocal testimonies of illegal immigrants. [Trib]

-> Peter Seidel, a German political reporter, says Utahns benefit from a stronger European economy. [Trib]

-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb weigh in on how the presidential race will affect Utah campaigns. [DNews]

-> Ex-Sen. Bob Bennett notes that the messages sent by campaigns are not necessarily the ones received by the voters. [DNews]

Weekend in review: In District 30, an incumbent will win and an incumbent will lose, thanks to new boundaries drawn last year that force Republican Rep. Fred Cox and Democrat Rep. Janice Fisher to fight for the same seat. [Trib]

-> Scott Howell, Democratic challenger to Sen. Orrin Hatch, pledges he will serve no more than two terms, if elected. [DNews]

-> A NuSkin executive and his wife gave $1 million to Romney super PAC, House Democrats contributed to Rep. Jim Matheson's campaign and Rep. Rob Bishop donated a chunk of his campaign money to other causes. [Trib]

-> Democrat Dee Smith had to be persuaded to enter the Utah attorney general race, while Republican John Swallow has long been in the running. [DNews]

-> Millcreek residents remain divided over its potential incorporation. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly talks about a sleepy UTA employee, a "democracy" versus "republic" label mishap and tough times parking in Salt Lake City. [Trib]

-> KSL's Sunday Edition takes a look at Utah's gubernatorial campaign. [KSL]

2012 watch: The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the presidential candidates tied 47-47 percent. In mid-September, this same poll credited Obama with a five-point lead. [BusinessWeek] See the survey here: [MSNBC].

-> Republicans say the polls show Romney has the momentum going into the final stretch. [NBCNews]

-> Obama says his opponent has "Romnesia," an infliction the president says explains Romney's flip-flops and move back to the center. [WaPost] [Mother Jones]

-> Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, Bennett and Sen. Orrin Hatch could be in the running for Cabinet positions or top White House jobs if Romney wins. [NYTimes]

-> Florida Sen. Marco Rubio worries that labeling China as a currency manipulator -- something Romney has pledged to do once in office -- could be bad for American business. [TalkingPointsMemo]

-> From the you-haven't-see-anything-yet file, campaign expenditures are expected to go through the roof as Nov. 6 approaches. [CBSNews]

-> Tagg Romney fell for a faux-Jake Gyllenhaal endorsement of his father. [Gawker]

-> Saturday Night Live pokes fun at the second presidential debate and is probably worth 10 minutes of your day if you haven't watched it. [NBC]

Where are they?

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Betsy Blanchard
Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/betsyblanchard