Romney's big day. Huntsman note: equality for all. Utah transit is tops.
Happy Thursday. Former and potentially future presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a make-it-or-break-it moment today when he addresses his plan to repeal and replace the Democrats' health care reform law. It's also a moment where he needs to stake out some space on his own Massachusetts health law that's causing some concerns with conservatives. The LA Times takes a good look at it: [LATimes], and Politico's Kasie Hunt notes that Romney will try to change the discussion: [Politico].
-> The speech, being given in Michigan, starts at 2 p.m. Eastern, noon Mountain Time.
Topping the news: A new study ranks Salt Lake the third best metropolitan area out of 100 nationally on having a transit system that links people with their job sites. Provo was ranked ninth and Ogden 11th. [Trib]
-> A Pennsylvania congressman wants to cut funding for 100 cities, including SLC, because they won't enforce immigration laws. [DNews]
Tweet of the day: From @HollyontheHill: "Newt Gingrich announced he is running for POTUS today. I thought is was a story from the Onion. Seriously."
2012 watch: Could Jon Huntsman Jr.'s pro-civil unions stance be a deal-killer with conservatives if he jumps into the presidential race? The Tribune's Robert Gehrke explores how the governor came to his position, representing a sharp break with GOP orthodoxy. [Trib]
-> Huntsman will be returning -- briefly -- to Utah at the end of the month. [Trib]
-> The St. Pete Times asked Huntsman about his support for the stimulus, civil unions and a cap-and-trade program: "Practically every candidate in the race has a similar history if they served as governor. That's what governors do, they wrestle with the issues, they find solutions and they move the agenda forward. At the appropriate time we'll talk about all of these issues, while remembering that our party is a big tent party. We lose when we try to become exclusive to one particular set of issues." [StPeteTimes]
-> The New Republic looks at the difference between generations of Mormons like Huntsman and Romney. [TNR]
-> Romney has positioned himself to raise a big load of cash and Utah is probably a key source. [DNews]
Making headlines: Sen. Mike Lee's Jell-O social actually drew news coverage. [Politico]
Tonight's place to be: The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Brigham Young University Political Affairs Society is hosting an event on "Beyond BYU" featuring a keynote speech by Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona. Yours truly and colleague Matt Canham will also be there to answer questions (and field complaints about the main stream media). Capitol Visitors Center, 7 p.m.
Well, not so much: Cherilyn Eagar wrote an email to supporters yesterday defending the state's caucus-convention system: "Over the past two election cycles, the Republican grassroots delegates in Utah succeeded in unseating two strong Republican incumbents. Using this caucus-convention system, in 2008, 1,170 delegates unseated six-term Congressman Chris Cannon (replaced by Congressman Jason Chaffetz)." Except, well, Chaffetz beat Cannon in a primary, not at a convention.
Where are they?
In other news: State auditors are set to release a not-so-nice report on the DABC. [ABC4]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the real estate market. [Trib]
-> Peg McEntee says a majority of Utahns are right -- the state should dump the caucus-convention system and go to a direct primary for picking nominees. [Trib]
-> Utah's new state ethics commission is in uncharted territory as it tries to develop its role. [UtahPolicy]
-> A new Hatch bill would bar people from using government assistance on vices. [TheHill]
-> Washington County Water Conservancy District's work on a dam project will disturb an important Indian historic site, say Paiute leaders. [Trib]
-> Chaffetz calls the U.S. disaster relief effort in Haiti "pathetic and disappointing." [Trib]
-> The open-records reform working group hopes to complete its effort by June. [Herald]
-> The family of Brian Cardall, who died after being tasered, applauds a resolution passed by the Legislature encouraging police departments to better train officers on dealing with mentally ill people. [Trib]
-> Homeless numbers in Utah are on the decline. [Trib]
-> Salt Lake County makes its rejection of a mountain coaster at Snowbird official. [Trib]
-> Granite School District is reacting to yet another report of students with guns. [Trib]
-> Newly legalized fireworks in Utah come with user instructions. [Trib]
-> A new law meant to curb illegal foreclosures won't change the way Bank of America does business -- even though the banking giant's practices were the target of the legislation. [Trib]
-> That whole gold as legal tender thing Utah did is catching on -- this time in South Carolina. [WACH]
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-- Thomas Burr
with editor Dan Harrie
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