Columnist: Romney must choose VP soon. Tea party wants Mitt to swing back right. 96 days to Election Day.
Happy Thursday. Columnist Roger Simon says Mitt Romney needs to announce his running mate soon -- like within the next hour -- to help curtail the disaster that was his foreign trip: "It doesn't matter whom he chooses. Anybody will do. Even Sarah Palin. Hell, even Todd Palin." [Politico]
-> Meanwhile, tea party activists, emboldened by Ted Cruz's victory in Texas, say that Romney needs to swing back over to the right or face consequences. [ABCNews]
Topping the news: Members of the outdoor recreation industry aren't too pleased with Gov. Gary Herbert for excluding them from public lands policy discussions. And once again, the state's biggest trade show is threatening to leave the state. [Trib] [AP] [DNews] [KUTV]
-> Sen. Mike Lee is stoked to see Cruz, his ideological brother, win the GOP senate nod in Texas and hopes it's a trend that continues in other races. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @KimJongNumberUn: "I have refused to let Chick-fil-A in N. Korea because of their hateful politics. Also, our last chicken died in 1975."
GOP convention: Former Hatch spokesman and Utah Policy contributor Jared Whitley emails to note that he, too, will be staffing the the communications and media office at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, along with Utahn Aaron Walker. Follow Whitley on Twitter @whitleypedia.
In other news: Utahns for Ethical Government won't be deterred by the Utah Supreme Court ruling. The group says their amendment will be back in 2014. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert says the states, not Washington, should dictate what health care reforms are needed. [WaTimes]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch aims for compromise in avoiding fiscal cliff, joining with a Democratic senator to craft a one-year plan on tax extensions. [Trib]
-> Residents of the Wasatch foothills will be seeing their bill for sanitation service nearly double in an effort to fix old systems. [Trib]
-> Utah is one of the best when it comes to uncovering Medicaid fraud and exposing fraudulent drug companies. [Trib]
-> The Senate confirms Michael Huerta to head the FAA (Huerta, by the way, headed the transportation portion of the Salt Lake Olympics). [USAToday]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day. [Trib]
2012 watch: Obama is leading Romney in the key swing states Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to new poll. [NYTimes] In the same poll, voters aren't quite convinced that Romney cares about them. [WaPost]
-> A Romney ad attacks Obama on the auto industry bailout, something the president is proud of. Both ads have featured a worker affected by the bailout. [CNN]
-> Romney makes his biggest weekly ad buy yet: $8.2 million worth of ad time in the battleground states. [CNN]
-> From the be-glad-you-don't-live-in-Ohio file: There are about 400 political ads running daily, or about 16 every hour, marking the biggest ad blitz in history. [WaPost]
-> Obama is soaring with Latinos, blacks and women, but he's still unpopular with white males. [Reuters]
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Andreas Rivera
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